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Social Institutions Chapter 12 Study Notes- Schools and Formal Education
Education: a process designed to develop one’s general capacity for thinking critically,
as well as a capacity for self-understanding and self-reliance
Formal Education: education received in accredited schools during formal teachings
Informal Education: variety of ways we undertake to gain knowledge for ourselves out-
side institutions of formal education (e.g., schools, colleges and universities)
Training: a process designed to identify and practice specific routines that achieve de-
sired results
Hidden Curriculum: lessons that are not normally considered part of the academic cur-
riculum that schools unintentionally or secondarily provide for students
Meritocracy: any system of rule or advancement where the rewards are strictly propor-
tioned to the accomplishment and all people have the same opportunity to win these
-credentialism; the rising need for ever more sophisticated educational qualifications
-focus is on the manifest and latent functions of education
-focus on the human capital functions of education (i.e improving the abilities of workers
to bring significant value to their jobs and workplaces through skill and knowledge)
-human capital can be defined as a skill or set of skills that value job attainments
-manifest functions at the secondary level are designed to give all students basic skills
in literacy and numeracy
-post-secondary; prepares them for the work world
Critical Theory
-focus is on the latent functions of education
-the role of schools in warehousing unemployed young people, especially during times
of high unemployment
-hidden curriculum’ teaches students their ‘proper’ place in society according to their
gender and their social class
-school promotes a mertiocratic ethic, teaching students to hold themselves responsible
for success and failure
-jobs of schools is not to give students ‘human capital skills’ but rather to train them in
patient obedience-- essential qualifications for non-professional work
Symbolic Interactionism
-schools teach students how to dress and behave, as befits their social role as girl or
boy, middle-class or working-class person
-much of our socialization as adults, begins at school
Case Study: The Academic Revolution ; Christopher Jencks and David Riesman
-examined the historical ties between schools and societies, and how higher education
is transforming modern societies
-graduate schools have risen to dominance with narrowly specialized curricula, heavy
research agenda, and all PhD faculty
-the top graduate schools receive the best graduates of the best undergraduate col-
-there is growth of highly resourced research universities (Harvard, Yale, MIT)
-the gradual decline of undergraduate teaching
-increased reliance on private funding due to decrease in public funds
-professors shape the academic ‘revolution’ by promoting meitocracy and favoring a na-
tional or even international orientation in the admission process
-this academic revolution designed to provide every student with education and a
chance of upward mobility, has not succeed fully
-without equality efforts to expand educational opportunity and achieve something
close to meritocracy are futile
-most Canadians have at least one or two good universities in their area and are less
likely than Americans to seek a degree hundreds of miles away
-large graduate students continue to pump out new PhD’s who can’t get suitable jobs
Educational Inequalities
- women and racial minorities are doing much better educationally than in the past
-women who complete the same doctoral programs as men are likely to have careers
that are less varied, shorter and less successful
-a factor that discourages foreign graduates is the unacceptably of many foreign gradu-
ates is the unacceptability of many foreign credentials to Canadian employers and the
often-unnecessary requirement of Canadian working experience
-investment in higher education is the best long-term investment a non-wealthy person
can make; no better way than through formal education to work towards a comfortable
and secure income, and social acceptance
-a shortage of social and cultural capital reduces the likelihood of seeking and gaining
higher education
-children from lower-class neighborhoods attend schools that are often not as well sup-
plied or funded as schools in affluent neighborhoods
-more skilled, experienced teachers prefer the richer neighborhoods
-aboriginal groups continue to be under-represented in Canadian colleges and universi-
CASE STYDE #2- The Adolescent Study - James S. Coleman
-examined socialization that takes place in school its consequences
-students judge and reward appearance and few other qualities
-nerd are ostracized because they uphold grading standards others are unable or un-
willing to meet
-for teenagers and young adults, academic achievement means nothing and looking
good means everything
-the adolescent way of thinking is strongly dysfunctional for society because it discour-
ages academic ambition and undermines the preparation of students for a workforce
where knowledge is crucial
-this makes adolescents dependent on a cliquish, narrow-minded high school subcul-
ture ; cuts them off from most parts of the adult world and fails to prepare them for
adult life
-adolescent culture; academic success was viewed as conformity to a deadening social