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Chapter Chapter 12

Sociology 1020 Chapter Notes - Chapter Chapter 12: Theory Of Multiple Intelligences, Hedonism, School Choice

Course Code
SOC 1020
Kim Luton
Chapter 12

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Chapter 12 Notes: Education
How Schools Connect to Society: Classical and Contemporary Approaches
Schools shape society by selection
Endless grading, judging, marking, and testing in schools sorts and certifies
students with different “badges of ability”
Schooling connects to societal-level inequality
In a society marked by disparities in wealth and income, and where more
people go to school for longer periods, never before has the pursuit of
educational credentials been as consequential for income, occupational
success, and other life chances
Marx followers argued that schools are stratified in ways that reflect
workplace hierarchies, with basic forms of schooling teaching youth to be
punctual and compliant, and with higher levels encouraging students to
internalize orders and the expectations of authority figures
Structural functionalists see school selection as an increasingly meritorious
process in which the brightest and hardest working are identified, rewarded,
and selected for training in professional work and high level management
Schools shape society as they socialize people
Help prepare new adults for the next generation, passing along values and
Durkheim wanted to understand how modern societies could replace the
binding and authoritative voice of religion, which has traditionally prescribed
norms to guide people’s thoughts and actions
Cared about moral education the normative element of schooling that he
hoped would become society’s prime took to combat the rising culture of
Education shapes society through social organization
Schools affect how we learn and help define different types of occupations
When manufacturing and commerce became the key economic activities,
upper-middle class children could inherit business fortunes
Today, most youth earn their living through employment and need credentials
Class reproduction passing of advantage from one generation to the next
Doesn't operate through direct inheritance in education
School selection occurs in 2 ways:
o Schooling itself is structured in a stratified manner, though this
structuring takes different forms across countries and over time
o Within that structure students from different backgrounds have
unequal rates of success
Changing School Structure
Streaming consists of splitting students into curricular groupings, one bound
for post secondary schooling, one headed for general training
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Students in the upper tier are exposed to advanced maths and works of
literature, while those in lower tiers focus on rudiments of literacy, numeracy,
and practical workplace skills
Streaming is seen to dampen their aspirations, manage their ambitions, and
discourage them from moving on
Schools in Britain, France and Germany sorted students into entirely academic
or entirely vocational schools at relatively young ages
To understand national differences, sociologists distinguish sponsored
mobility which takes place in educational systems that select relatively few
youth early in their lives to enter elite universities, from contest mobility
which takes place in educational systems that group the bulk of youth into the
same school, expose them to the same curriculum, and send larger numbers to
higher education
Sponsored mobility uses highly structured streaming to restrict access to
higher education, while contest mobility promotes more competition within a
unitary structure
European policymakers want more youth to study in university, claiming that
more graduates will generate wealth and improve their nations economic
Most European nations are removing barriers, creating more alternative
channels for youth, and moving toward an ever-more streamlined contest
As more youth enter higher education, competition shifts to higher levels, and
stratification within universities and colleges becomes increasingly important
Higher education can be seen as stratified along two main dimensions:
selectivity of institution and field of study
Since there are simply not enough high paying jobs for all graduates, entry
into the most advantageous slots in higher education is becoming increasingly
Inequality Among Students
Functionalists believed that schools were increasingly rewarding the best,
allowing any bright students, regardless of their social background, to enter
high paying professional and managerial positions
Neo Marxists contended that the very design of mass public schooling ensures
that people who are born disadvantaged remain disadvantaged
Female students and those who are members of minority groups are treated
poorly in school and are given little choice but to enter low paying jobs in
female and minority group “job ghettos”
Schools worsen existing inequalities by stereotyping disadvantaged youth,
devaluing their cultures and sills, and steering them into lower streams
Educational attainment for youth from all class backgrounds has steadily risen
over the past half a century
Student success has been found to be consistently related to socioeconomic
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Males once had a virtual monopoly on higher education, but this imbalance
began to change in the late 1950s
Females now drop out of high school in fewer numbers, graduate more often,
enter universities in greater numbers, and score higher on many standardize
What explains reversal is the success of women’s movement; partly the entry
of women into traditionally male dominated professions, such as law and
medicine; and partly how some “female dominated” occupations, such as
teaching, nursing, and social work, not only grew but also demanded higher
level educational certificates
Aboriginal Canadians have a much lower participation rate in postsecondary
education and university attendance than do non aboriginal Canadians
If schools give superior treatment to middle class children, then student
learning gaps (as measured by standardize test scores) would grow over the
school year and would either stagnate or shrink during the summer months
Schooling reduces learning gaps along socioeconomic lines, while these gaps
widen in the summer when students are not in school
Schools function as equalizers, at least in terms of measured learning
According to structural functionalist theory, schools teach modern values
Functionalists contend that schools teach them a hidden curriculum
By treating all students equally before common rules, schools are seen to
embody the values of universalism, and by rewarding deserving students, they
are seen to teach the value of meritocracy
Marxists also claim that schools impose a hidden curriculum but one that
promotes obedience to authority, not cheery modern values
Public education is structured to support capitalism by creating a disciplined
labor force
By organizing student learning in a competitive manner and having students
vie for grades and rewards, schools are said to mirror capitalist competition
and individualism
School becomes the student’s entire social universe, resembling a total
institution an all controlling organization that remakes people’s identities,
where people are isolated from the larger society and are strictly controlled by
a specialized staff
Changing Forms of Moral Education
Canadian public schools were originally organized by churches, with Roman
Catholics being granted separate schools in Quebec
Egerton Ryerson, the father of public schooling in Ontario, wanted schools to
create literate, religious, and devoted citizens
He and other school promoters believed that religious schooling could curb an
array of perceived problems, such as the rising incidence of youth crime and
general ignorance
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