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  2. HOW EDUCATION HAS CHANGED 1 Education—a society's mechanism for transmitting attitudes, knowledge, beliefs, values, norms, and skills to its members through formal, systematic training Schooling—formal training and instruction in a classroom

  3. Changes in U.S. Education 1 Universal education has expanded. Community colleges have flourished. Public higher education has burgeoned. Student diversity has increased.

  4. Highest Completion Rates in History 1 Eighty-six percent of Americans 25 years or older have completed at least high school. Twenty-nine percent have completed at least a bachelor's degree.

  5. Discussion 1 What level of education are you expected to attain? Where do these expectations come from?

  6. SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON EDUCATION 2 • Functionalism emphasizes the benefits of education. • Manifest functions: • Socializing children • Transmitting knowledge and culture • Increasing cultural integration • Encouraging cultural innovation • Allowing upward mobility

  7. Sociological Perspectives on Education 2 • Latent Functions: • Providing child care • Matchmaking • Decreasing job competition • Creating social networks • Creating business opportunities

  8. Discussion 2 How well are U.S. schools doing at providing these benefits? What are some of the dysfunctions of education?

  9. Sociological Perspectives on Education 2 Conflict theory addresses the ways in which education perpetuates social inequality. Social class predicts educational attainment.

  10. Sociological Perspectives on Education 2 • Access to capital reinforces and reproduces the existing class structure. • Economic capital—income and monetary assets • Cultural capital—social assets such as education and attitudes • Social capital—social networks

  11. Application • Identify the type of capital: economic, cultural, or social. • Andrea has been familiar with the college experience her whole life. Her grandparents, parents, and siblings have all gone to college. • Tina is the daughter of a college professor and knows many of the people on campus.

  12. Sociological Perspectives on Education 2 Conflict theory points to gatekeeping—Those in power control access to education and jobs. IQ tests and other standardized tests can be forms of gatekeeping.

  13. Sociological Perspectives on Education 2 • The Hidden Curriculum • Transmits nonacademic knowledge, values, attitudes, norms, and beliefs • Schools in low-income and working-class neighborhoods stress obedience, following directions, and punctuality. • Elite private schools encourage leadership, creativity, and people skills.

  14. Discussion 2 How do schools incorporate a hidden curriculum?

  15. Sociological Perspectives on Education 2 Conflict theory also points to the use of credentialism in maintaining social class distinctions. Credentialism refers to the increasing demand for certificates and degrees.

  16. Sociological Perspectives on Education 2 • Feminist theorists consider how gender affects education. • In almost every country, women's literacy rates lag behind those of men. • Low schooling and illiteracy diminish women's economic independence, increase their dependency on men, and decrease their ability to control their own lives.

  17. Sociological Perspectives on Education 2 • U.S. women earn 62% of associate's degrees, 58% of bachelor's degrees, and 60% of master's degrees. • Gender achievement gaps have narrowed. • Some colleges are giving men preferential treatment in admissions.

  18. Sociological Perspectives on Education 2 Symbolic interaction theories consider how social contexts affect education. Tracking assigns students to specific educational programs. It is sometimes based on stereotypes and results in labeling.

  19. Sociological Perspectives on Education 2 Tracking creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Students achieve what is expected of them.

  20. Discussion 2 In what ways is tracking beneficial? In what ways is tracking detrimental?

  21. Sociological Perspectives on Education 2 • Symbolic interactionists are also interested in student engagement—how involved students are in their own learning. • Parental involvement has a strong and positive effect on student achievement. • The No Child Left Behind Law seems to have diminished student involvement. • Low-income, minority students are the least likely to be involved.

  22. Application • Identify the correct theoretical perspective: • Education produces gender inequality. • Education contributes to society. • Education reinforces the social class structure. • Education results in self-fulfilling prophecies.

  23. SOME PROBLEMS IN U.S. EDUCATION 3 • Quantity and Quality of Schooling • Students from other countries outperform U.S. students in science and math. • School Budgets • The U.S. devotes only 7% of its federal budget for public education. • Low-income neighborhood schools receive the least amount of funding.

  24. Problems 3 • Teachers' Effectiveness • According to most college faculty, students are not prepared for college. • Many U.S. teachers teach out of their field. • Public school teachers earn less than other employees.

  25. Discussion 3 What can be done to encourage education as a college major? What can be done to attract qualified teachers to public schools?

  26. Problems 3 • Control over Curricula • The No Child Left Behind Act requires: • Testing students in reading and math • Tutoring services • School restructuring if the students are not performing well • Set standards for teachers' qualifications

  27. Discussion 3 What are some of the positive results of No Child Left Behind? What are some of the negative results of No Child Left Behind?

  28. Problems 3 • Dropping out • Over 9% of Americans ages 16 to 24 are high school dropouts. • Foreign-born youth tend to drop out because of problems with the language, job conflicts, teen pregnancy, and gang membership. • U.S.-born youth tend to drop out because of family problems or lack of motivation.

  29. Problems 3 • Grade Inflation • The number of students earning "A" grades is increasing while performance is decreasing. • Grade inflation gives students an exaggerated and unrealistic sense of their ability and accomplishments.

  30. NEW DIRECTIONS IN U.S. EDUCATION 4 School vouchers—publicly funded payments toward tuition and fees at students' schools of choice Charter schools—self-governing public schools that have an agreement with the state to improve students' education Magnet schools—public school that offers students a distinctive program and specialized curriculum

  31. New Directions in U.S. Education 4 Home schooling—teaching in the home Data are mixed on the success rates of these programs.

  32. Application • Identify the type of innovation: • A specialized high school emphasizing music • A program that pays parents to send their children to a parochial school • An public middle school that is self-governing but responsible to the state

  33. Internet Connections • Three of the most informative websites on literacy and reading are, the National Institute for Literacy, and The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing. is an accessible gateway to numerous projects, publications and other resources on national and international literacy rates. The National Institute for Literacy offers information for people with learning disabilities; those interested in a GED; students who need help with reading, writing, and math; and those wanting to learn English as a second language. The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing, maintained by a college professor, provides help on college-level writing assignments and papers. On the site, common errors are reviewed and troubleshot, and tips on how to “become more effective and compelling writers” are available. Together, these three sites provide plenty of information on writing, a necessary skill that none of us outgrow. For more information, visit:, National Institute for Literacy, The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing,