Course Outline• An Overview of Education and Religion• Sociological Perspectives on Education• Problems Within Elementary and Secondary Schools• Opportunities and Challenges in Colleges and Universities
An Overview of Educationand Religion• Education and religion are socializing institutions.• The sociology of education examines formal education or schooling in industrial societies.• The sociology of religion focuses on religious groups and organizations, on the behavior of individuals within those groups, and how religion is intertwined with other social institutions.
Education• The social institution responsible for the transmission of knowledge, skills, and cultural values within a formally organized structure.• In all societies, people must acquire certain knowledge and skills in order to survive. – In simple technology societies, this might include hunting, gathering, fishing and farming. – In complex technology societies, knowledge and skills are related to the requirements of the job market.
Sociological Perspectives onEducation• Functionalists suggest that education contributes to the maintenance of society and provides opportunity for upward social mobility, and meritocracy.• Conflict theorists argue that education perpetuates social stratification.• Symbolic interactionists focus on classroom dynamics and the effect of self-concept on grades and aspirations.
Manifest Functions ofEducation • Socialization • Transmission of culture • Social control • Social placement • Change and innovation
Latent Functions ofEducation • Restricting some activities. • Matchmaking and production of social networks. • Creating a generation gap.
Conflict Perspectives• Education reproduces existing class relationships.• Unequal funding is a source of inequality in education.• Access to colleges and universities is determined not only by academic record but also by the ability to pay.
Cultural Capital and ClassReproduction• According to the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, students come to school with different amounts of cultural capital. – socially approved dress and manners, knowledge about books, art, music• The educational system teaches and reinforces values that sustain the elite’s position in society.
Tracking and SocialInequality• Tracking is the practice of assigning students to specific groups based on their test scores, previous grades, or other criteria.• Conflict theorists believe tracking affects educational performance and overall academic acheivement.
The Hidden Curriculum• A study of five elementary schools in different communities found: – Schools for working-class students emphasize procedures and rote memorization. – Schools for middle-class students stress the processes involved in getting the right answer.• Schools for affluent students focus on activities in which students express their own ideas.• Schools for students from elite families work to develop critical thinking skills, applying abstract principles to problem solving.
Symbolic InteractionistPerspecitive• Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - students perform according to expectations of teachers. – Girls learn to attribute success to effort. – Boys learn to attribute success to intelligence.
Unequal Funding of PublicSchools• State and local governments contribute about 47% each toward education and the federal government pays the remaining 6%.• In recent years, some states have been held accountable for unequal funding that results in rich and poor school districts.• Voucher systems would allow families to spend government money to purchase education at the school of their choice.
School Violence• In the 1990’s violent acts resulted in numerous deaths in schools across the nation.• Schools in Pearl, Mississippi, West Paducah, Kentucky, Jonesboro, Arkansas, Springfield, Oregon, and Littleton, Colorado, witnessed a series of killings in schools by students that shocked people across the world.
Contrary to public perception, violent crime in schools has declined dramatically since 1994. The annual rate of seriousviolent crime in 2007 (40 per 1,000 students)was less than half of the rate in 1994. These data are victim reports collected as part of the National Crime Victimization Survey and are not derived from school records.
The rate of homicides in U.S. schools has declined substantially sincethe early 1990s. There was an apparent interruption in the downward trend during a period of highly publicized shootings that may have generated some copycat shootings.
Dropping Out• About 10% of people between the ages of 14 and 24 left school before earning a high school diploma.• Dropout Rates: – Latinos/(Hispanics) - 24% – African Americans - 12.2% – non-Hispanic whites - 7.9% – Asian Americans - 1%
Racial Segregation andDesegregation• In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal” segregated schools are unconstitutional.• Five decades later, racial segregation remains a fact of life in education.• Efforts to bring about desegregation or integration have failed in districts throughout the country
Community Colleges• In 1948 a presidential commission report called for the establishment of a network of public community colleges that would: – charge little or no tuition – serve as cultural centers – be comprehensive in their program offerings – serve the area in which they were located.
Community Colleges• According to the American Association of Community Colleges (2005): – There are 1,166 community colleges in the U.S. – They enroll almost 12 million students. – Community college enrollment accounts for 46% of U.S. undergraduates. – Almost 40% of community college students receive financial aid. – Women make up 58% of community college students.
The Cost of a CollegeEducation• According to some social analysts, a college education is a bargain at about $90 a day for private schools or $35 for public schools.• Others believe that students who lack money may be denied access to higher education, and those who are able to attend college tend to receive different types of education based on their ability to pay.
Racial and Ethnic Differences in Enrollment• Latina/o enrollment as a percentage of total college enrollment increased from 5.7% to 9.8% between 1990 and 2001.• Although African American enrollment increased between 1990 and 2001, today it remains at 11%.• Native American enrollment rates have remained at about 0.9% from the 1970s to the 2000s; however, tribal colleges on reservations have experienced an increase in enrollment.