Lecture Notes before Midterm 18/09/2012 10:06:00 AM
3 ways that schools connect to society :
o We graduate from the educational system with different
badges of ability
o Educational Selection is linked to inequality:
University vs. college vs. work place.
Does it have to do with their ability, or status,
racial background, etc.?
Structural Functionalism: Educational selection is a
It is the business of the schools to identify the
most talented students, prepare them and give
them the highest achievements, so they can go
on to higher things. Should be the most talented,
the most hardworking.
Based on merit alone, nothing else.
Conflict Theorists: It is through the educational system
that high status parents pass on their privileges to their
Sceptical about meritocracy, think that social
backgrounds still matter.
People with high status backgrounds will go onto
the most prestigious universities.
The educational levels that we get are very dependant
on the type of career that you get.
Super competitive because there are too many
young people chasing too few jobs.
New private high schools have been sprouting up
downtown Toronto in office buildings where students
can repeat a course that they want to get a higher
mark. Specialize in the key areas. Very small classes.
Charge a ton of money.
Might be getting high marks just because their
parents put out a ton of money. Are they literally
buying higher grades for their kids?
Socialization o In the mid-19 thcentury, Durkheim was concerned about the
decline in religion as a moral force in society.
First sociologist to actually think about the schools role
Living in a time of major social change. Rural based
society to industrial based society.
Democratic ideals were beginning to develop.
Individualism was becoming more central.
The church was losing its ability to constrain and control
peoples behaviour. It was becoming ineffective.
Was wondering what would fill the gap to morally
educate people. He believed that a mass public
educational system should be developed.
o The school curriculum concerned with moral education.
Durkheim thought school should teach culture, and
morals to the students.
Wondered if schools were capable of passing on worthy
morals to students. Or generally agreed upon moral
Difficult to decide what schools should be transmitting
in the classroom.
Not difficult to find schools in conflict where people
wonder if they are teaching what they should be.
o Liberal parents see it as something
schools should be doing, and that it
helps various drop out rates.
o Some parents think that it is an attack
against conventional morality, and
promoting teenage promiscuity.
Book Reading Lists
o The Handmaids Tale Sexual content
o To Kill a Mocking Bird Outdated
racial relations in the USA
o Huckleberry Finn Used the N word o Harry Potter Wizardry
o Either dont do enough religious
teaching, or dont do enough of the
right type of religious material.
Where faith-based schools come
Limits of socialization
o Anti-academic Youth Culture
Focused on partying, fast cars,
Has the capacity to undermine
the schools aims to educate
o School Violence
o Do schools carry out functions that
they were not necessarily trying to?
Babysitting agency. Frees up
parents to work and not need a
Keeps kids out of trouble and off
the streets. Crime prevention
Dating agencies. How people
can find a partner.
o Teachers often struggle to motivate reluctant students
Students are expected to do assignments and listen to
their teacher. Required to do things that they would
rather not do.
Teachers understand that they have to have control
over their class, or else not very much learning will be
Schools are like any other work organization. Except work places can motivate employees with
money. Schools cant really do this. They arent
allowed to pay them money for daily tasks.
It has been suggested that in disadvantaged
communities, that paying students for going
to school and graduating would be a good
Can praise them for everything, appeal to
their better nature, threaten them (but
have to be careful), etc. But the most
important, giving them good grades for
good work and bad grades for bad work.
o Doesnt work for everyone because
the rewards arent usually immediate,
they are in the future and intangible.
o The limited motivational strategies available to them means
that schools are often conflict prone organizations
Only need a couple of students to disrupt the entire
Spend all of their time dealing with the troublesome
students rather than the ones who genuinely need help
in their studies.
Because of teachers preoccupation of maintaining order,
they will introduce rules and regulations. Which turns
students into passive recipients in the classroom.
Two big ideas:
o 1. Schooling is the most efficient means by which the most
talented individuals assume the most important positions in
This is both a moral and rational argument
The school system is a meritocracy. It facilitates
equality of opportunity (status based on achievement
rather than ascription). Think that it is wrong for rich
people to think that they can pass on their status to