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SOCb26 lecture .docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Julian Tanner

SOCb26 lecture March 27/2012 Highschool are like shopping malls Highschools offers students and their families both a wide array of choices and variety  In terms of variety, a range of academic programs are offered i.e. advanced, general, basic program.  Also variety of extracurricular activities, variety of sports, or drama or music programs  Students and families become like shoppers in a shopping mall, or customers, then students nad their families have the right to decide what choices to make (whether or not to take advanced program/whether or not to become involved in drama program)  Also have right to determine how much effort that they put in to the choices that they have made  In addition to the idea of choice and variety in HS, there is also the suggestion that the HS should be neutral about the choices that students make (taking applied or academic mathematics, and HS should not intervene to affect the choices that have been made) o By remaining neutral they are catering to the needs of students and families o The school would recognize that students have different tastes and needs o It is the obligation of the shopping mall HS to cater to those specific needs o High drop out rate becomes a sign/market of a failing school, understanding that there is a need to cater to these needs helps us understand why extracurricular activities are important to shopping mall HS o Volleyball with good reputation and good debate team might attract students to these schools and these activities would help keep them there o Having wide range of extra curricular activities is equivalent to having celebrities appear at shopping malls, it draws people who wouldn’t normally be at the mall and keep them there (extracurriculars attract those who not attracted to academics and keep them there)  there are many that are critical of the idea of shopping mall HS o once upon a time schools were single minded in their ambition of promoting academic excellence o rather than promoting universal excellence, it has the effect of encouraging mediocrity o command or mastery of course subjects were expected by all students o whilst it would be true that those students and their families who wanted a demanding academic curriculum and could find it, found it not terribly difficult to avoid a demanding academic curriculum o similiarly, those students and their parents who had modest (vs high) ambitions, would be able to progress through school in return for only a minimal amount of work/effort o unofficial rules of the shopping mall highschool, unofficially designated elective courses to be easier than required math or science courses  this means teachers of maths or science subjects could quite effortlessly demand maximum time and effort from their students, but elective teachers who demanded as much time as the required would be seen as breaking the rules or rebellious Streaming  in addition to choice and variety, the shopping mall schools is neutral about decisions students made  D&G argued that that neutrality encourages students to do their own streaming by encouraging them to deicide whether or not to take courses at advanced or lower levels  Responsibility of making that choice is left up to the parents In comparison with many European school systems, American HS would have far fewer required courses to take vs Europeans o Rise of expansion of private education has been a factor o Also forced public HS to initiate a number of reforms and changes  There was argument that public schools are much too large, and doesn’t give parents/students enough choice  The other way that we provide more choice, is by allowing more choice within the public school system  There are specialists schools that specialize in certain things i.e. performing arts, athletes, science and technology  We’re starting to see deconstruction of shopping mall HS (diversification of programs and schools) o In Alberta we see chartered schools, schools that focus on science and math, English and philosophy, and regular academic schools o Some chartered schools would be single-sexed, or mixed, or afro-eccentric, aboriginal schools  These are some of the things that the public school system has done to speak to the need to address some of the problems of weaknesses of shopping mall HS  There is always a minority of kids in private schools, but recently this has been increasing
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