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22 Apr 2012
Lecture 07 - Education
Today world is MASS EDUCATION
In traditional society religion was/is the main source of knowledge this is being taken over
by education system
Education is 2nd greatest social agent (comes after family)
o May people do say in today society - education is trying to replace parents (i.e. may
education agent/ teacher call themselves “co-parent”) parents complain about this
e.g. in this school a kid draw gun teacher freaked out and called another
patarchi ( is what they used to call a burecartic in soviet union) & involved the
cop / found a toy gun now there is lawsuit by the family ( many times
lawyers do this called pro bono cases do them for free because it inovles impt
instances of law)
mass educational system is fairly recent & is still reserved for wealth countries
300 yrs ago illiterate/ most people were illterate there was no school
Now in Canada the literacy rate is 99% keep in mind literacy rate consider is not the
same level of that university -> is just ability to read at primitive level and understand (so around
gr.8) - just enough to get by is literacy
Education provided UNIFORM SOCIALIZATION religion tend to isolate people from
surrounding community but not so w/ education
Education has become rationalized & centralized strong pressure for uniformity &
standardization many people oppose this -e.g. in USA there is strong “home-school”
movement (don’t like their kids taught by mass educational system) so many parents will school
their children at home because they don’t like what the schools are teaching
Mass education is especially important in primary & high school where the curriculum is
established by patarshi ( aka bureaucrats in school board)
o vs. university which have somewhat of academic freedom so what is being taught is
decided by instructor will decide what text to use & what lecture to give ) this is
old privilege that goes back hundreds of years in the common law tradition
Chief /main concern of sociologically interest in education is “what is taught is school? How
the changes in economy relates to changes in education and how economy changes
o E.g. Steve Job ( business revolution) & Steve Wozniak (in terms of technology) they
were part of the flower power generation (smoke lot dope etc.) changed
educational system using Apple apts & computer how this economic changed
education education have become heavily computerized
Apple is largest corporation in the world worth half trillion dollar (4 i) steve
jobs did that
This how economy influence education
o Other way around How education influenced economy e.g. Watson + Kirk in
biology , construction+discovery of double helix (DNA) book double helix
And discovery of MDMA genetic discovery y new field w/ genetic
engineering companies
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2 approach to education Functionalist vs. Conflict approach theory to Education they contrast nicely
( pretty much Equality vs. Inequality as big Q does education promote equality or inequality this is
big Qs)
Functional Approach
Looks at achievements
Generally see education as being based on meritocracy (it meansjudged on merits/ability) & is
done by objective tests (based on meritocracy) evaluate based on this or achievements
o So education system is Meritocracy they evaluate people on basis of their merits/
Ascription is much more important for CONFLICT theory than for functional funtionalist don’t
focus on this)
Functionalism goes long way goes back to French sociologist of 19th century : Combe who is
early functionalist and Spencer an Englishmen who also early functionalist and Parasons is
20th century American early functionalist
o they develop the functional theory of education, comes form their theories
o all of them Say education is functional to society it makes positive contribution to
society because it integrates societal members into functional whole so education
make society as whole
Conflict approach
Challenges functionalist view they argue that economic barrier filter on the basis of a
person’s ability to pay
Some jobs require academic credentials these credentials are “questionable” as jobs skills
for e.g. charter account on the old days right out of high school graduation & CA company
will hire him & will train that person to charter account & teacher as well - from graduation & a
6 week course and become a teacher
o Now- its all complicated need uni degree and extra specialization training to get these
o Many sociologist say too much reliance on credentials will talk about this in regard
to Randall Collins
o particularly from conflict theory point of view many academic credentials are
questionable E.g. LSAT and MCAT these tests don’t predict how well you will do on
med or law school or for graduate program need to write GRE for all discipline which
was dropped now because it’s not valid in Canada but in US you still need to write
o these tests are used to exclude people more than anything else
critic form this approach say education produce class differences
here is basic diff b/w conflict (Marx) or Neo-Marx and functionalist Neo-Marx says than
education perpetuates in-equality & causes conflict - so education results in dissensus (to
disagree/conflict) vs. functional believe education is functional to society
o Conflict education = dissensus
o Functionalist education = consensus
2 critical variable that is define in the sociological education
achievement which are learning or skills that you acquire may be reflected in grades but
not necessarily
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o Educational achievements can be hard to measure vs. educational attainment is easier
to measure
Attainments you are here for 4 yrs and you get BSC or BA this is educational attainment
e.g. certificates, degrees, trophies etc.
Functional approach
Education socializes people
In traditional society sometime traditional societies are called non-literate meaning they
didn’t read culture here is passed on from family to child (orally)
o But as division of labour increases - use this as mark of the modern world society
becomes more complicated because division of labour explodes some people call this
Knowledge society (modern society)
In the knowledge society parents can socialize you in many things BUT there are many other
things they are unable to socialize you in e.g. dad civil engineer and you want to be account
dad don’t hve necessary skill to train you on your wants
o Thus- formal education develops as division of labour increases the knowledge society
comes along form which formal education comes along w/ it education becomes
mandatory up until certain age ( arund 14-16 yrs old in Ontario)
Kinship network/ family can no longer properly socialize the child for a successful performance
of an adult role need specialize institution to do that
High levels of literacy are required in this knowledge society
education begins w/ 3Rs - reading, Riting (writing) , rithmatic (arithmetic)
2 major division or primary/primitive division 1) is literacy (reading and riting) and 2) is
numeracy (rithmetic, mathematics)
Primary school lays the foundation & high school and colleg and uni gradually branches out in
various directions
o E.g. community colleges tend to go in applied directions give/ teaches you specific
skills vs uni goes in theoretical directions
School socializes not just by teaching literacy and numeracy they also socialize via the way of
informal curriculum
o Formal curriculum is numeracy and literacy & informal curriculum is sometimes called
the hidden curriculum
The hidden curriculum (is not parent) but it imparts obedience to authoiry, conformity to culture
norms and whole other things
Part of informal curriculum is to transmit values, beliefs and norms of culture
School also want to encourage good behaviours e.g. zero tolerance on violence
o Co-parent / teachers particulary in primary & high school the zero tolerance
means absolutely no tolerance to bad behaviours A friend of profs sons in school a
bully came up to him and punch in the eyes & he responded by defending himself - he
got suspended for this
o But the law says you have the right to defend yourself but can’t defend yourself
excessively e.g. case where storeowner try to get robber but end up getting arrested
but later judge dropped the charge
School teaches discipline & punctuality ( go to be on time, have to study) all this part of the
informal curriculum
School teaches “motivation and achievements motivations involves long-range planning
(e.g. goal to go to uni and study extra
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