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Educational Inequality and Social Class
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Educational Inequality and Social Class

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A Sociology-based presentation, created by Josh Harsant, exploring some of the key arguments around educational inequality and its relationship to social class. ...

A Sociology-based presentation, created by Josh Harsant, exploring some of the key arguments around educational inequality and its relationship to social class.

Josh is a student of Sociology and Education at Oxford Brookes University. This presentation was delivered in a first year seminar to a group of other students.

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  • Well presented and highlights the soundbites that come from the government of the day and then not addressing any of the issues. There is nothing like blaming the poor for their plight. Good work my friend.
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  • And what goes on around them to help them in life Universally- education in different cultures will vary therefore are education may be intended to educate higher classes and see them through degrees although others may view it to be to learn e.g. Peters. Schooling is the way in which education is brought and consumed , how schools teach for example and what methods they use. It seems that higher class people may view education as important as they need certain qualifications to get into their desired uni, to do course they want in order to get to the job they want to do.. And perhaps parents have done the same and the same route to get to their career. Working class may not understand why education is as important their desired jobs (in general) are more physical maybe and may not need as many qualifications or qualifications can be gained whilst doing the job and therefore a degree is unnecessary especially as prices sore. Education system is very complicated now that society is more complex more jobs , more ways in being educated , not as straight forward as was 20/30 years ago or so. Going to uni meant you would go into that’s job however society’s view on university has changed as not everyone will get that job and may change their path completely . Some go for experience / independence etc. many working class ind’s will now go to uni although a handful in general may actually ake degree to take step.Some believe generally education is the way to have better future Always learned as humans; more systems in place as society becomes more complex
  • Education is to prepare us the jobs we should be doing –depending on our roots…Plato and Hobbes - education maintains social order, to have a society.Plato - 3 levels: workers, soldiers and leaders. Natural disposition for certain tasks therefore education prepares us in different ways.
  • MICRO PERSPECTIVESaw that school was important to have children know values for real world including religious beliefs
  • MICRO PERSP.((also Structural Functionalism)Children need to move from standards set within the family to standards for the wider society.Suggests that schools operate on meritocratic system and children achieve status according to merit rather than sex, race or class (Parsons and Bales (1956))However criticism on meritocratic idea...
  • However workers now say ind’s are not ready for work after school contradicting this theory. Links to the hidden curriculum.. A way in teaching children discipline and accepting status quo.
  • Girls will leave their home and set up family elsewhere whereas boys will bring the income home and help his family. Housing project , Clarendon heights. Two gangs of young men tracked after 8 years. Both were unemployed some turned to cocaine capitalism – updat shows despite hopes and aspirations , structures create social inequalities. Shows that education discriminates and doesn’t ensure mass participation, there is bias favouring middle and upper classes. (w williamson .1979) Education, social structure and development.)London and Basingstoke; THE MACMILLAN PRESS LTD.
  • (inengland)Crisis- not as many manual jobs for unskilled men leaving school without qualifications
  • Internal FactorsBowles and Gintis (1976) – argued schools do socialise but only to create right workers for society. Marxist viewpoint. American education system helped shape personality not just give skills. Social class identification. Hierarchy at school represents hierarchy in workplace. School isn’t a 'great leveller' but reinforces social division.Cultural reproduction – schools pass on the values and norms of the previous generation.Therefore it could be argued that as it is presented as entirely equal for everyone any failure of the system is seen by WC children as a failure by themselves. They then blame themselves and start to believe that they must be less intelligent or capable then their MC schoolmates.Self fulfilling prophecy - where people believe you are a certain type of person/are a certain way and you then believe it yourself. By believing this you then behave in a way according to this self identity and so 'fulfil the prophecy'.
  • Subcultures and Peer GroupsWillis (1977) – school in Birmingham. See how cultural reproduction worked (how WC kids get WC jobs).Did not find what expected. No feelings of inferiority from small group of 'lads' he followed. They knew the system and used it to create own amusement. Looked forward to doing the same at work – getting pleasure from constant conflict and being dismissive to authority. Did not feel failure to hate low status jobs but looked down on them with superiority.It could be seen that the school shaped the boys like this to prepare them for the jobs that needed to be filled in society. Repetitive and unchallenging work which needs this kind of behavior to cope with it.
  • Teacher interaction and behaviourTeacher expectation and labelling can play enormous part in a child's achievement. Teachers can base stereotypes on accent, clothes and area of living. Can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies.Teachers have an idea what the prefect student should be like drawn from their own experiences and this can potentially help them identify good students, however not everyone fits into this ideal and people who do not abide to these ideals could be seen as deviant.Sometimes this is just a class/cultural misunderstanding. To avoid this teachers must always be open minded and encourage any potential.
  • Teacher interaction and behaviour – the evidenceBecker (1952) found this to be true. Analysed interviews of teachers in Chicago and found their of an 'ideal pupil'. Those that did not match this they had a hard time teaching and dealing with.Ball (1981) - banding or streaming into classes for ability was often effected by judgement of behaviour. Students would be sent down classes for poor behaviour even if they were more than smart enough and up if their behaviour was seen as more suiting. This directly effects academic results as pupils would not learn to their full potential or be put in for the right level of exams.Goodacre (1986) – found that WC children that did well in reading tests were under marked by teachers. This 'false diagnosis' is a key part of self-fulfilling prophecies.Rosenthal and Jacobson (1986) chose children at random and told teacher that these children would do very well. They all then did so as the teacher treated them differently and gave them more attention and encouragement than they may have received otherwise. They named this the 'pygmalion effect'.
  • How important would you deem a parent’s involvement in education in terms of their child’s achievement/performance?Prompts:How do you think these views differ from that of a child’s peers? What influence do they have?Anyone here have overly-involved parents?What about children without parents, who live with other relatives? Differences in attitudes?What about children from foster homes etc? Differences in attitudes?
  • The key evidence:In the early years, parental involvement has a significant impact on children’s cognitive development and literacy and number skills.Parental involvement in a child’s schooling for a child between the ages of 7 and 16 is a more powerful force than family background, size of family and level of parental education.Parental involvement has a significant effect on pupil achievement throughout the years of schooling.Educational failure is increased by lack of parental interest in schooling.In particular, a father’s interest in a child’s schooling is strongly linked to educational outcomes for the child.Most parents believe that the responsibility for their child’s education is shared between parents and the school.Many parents want to be involved in their children’s education.In a recent study in England 72% of parents said that they wanted more involvement.Source: DfES, 2008
  • WC teachers?Bowles and Gintis 'correspondence theory' – many similarities between schooling and the needs of the economy.Illich (1971) – connection between development of education and requirements of economy. Schools teach 'passive consumption', the acceptance of existing social order. Hidden curriculum teaches children their place in society and to accept it, Schools do not promote equality.It could be seen that the curriculum in general steers away from any conflict or ideas of upheaval or dissent. History mutes the struggles and clashes of the WC and reports any changes that came about because of this as the decision of the MC/UC who had decided that things must be changed. It is also taught that the best music, art and dance are those of the UC/MC and so that all things they like and believe must be better.
  • Internal Factors – links to Ed PolicyEducational PolicyNowadays there is a National Curriculum. It could be said that because of this WC children are much better off than before when they were taught entirely different things to most MC children and in separate schools completely. However if this was completely the case why is there still an attainment gap?The Hidden CurriculumBowles and Gintis showed 'hidden curriculum' – children learn discipline, hierarchy and to passively accept statusquo.John Taylor Gatle (2002) believed the same after 30 years of teaching. (He was not a Marxist). Believes there were 7 basic lessons in hidden curriculum. One of these was class hierarchy.
  • 8th grade – 13/14 year olds
  • 8th grade – 13/14 year olds
  • Some HeadlinesSocial class 'defines school achievement‘ – Apr 2003Social class still counts after students reach 21 – Aug 2003It's official: class matters - A major new study shows that social background determines pupils' success. – Feb 2006Social class 'determines child's success‘ – Sept 2008Social class still determines success – Jan 2009'Rich thick kids' do better at school, says Gove – Jul 2010Social class has more effect on children than good parenting, study finds – Dec 2010Clear that it’s the same problem over and over again – social class DOES affect educational attainment. Same old answer to the same old question??
  • Pre 1944 – free elementary school education for all up to 14 years of age & Secondary schools existed but were fee paying -Less than 2% of the population went to university1944 education Act – a key piece of post-war legislationIntroduced: Free secondary education for all, Raising of school leaving age to 15 years (option of staying on to 17 years),A commitment to equality of opportunity in education, The act led to academic selection as a means of providing schools tailored to different children’s needs - the ’11 plus exam’ & Grammar and secondary modern schools introduced1964 – Labour govt. elected and committed to introduce comprehensive education,Perceived failure of previous system, Founded on egalitarian principles and meritocracy – i.e. progression based on merit, Confusion over aims but an attempt to reduce/ overcome social class differences in educational attainment1988Education Act – State schools given more financial power. ‘National Curriculum’ introduced. Diversity and uniformity emphasised.1997 -‘Education, education, education’ promised as means to achieve social inclusion.
  • Messages from GovernmentA focus on “closing the gap” in education achievement – closing the gap between the rich and poor in academic success.A focus on “raising aspirations” – encouraging young people to aspire to be better than their parents.A focus on early intervention programmes – ensuring children and young people have the best start in life and subsequently education.A focus on diversifying the education market – to address the issue of a focus on academic routes and on prestigious university and career paths. Also an incoming focus on the value of education and what schools can do better to address the different skills of young people, i.e. Volunteering, non-formal learning?A focus on doing well, that ‘doing’ at all – attainment over engagement. But surely attainment starts with positive engagement?
  • The ‘D Word’?“There is clear evidence of boys as young as nine or ten becoming very disenchanted with school and starting to disengage. The evidence...points towards the interaction of educational disadvantage faced by children growing up in poverty, the difficulties faced by teachers in disadvantaged schools, and differences in the way boys and girls are socialised...” (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2007)Signifies contemporary evidence of Willis’ 1977 study, Learning to Labour, where he studied a group of 12 working class boys, or “lads” and their developing resistance to school authority and ‘anti-school’ subculture.The ‘D word’ – disenchanted, disengage, disadvantage, difficulties, differences – a whole host of issues regarding social class gap. Links to poverty and external factors affecting educational achievement.
  • Higher education: lots of reading and essay writing (literacy levels?), huge expense (poverty or deprivation?)Further Education: clear favouritism for A Levels (again, largely academically based) – i.e. other qualifications are seen as ‘inferior’. Introduction of BTECs, GNVQs to support ‘less academic’ (not ‘thicker’) pupils. Apprenticeships: a new revolution: Government driven target to increase the number of apprenticeships, to provide more ‘hands-on’ learning opportunities – which might appeal to ‘less academic’ pupils.Recent article in the Guardian/BBC reporting that more over 60s are taking up apprenticeships than young people – so do young people really want other opportunities to learn in different environments?
  • Composition of curriculumArgued that the curriculum fails to be relevant to the WC children and not taught in ways that engage them, thereby reducing their ability to do well.There has been a massive improvement but the gap has continued to widen. New qualifications have been brought in recently that reward people for more practical based skills. Possibly more in-keeping with the way WC children learn with their restrictive code i.e. GNVQ, BTEC. But these can hold less prestige than other qualifications and could also be a way to avoid the problems that must be in the way children are taught to create an achievement gap.
  • Schools White Paper – “The Importance of Teaching”Key foci:Teaching and leadershipBehaviourCurriculum, assessment and qualificationsThe new school systemAccountabilitySchool improvementSchool fundingLinks to social class and inequalityIt clearly identifies the inequality in performance – children on FSM is the key indicator It addresses the need for improvement for children who qualify for FSM In terms of BEHAVIOUR, the paper outlines key actions around how to tackle classroom inequality and the risk of exclusion – black boys and pupils entitled to FSM are more likely to be excluded. In terms of ACCOUNTABILITY, performance tables will be reformed and there is a clear focus on raising attainment for FSM-eligible pupils – the pupil premium is also outlined as a route to improvement. In terms of FUNDING, the Gvmt is clear that they will address the disparity between rich and poor pupils as a matter of top priority. With that in mind, the Gvmt will fund “a significant premium for disadvantaged children fromoutside the schools budget” – it is up to the school to spend the money based on the requirements of pupils.

Transcript

  • 1.  Peters (1966)- education was for the learner to have a wider understanding of the world Not universally fixed Schooling different to education Different perceptions on education Always learned as humans To foresee a brighter economic future.
  • 2. Plato and Hobbes - education maintains social order, tohave a society.Plato - 3 levels: workers, soldiers and leaders. Giddens (1998) - “There are few spheres of social life left untouched by class differences”
  • 3. Structural FunctionalismEmile DurkheimLate 19th century „individualism‟(increased in France)Therefore schooling is a way of educating children tointernalize values morals and rules within society.School‟s have role to teach children to complete roles inspecialized jobs.(1961[1925])
  • 4. Talcott Parsons((also Structural Functionalism) Children need to move fromstandards set within the family to thatof the wider society. Suggests that schools operate onmeritocratic system(Parsons and Bales (1956) However criticism on meritocraticidea...
  • 5. A Marxist theory...Bowles and Gintis (1976)Schools socialize children to becomeworkers for the capitalist economy.This view challenges education as a„great leveller‟ and suggests insteadit only divides individuals.
  • 6.  Jay Macleod study - „Ain‟t no making it„ Mainly white group hanging around Mainly black group more enthusiastic about education The world bank study..shows patterns of inequality within education
  • 7.  Girls always taught domestic activities in school ready to be mothers. E.g. cooking needle work Men wood work and physical activities. Until 1980‟s girls were unlikely to get grades for university Since 90‟s; reverse.. Girls now outperforming boys in general. „Crisis in masculinity‟?
  • 8. Smith & Noble (1995): „Barriers of learning‟ Working class parents have a lower income for educational resourcesRecently: EMA is no longer available to students as of this year. The recent increase in university costs will deter the working class students from applying.
  • 9. Bernstein (1975): Language codes• Middle class = Elaborated code• Working class = Restricted codeDouglas (1964):• Working class parents place less value on education. Children are less likely to be motivated and encouraged in their work by parents.• Middle class parents express pro-education values. They spend more time reading to their children.
  • 10. • Bourdieu (1977) – Marxist- Middle class possess cultural capital- Schools are middle class institutions- Middle class can convert cultural capital into material rewards later in life and gain economic capital.- Schools therefore reproduce inequalitiesVideo: The Value of Social Capital
  • 11. Bowles and Gintis (1976) – argued schools do socialisebut only to create right workers for society.Cultural reproduction – schools pass on the values andnorms of the previous generation.Self fulfilling prophecy - where people believe you are acertain type of person/are a certain way and you thenbelieve it yourself.
  • 12. Willis (1977) – observed 12 WC boys in an inner-school inBirmingham and how cultural reproduction worked.Findings? No feelings of inferiority from small group of lads he followed. They knew the system and used it to create own amusement. Did not feel failure to hate low status jobs but looked down on them with superiority.Did the school shape the boys like this to prepare them forthe jobs that needed to be filled in society??
  • 13.  Becker (1952) found this to be true. Ball (1981) - banding or streaming into classes for ability was often effected by judgement of behaviour. Goodacre (1986) – found that WC children that did well in reading tests were under marked by teachers. Rosenthal and Jacobson (1986) – the pygmalion effect.
  • 14. How important would you deem a parent‟s involvement in education in terms of their child‟s achievement/performance?
  • 15.  Parental involvement has a significant impact, particularly on achievement Failure is increased by lack of parental interest - father‟s interest makes a big difference Parents believe that the responsibility is shared between parents and the school. Parents want to be involved/more involved Source: DfES, 2008
  • 16.  Bowles and Gintis - correspondence theory Illich (1971) – passive consumption‟ Curriculum steers away from any conflict or ideas of upheaval or dissent?
  • 17. • National Curriculum – favours the middle class? However if this was completely the case why is there still an attainment gap?• The hidden curriculum (Bowles and Gintis)
  • 18. Social class defines school achievement„ – Apr 2003 Social class still counts after students reach 21 – Aug 2003Its official: class matters - A major new study shows that social background determines pupils success. – Feb 2006 Social class determines childs success„ – Sept 2008 Social class still determines success – Jan 2009 Rich thick kids do better at school, says Gove – Jul 2010 Social class has more effect on children than good parenting, study finds – Dec 2010
  • 19.  Government DO NOT measure “social class”, they use a “eligibility of free school meals” indicator (which indicates low income) Big overlap with policy and internal/external factors, e.g. material deprivation, cultural deprivation, teacher interaction etc. Also a direct link to the „child poverty‟ agenda This information is by no means exhaustive
  • 20.  Pre 1944 – free elementary school education BUT fee-paying secondary schools 1944 Education Act - Free secondary education for all, raising of school leaving age to 15 1964 – egalitarian principles and meritocracy and an attempt to overcome social class differences 1988 Education Act – State schools given more financial power. „National Curriculum‟ introduced. 1997 -„Education, education, education‟ promised as means to achieve social inclusion.
  • 21. A focus on “closing the gap” in education achievementA focus on “raising aspirations”A focus on early intervention programmesA focus on diversifying the education marketA focus on doing well, rather than „doing‟ at all
  • 22. “Eligibility for free school meals is strongly associated with low achievement, but significantly more so for White British pupils than for other ethnic groups. Other indicators of disadvantage, such as...the proportion of parents with low educational qualifications...are also statistically associated with low achievement.” Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2007aA local example (Oxfordshire) - 22% of young people who ARE eligible for FSM achieve 5+ A*-CGCSEs inc. English and Maths 60% of young people in Oxfordshire who are NOT eligible for FSMachieve 5+ A*-C GCSEs inc. English and Maths“Rich thick kids” doing better than “poor clever kids”??
  • 23. – 16% of 11 to 15 year olds and 6% of 16 to 19 year olds in state funded secondary schools are eligible for Free School Meals– Young girls who are eligible for free school meals at age 16 have an increased likelihood of pregnancy. Source: DfE, 2011 So, pupils from less affluent backgrounds have a higher chance of becoming a teenage parent?
  • 24. education failing students?Higher education: lots of reading and essay writing; huge expenseFurther Education: clear favouritism for A Levels; Introduction of BTECs, GNVQs to support „less academic‟ (not „thicker‟) pupils.Apprenticeships: Gvmt driven target to increase the number of apprenticeships
  • 25. No.Bowles and Gintis (1976) argues schools socialise but only to create a workforce.similarly...Illich (1971) argues there is a connection between development of education and requirements of economy.Are we pushing young people into fields that willfulfil the needs of future society or are weencouraging them to learn?
  • 26. Schools White Paper – “The Importance of Teaching”Key foci:• Teaching and leadership• Behaviour• Curriculum, assessment and qualifications• The new school system• Accountability• School improvement• School funding “Addressing the disparity between rich and poor pupils is a top priority of the Coalition Government”
  • 27. Raising the Achievement of White Working Class Pupils (2010) Positive attitudes in schools Monitoring progress by both ethnicity and social background – targeting support resource Frequent liaison with staff, especially for EFL students Celebrate diversity – encouraging cross-cultural learning Too often ethnicity and social class are ‘blurred’ – really important to distinguish! Direct Government intervention - Pupil Premium
  • 28. Baths, L. (1954) Social Class & Education. Journal of educational sociology 28 (3) pp124Browne, K. (2007). An Introduction to Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press. Pages 285-296.Connolly, P. (2006). The effects of social class and ethnicity on gender differences inGCSE attainment: a secondary analysis of the Youth Cohort Study of England and Wales1997–2001. British Educational Research Journal 32: 1. pp. 3-21.Giddens, A. (2009). Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press.Whitty, G. (2001). Education, social class and social exclusion. Journal of EducationPolicy 16: 4. pp 287-295.Any press articles about social class and education – brings the theory to life!