This course, EDU 541OL, will examine societal trends as stated in the WIMBA session. Throughout the course you will be educational sociologists by applying sociological principles and methods to solutions of issues in our educational system related to the emerging trends. In sociology, social interactions are the dynamic, changing sequences of social actions between individuals (or groups) who modify their actions and reactions due to the actions by their interaction partner(s). These social interactions form the basis for social relations. As educational sociologists, you will examine how social institutions, particularly K-12 schools, including online schools and individuals' experiences or social interactions within these institutions affect educational processes and development. In an increasingly complex society, important educational issues arise constantly and are best prepared for by looking at societal trends. One of first books to look at futuristic societal trends was written by John Naisbitt called Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives in 1982. A couple of very prolific trends were: Moving from a predominantly national economy to one in the global marketplace as we needed to pay attention to the Pacific Rim (Japan, China) Becoming an information society after having been an industrial one for so long. Today, Megatrends 2010 forecasts leading from the middle as we see today in politics and the rise of the value-driven consumer to name 2 of Aburdeen’s 7 trends that will transform the way we work, live, and invest. For this course, I settled on popular trends as established by a number of sources including USA Today magazine.
In studying these trends, sociologists utilize two distinct research methods to help understand social phenomena: Qualitative research primarily examines associations between relationships through participant observation, interviews, or case studies. On the other hand, quantitative research primarily uses numbers or facts to analyze data from controlled experiments or surveys to determine statistically proven hypotheses or predict outcomes. Throughout the course you will read a variety of research articles to examine a phenomenon in addition to doing your own qualitative work through interviews with your field educator.
Sociologists have determined a number of theories or complex frameworks to analyze, interpret, and explain social phenomena. For example, the conflict theory focuses on the ability of some groups to dominate others, or resistance to such domination. Without doubt, as we look at our population change in terms of age, the conflict theorists feel strongly that competition from resources will drive us in the future.
Other popular theories include symbolic interactionism, which examines how shared meanings and social patterns are developed in the course of face-to-face interactions. Functionalist theorists focus on how elements of society need to work together to have a fully functioning whole through consensus and agreement. While post-modern critical theorists explain society through connections arrived between theory and actual practice.
The term demographics refers to the statistical characteristics of human populations, such as family structures, race, income/social classes, or age. Today, present projections are predicting big changes occurring in the United States regarding its future population composition that will dramatically affect education.
First, changes are coming related to family structure. For much of the 20th century, a typical U.S. family portrayed a successful husband and a dutiful wife raising two-three children. Changing demographics and economic reality have driven down the size of the U.S. family structure from 3.67 persons in a household in 1940 to 2.53 today with projections to continue downward. Working moms just do not have the time to balance a career and still take care of a lot of children. Changing attitudes towards divorce has increased the number of single-parent family homes across the country. The single parent may be a mother, father or even a grandparent. Also on the rise are single parents who have never been married. Regardless, children in a single-parent home have the same needs as children living in any other family structure. According to recent research, extended or multi-generational families that contain two or more adults from different generations, including aunts and uncles who are not married have increased by 40 percent from the past. Parents living apart with joint child custody have reached an agreement to share custody of their children. These children live with each parent alternately depending on the arrangement decreed by the family court. Blended families, on the other hand, are formed when a divorced parent remarries and the new spouse also has children from a previous marriage. Last, two other family structures continue to increase as well: Homes in which two adult partners of the opposite sex cohabitate and homes in which the household partners are same sex couples. Nevertheless, families continue to be society’s primary social structure for teaching children values and equipping them to become productive adults.
Second, the US Census Bureau’s latest projections, based on birth, death and current immigration rates, show that the US population is expected to rise from today’s 305 million people to 439 million by 2050. However, the population will be quite different in race and ethnicity in the future. According to the statistics, people who regard themselves as Hispanic, black, American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Asian/Pacific Islander will become the majority by mid-century in the United States. Current projections indicate in the future, minorities will account for nearly 50% of the population and non-Hispanic whites will number around 50%, down from their current 75% share in 1990. In coming years the total population share of Hispanics and Asians is set to double to 23% and 10% respectively. The K-12 public school systems will undergo a dramatic transformation and minority (African American, Latino and Asian) populations will become the majority population in large numbers of school systems nationwide. Teachers across the country will be working with more diverse social and ethnic backgrounds regardless of the types of school districts and neighborhoods that their schools are located within. While the South and West will experience the most dramatic population increases, because of the predominance of Latinos and African Americans living in those areas, no area of the country will be unaffected by the population shifts.
American social class as in other countries refers to a group of people with similar attributes, such as income/wealth, influence in terms of political clout or occupational prestige, and status oftentimes based on a combination of the previous as well as educational attainment. Since numerous cultural interactions, values, and behaviors are guided by a person's location within the country's social structure, class is one of the greatest cultural influences. Results from various sociological research suggests that in the United States today approximately 17 percent are in the poor, lower class; about 30 percent are in the working class; around 33 percent are in the lower middle class; 15% are upper middle class and 5 percent are in the rich, upper class. The lower class is typified by poverty, homelessness, and unemployment. People of this class, few of whom have finished high school, suffer from lack of medical care, adequate housing and food, decent clothing, safety, and vocational training. The media often stigmatize the lower class as “the underclass,” inaccurately characterizing poor people as welfare mothers who abuse the system by having more and more babies, welfare fathers who are able to work but do not, drug abusers, criminals, and societal “trash.” The working class comprises those minimally educated people who engage in “manual labor” with little or no prestige. Unskilled workers in the class—dishwashers, cashiers, maids, and waitresses—usually are underpaid and have no opportunity for career advancement. They are often called the working poor. Skilled workers in this class—carpenters, plumbers, and electricians—are often called blue collar workers. They may make more money than workers in the middle class—secretaries, teachers, and computer technicians; however, their jobs are usually more physically taxing, and in some cases quite dangerous. The lower middle class are the “sandwich” class. These white collar workers have more money than those below them on the “social ladder,” but less than those above them. They divide into two levels according to wealth, education, and prestige. The lower middle class is often made up of less educated people with lower incomes, such as managers, small business owners, teachers, and secretaries. The upper middle class is often made up of highly educated business and professional people with high incomes, such as doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers, and CEOs. Comprising only 5 percent of the United States population, the upper class holds more than 25 percent of the nation's wealth. This class divides into two groups: lower-upper and upper-upper. The lower-upper class includes those with “new money,” or money made from investments, business ventures, and so forth. The upper-upper class includes those aristocratic and “high-society” families with “old money” who have been rich for generations. These extremely wealthy people live off the income from their inherited riches. The upper-upper class is more prestigious than the lower-upper class. Wherever their money comes from, both segments of the upper class are exceptionally rich. Both groups have more money than they could possibly spend, which leaves them with much leisure time for cultivating a variety of interests. They live in exclusive neighborhoods, gather at expensive social clubs, and send their children to the finest schools. As might be expected, they also exercise a great deal of influence and power both nationally and globally
In 1999 the median household income in an Anglo household was $45,367; in a black household it was $29,423; in a Latino household, it was $33,676; and in an Asian household, the median income was $51,908. If these income disparities persist over the next 50 years, the nation as a whole will become poorer in constant dollars than we are today. In earlier generations the U.S. economy included a large number of manufacturing jobs; jobs that paid well, included health care and retirement benefits, and often supported a middle class lifestyle. These jobs are disappearing rapidly in today’s knowledge-based economy. For example, personal income per capita in the United States is projected to decline $395 in inflation-adjusted dollars from $21,591 in 2000 to $21,196 in 2020.
In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one's home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.7%.
With the latest economic recession the number of unemployed in the lower class has risen to record numbers as more individuals feel that they are falling out of their current social class.
it's now official: Women dominate men at every level of higher education, in terms of degrees conferred. Here's the breakdown for graduates of the class of 2009: Associate's Degrees: 167 for women for every 100 for men. Bachelor's Degrees: 142 for women for every 100 for men. Master's Degrees: 159 for women for every 100 for men. Professional Degrees: 104 for women for every 100 for men. Doctoral Degrees: 107 for women for every 100 for men. In fact, the last time men had more degrees than women at any level was the Class of 2006, which had slightly more men than women for both Professional and Doctoral degrees. For the other levels, it hasn't been even close for decades. The last year that men earned more Master's degrees than women was 1984-1985, for Bachelor's degrees it was the Class of 1981, and for Associates degrees it was 1976-1977 when men earned more degrees than women. In almost every area, including PK-12 education, women are outperforming males. For all levels of higher education, women have earned more college degrees than men in every year since the Class of 1982, and the degree gap has widened in every year since then, and is expected to widen in the future through the 2016-2017 year.
Looking ahead to 2050, nearly 42% of the population is projected to between the ages of 45-85 years old. Only 31% of the population will be between the ages of 20-44, and a mere 26% of the population will be between the ages of 4-19 years of age. Due to the aging of the baby boomers and improving longevity, the number of people in 85+-year-old age group will grow by 389% between 2000 and 2050. The working age population will be smaller than the elderly population and only slightly larger than the school-age population.
As illustrated by conflict theorists, our aging society will be marked with older citizens having more political clout than any other group as their demands grow for products/services. Likewise, resentment between the old versus young will be realized with the straining of Social Security. Symbolic interactionalists will describe these phenomena as the greatest transfer of wealth in our history.
For education the aging population will set up: Competition for community resources. Difficulty in passing school levies. Maintenance in solvency of education pension programs.. Seamless education opportunities extended to older citizens. and The recruitment and retention of older citizens as educators. This concludes the PowerPoint presentation on America’s changing demographics.
Changing US Demographics Impact on Education
School & Society
Social Theories -Theoretical frameworks used to study and interpret social phenomena. Conflict Theory
Sociological Perspectives Connections between theory and actual practice explains society. Post-Modern Critical Maintained through consensus and agreement to explain society. Functionalism Use of symbols and patterns to explain society; Face-to-face interactions. Symbolic Interactionism
1,179,000 Grandparent raising child 1,762,000 1,563,000 967,000 Unmarried couple with children 1,762,000 2,190,989 1,354,540 Male, no spouse with children 9,924,000 7,561,874 6,028,409 Female, no spouse with children 25,317,000 24,835,505 23,494,726 Married Couple with children 2010 2000 1990
<ul><li>Disproportionate Influence 5% </li></ul><ul><li>White collar salaried professionals; 15% </li></ul><ul><li>Active in politics and social issues </li></ul><ul><li>White collar employees with less 33% autonomy than upper middle class professionals; Overworked with little time for leisure. </li></ul><ul><li>Blue collar, clerical workers with 30% little job security and closely supervised; Pride themselves as doing “Real Work.” </li></ul><ul><li>Prone to job loss; often work 17% multiple job; unemployed. </li></ul>