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Published on January 12, 2008

Author: Donato

Source: authorstream.com

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American Schools::  American Schools: Institutions Struggling with Expanding Expectations, Cultural Contradictions, and Persistent Inequalities Jefferson’s legacy--education as the foundation of democracy:  Jefferson’s legacy--education as the foundation of democracy Creative and rational thought is democracy’s cornerstone All citizens need basic literacy, the talented need far more The common good must be balanced with individual liberty Racial differences require social and political distinction Horace Mann’s legacy--the common school as “great equalizer”:  Horace Mann’s legacy--the common school as “great equalizer” common curriculum in a common place knowledge and habits of citizenship, as well as the basic literacy the “creator of wealth undreamed of”--eliminate poverty and crime shape the destiny of a wise, productive country. Ever increasing 20th-century expectations:  Ever increasing 20th-century expectations 1900-- cultural preservation--Americanizing immigrants 1910--workforce preparation--staffing the factories 1950--national security--beating the Russians in space 1960--the “great society”--eliminating poverty and segregation 1980--economic competitiveness--beating the Japanese; first in the world in math and science 2000--“Leave No Child Behind”--creating a more literate domestic workforce in a global economy where unskilled work can be “outsourced” Sociological theory in the early 20th century--explaining school’s social role:  Sociological theory in the early 20th century--explaining school’s social role Structural theories of how society works Durkheim (functionalism) Weber (bureaucracy and technical rationality) Cultural beliefs, values, norms Social Darwinism--racial inferiority IQ--innate, immutable An ideology of progress Increasing social harmony Expanding opportunity Functionalist & bureaucratic ideas of a productive & harmonious industrial society:  Functionalist & bureaucratic ideas of a productive & harmonious industrial society Society is an organic whole that requires the integration of all of its various parts to maintain harmony & social order. Integration and harmony require shared values Advanced, complex societies require that technical skills be differentiated, specialized, and coordinated into rational, goal oriented bureaucracies Hierarchy of authority Impersonality Written rules of conduct Promotion based on achievement Specialized division of labor Efficiency Functionalist & bureaucratic views of schooling in a complex industrial society:  Functionalist & bureaucratic views of schooling in a complex industrial society Social cohesion: brings together all community’s children for a core civic education, respectful relations, solidarity Social goal attainment: education provides differentiated technical skills & socializes for coordination Social fluidity: education is the means to realizing more equitable distribution of social status and economic resources across generations Equal opportunity & meritocratic selection Economic rewards follow from differences in level of technical skill and contribution to the social whole Arrangement supported by broad values consensus --achievement, equal opportunity, productivity, materialism James Conant’s “peculiarly American” Comprehensive High School :  James Conant’s “peculiarly American” Comprehensive High School “. . . it brings . . . one roof, secondary education for almost all of the high school age children of one town or neighborhood. It is responsible for educating the boy who will be an atomic scientist and the girl who will marry at eighteen; the prospective captain of a ship and the future captain of industry. It is responsible for educating the bright and not so bright with different vocational and professional ambitions. It is responsible, in sum, for providing good and appropriate education, both academic and vocational, for all young people within a democratic environment which the American people believe serves the principles they cherish.” John Gardner, Foreword to James Conant, The American High School Today(1959) Contradictory Evidence:  Contradictory Evidence Assumptions remain firmly in place in the face of contradictory evidence Doubtful that social cohesion has increased--in fact, persistent race and social class segregation Increased economic inequality, even in the face of increased school attainment Differentiation/meritocratic selection in school has consistently mirrored/reinforced stratification Why no disruption of schooling patterns that seem to contradict our democratic goals for schools? Conventional Views of Schooling Inequality:  Conventional Views of Schooling Inequality Schools structures and processes are neutral, social-class fair, and colorblind Ability and effort/persistence determine achievement and success Cultural, linguistic, community, and/or income-related deficits/differences make school learning more difficult for students of color and low-income students Unequal access to high quality schooling may exacerbate these cultural, linguistic, and poverty-related disadvantages, and those inequalities are troublesome Despite their problems, schools provide the route to social and economic mobility Conventional Solutions to Inequality:  Conventional Solutions to Inequality Conservatives argue that stronger family support and more school-oriented values will help these students take advantage of schooling opportunities Liberals argue that these students need to be remedied with compensatory programs to help them overcome their disadvantages Progressives seek distributional policies to “level the playing field” Social and Cultural Reproduction Theories Why working class children consistently end up in working class jobs :  Social and Cultural Reproduction Theories Why working class children consistently end up in working class jobs Structural theories (schools mirror and reproduce the structures & practices of the capitalist economy) Cultural theories (schools embody the ideology that presents the culture of the dominant class as merit) Structural and cultural contradictions allow schools to play a key role in maintain and legitimate inequality, even as they promote an ideology of social mobility though opportunity and fair competition Bowles and Gintis Schooling in Capitalist America (1976) :  Bowles and Gintis Schooling in Capitalist America (1976) Revisit Marxist economic theory Schools serve the needs of the capitalist economy legitimate technical meritocracy fragment workers into stratified groups socialize students to relationships of dominance and subordination legitimate inequality produce ample labor to keep costs down Bowles and Gintis The “Correspondence Principle”:  Bowles and Gintis The “Correspondence Principle” School practices and relations mirror those in capitalist workplaces organization of work and power--managers and workers lack of control by the “worker” extrinsic rewards competition among individuals, specialization of subjects, fragmented nature of work legitmation of inequality Bowles and Gintis Reproduction occurs both between & within schools :  Bowles and Gintis Reproduction occurs both between & within schools Between school differences that reflect different values and expectations of working and middle class communities, as well as by teachers and administrators Tracking differences within schools Bourdieu Cultural and Social Capital:  Bourdieu Cultural and Social Capital Culture as mediating the reproduction of inequality--less mechanistic, but still determinist Social classes have distinct cultures that they transmit to their children Schools embody and reward the culture of the advantaged classes as inborn intelligence and as “educated” Cultural capital--knowledge and dispositions that can be exchanged for economic capital Social capital--connections with those who make advantaged positions available School success translates into advantaged social and economic position Bourdieu’s Habitus How individuals participate in reproducing social and economic inequality:  Bourdieu’s Habitus How individuals participate in reproducing social and economic inequality Reflexive relationship between structure, aspirations, and actions--between outer reality and inner consciousness Aspirations and ambitions leveled by social class experience What’s natural for “people like us” Internalized hierarchy of inequality, justified by an ideology of cultural meritocracy Basil Bernstein & Shirley Brice Heath Language as Central to Culture:  Basil Bernstein & Shirley Brice Heath Language as Central to Culture empirical studies in England and the US social class differences in linguistic codes--restricted and elaborated schools embody and reward mastery of middle class codes Oakes The Mechanisms of Structural & Cultural Inequality:  Oakes The Mechanisms of Structural & Cultural Inequality Keeping Track--structural inequality and its legitimation within schools Multiplying Inequalities--unequal patterns between and within schools Matchmaking--culture, race, and class trump merit in the competition for schooling opportunities Paul Willis Rejection and Reproduction:  Paul Willis Rejection and Reproduction students play an active role in a complex and contradictory process of reproducing inequality examined the day to day processes in schools with working-class boys the “lads” penetrated and rejected the achievement ideology meaning making and agency created an “anti-school” culture feminization of conformity to school rejection was both transformative “have a laf” and limiting--cementing their fate in lower-class jobs Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux & Peter McLaren Critical Theory & Critical Pedagogy:  Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux & Peter McLaren Critical Theory & Critical Pedagogy ideology and hegemony of capitalism and inequality are powerful but not impenetrable resistance as rooted in political rejection of the dominant ideology and potentially liberating critical pedagogy as disruptive Is it Race or is it Social Class? The American Challenge to Social Theory:  Is it Race or is it Social Class? The American Challenge to Social Theory Which matters most? Can they be untangled? Adding race to the social class analyses of Bowles and Gintis and Bordieu Studies of “white privilege” and whiteness Critical Race Theory questioning the very existence of race-neutrality in American society and institutions What would social reproduction theorists say to these explanations of inequality? :  What would social reproduction theorists say to these explanations of inequality? Schools structures and processes are neutral, social-class fair, and colorblind Ability and effort/persistence determine achievement and success Cultural, linguistic, community, and/or income-related deficits/differences make achievement more difficult for students of color and low-income students Unequal access to high quality schooling may exacerbate these cultural, linguistic, and poverty-related disadvantages,and these are troublesome Despite their problems, schools success is the route to social and economic mobility Schooling inequality is integral to capitalist society Inequality is constructed through the interplay of . . . :  Schooling inequality is integral to capitalist society Inequality is constructed through the interplay of . . . Social structures that advantage those with power and wealth Cultural ideologies that cast privilege as merit and “white” as colorblind Agency/resistance that is ultimately self-defeating for those who challenge the dominant structures and cultural norms What would social reproduction theorists say in response to the most commonly offered “solutions” to inequality?:  What would social reproduction theorists say in response to the most commonly offered “solutions” to inequality? Conservatives argue that stronger family support and more school-oriented values will help disadvantaged students take advantage of schooling opportunities Liberals argue that these students need to be remedied with compensatory programs to help them overcome their disadvantages Progressive seek distributive policies to “level the playing field” Democratic equality competes with capitalist inequality in the American culture and rhetoric The struggle for equality must simultaneously . . .:  Democratic equality competes with capitalist inequality in the American culture and rhetoric The struggle for equality must simultaneously . . . Alter social structures, practices, and the distribution of resources and opportunities Challenge prevailing cultural ideologies (in curriculum, conceptions of intelligence, and the norms of merit). Engage agents (students and educators) in transformative resistance Look beyond schools to more equitable economic, social, and political structures Hope and struggle around contradictory cultural commitments:  Hope and struggle around contradictory cultural commitments Common good as well as competitive individual liberty Open opportunity as well as social sorting Merit as well as privilege Racial equality as well as white supremacy Political equality as well as growing economic inequality

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