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soc103 chp12.docx

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Lorne Tepperman

Chp 12 – Schools and Formal education - Education is one of the most important aspects in gaining a healthy and comfortable life. - In the past, education was a privilege, reserved for the wealthy. o Today, education is considered as a right for every child. This belief is expressed in the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, helping children across the globe to gain primary school education. - Credentialism is the rising need for more sophisticated educational qualifications, it is an increasingly trend in today’s market labour. - Education also delivers societal values, along with skills needed for work. o Education incorporates concepts such as teamwork, leadership, tolerance. These ideas help people to integrate into today’s society. Education also increases people’s ability to form opinions and react accordingly to today’s complex events etc. - Education is defined as a process designed to develop one’s general capacity for thinking critically, as well as a capacity for self-understanding and self-reliance. - People who have more, get more and they tend to pass this advantage on to their children. o To break the cycle of disadvantage, societies in the world based educational system very strictly on merit and make high quality educational available to everyone. - Formal education is education received in accredited schools during formal teaching sessions - Informal education is the variety of ways we undertake to gain knowledge for ourselves outside institutions of formal education. WAYS OF LOOKING AT EDUCATION - Functionalist focus on the manifest and latent functions of education in our society, and the degree to which schools are currently formed fulfill these functions. o Focus on human capital functions of education: on improving the abilities of workers to bring significant value to their jobs and workplaces through their knowledge and skills.  E.g. through training - Critical theorists often focus on the latent functions education. E.g. how schools keep young people ‘off the streets’ o Also studies schools as a source of hidden curriculum, that teaches student their ‘proper’ place in society according to their gender and their social class.  Some say the boredom and subordination children suffer in school is good preparation for boredom and subordination in work.  According to critical theory, the job of schools is not to give students ‘human capital and skills’ but rather to train them in patient obedience, the essential qualification for most non-professional work in our society.  Schools also promotes meritocratic ethic, which teaches students to hold responsibility for success and failure – an ideology suitable in a capitalist society. - Symbolic interactionists show, schools also teachers students how to dress and behave, as befits their social role as a girl or boy, middle-class or working class.  Classic study - The academic revolution (Jencks and Riesman) o Looks at the historical ties between schools and societies, and examines the evolving role of higher education in modern, post-industrial society.  Shows that bureaucratization of American society, colleges and universities have been transformed from cohesive, small and localized units into a single national system of higher training.  System operates like a funnel  Jencks and Riesman claim that professors shape the academic ‘revolution’ by promoting meritocracy and favouring a international orientation in the admission process (based on ability).  However this revolution has not succeeded fully. o Positions in the top institutions are limited and only the wealthy has access  This problem is credited to the unequal structure of American society.  Compared to US, Canadian education reform is similar to what Jencks and Riesman described.  Canada has smaller system of colleges and Universities  Smaller range of inequality  Canadians have at least one or two good universities in their own province. - Critics from Hacker o Top universities keep pumping out Ph.D.s who can’t get suitable jobs. o Students get an education they don’t need and can’t use, while putting themselves in debt for the next 10 years.  Despite criticisms, many find Jencks and riesman’s study to be genuinely revealing and persuasive. EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITIES - Nonetheless, schools play an important part of the disadvantage’s lives. o Women, racial and ethnic minorities in Canada have experienced important increases in educational attainment.  Partly due to highly educated immigrants, not necessarily by minority groups advancing within the educational system.  Even though, women and minorities continue to face obstacles for education and career advancements. o A factor that discourages foreign graduates is the unacceptability of foreign credentials to Canadian workforce.  Often force immigrants to take up jobs which they are over-qualified  Immigrants are far more likely to push their children to get higher qualifications  This may represent an effort to regain socio-economic status they held in their native country and lost on coming to Canada.  Education is then the best long term investment a non-wealthy person can make. o There is no better way to get a secure income, and social acceptance. - On the other hand, aboriginal groups continue to be under-represented in Canada o Inequality in educational can be traced from childhood.  Children tend to go to primary schools near their neighbourhood.  Aboriginals, who are poor, live in rural neighbourhood which have no primary schools. Therefore, they are less likely to attend school  Classic studies - The adolescent society – S. Coleman o Notes that students spend more time of their life in school. School in many ways have come to replace families in learning about the world. o Studying adolescent popularity and finds that, for teenagers, and young adults, academic achievement means nothing and looking good means everything.  Appearance features accounts more than brains  Argues that teenagers’ subculture is largely separate from the adult world.  It has a distinct set of values and own social system of power and prestige. o The adolescent way of thinking is dysfunctional for the society  As it discourages academic ambition, and undermines the preparation of students for a workforce where knowledge is critical.  Fails to prepare teenagers for adult life - Coleman asserts that social changes associated with industrialization have separated adolescents from adults, leading them to seek approval from age peers in whose company they spend most of their time at school. o Athletics boys, fashionable and pretty girls rule!  So called: frivolous values - Critics suggests o The subculture reflects the larger social values. Parents are just as shallow as adolescents. o This subculture is one of the large variety of the larger society’s major values - Clique formation is a normal par
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