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SOC101Y1 (985)

SOC304H1-Lec 3

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Charles Jones

Tests as a means of allocating subsequent educational and occupational positionsSummaryEducational systems have a lot to do with controlling and legitimizing upward and downward social mobilitysocial background still relevant to educational outcomesSelection via standardized tests has a mixed history Strong arguments exist to the effect that above a certain level SATsimilar tests dont provide useful predictive information GladwellBut there are other social forces that drive institutions to continue using themIncreasing accessibility to postsecondary education is seen as one way for governments to deliver on promises to increase upward social mobilityModernization Theory FunctionalistModernization theory says that technological change generates requirements for literacy numeracy greater skills on the job more productive workers need to be be more educated both generally and specificallyAlso those large scale organizations operate moremore in a rationally bureaucratic manner also those increasingly open transparentcompetitive marketplaces punish irrational discrimination regarding hiring decisions or wage ratesMany human capital theorists such as Gary BeckerSo all is for the best in the best of worldsCulturalSocial Reproduction Theory ConflictConflict theory says that new or existing status groups try to monopolize or dominate income streams jobs by imposing their ideological requirements cultural standards licensing rules etc on the selection criteria and the selection process itself But while doing so they still use rhetoric of functionalism in order to justify their activities Ivar Berg Pierre Bourdieu Randall Collins Ivan Illich etcState Control of EducationNapoleon I created public schools in France on May 1 1800 to get the Church out of most of the educational system to create a national curriculum teaching republican valuesNapoleon I also created elite schools with entrance through competitive examination and designed to create technocratic elite which would keep France top nation not as in China where open competitive exam to mobility opportunities have been made nationally from ancient time it is a new thing in EuropePlatos Republic Ancient GreecePlato described his ideal Republic as having three broad divisionsThe Philosopher King representing the intellectThe Guardians representing the will and who keep order and defend the societyThe ordinary Citizensfarmers blacksmiths merchants etc who represent the appetitesSlaves not mentioned in slave societies slaves just dont count except as propertyWho will guard the guardiansIf Platos ideal society is going to allow for circulatory social mobility between the various occupational groups forming the Citizen class the regulation of this undoubtedly contentious process will be carried out by the GuardiansBut how can we trust the Guardians to do an honest jobWho will guard the GuardiansThe Glittering Prizes in praise of inequalityMany have believed that unequal systems function bettermake arguments to the effect that glittering prizes are necessary to motivate extra efforts required for outstanding performanceIf societies are organized in highly unequal fashion but wish to remain open to talent the problem becomes one of designing effective ways to assure that the prospects for upward mobility of the able and the downward mobility of the ineptThis is where we need Platos Guardiansand someone to guard them
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