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EDUC101, Social Foundations of Education
Mid-Term Review of Content and Concepts
As we reached mid-semester and you prepare for your midterm essay, it is helpful to look back at the journey through American education history and contemporary implications we have done so far—here is a list of key themes, theories and concepts that we have addressed up to this point. Please review these as you prepare to write your essay.
Recall the major eras of education change we discussed and the way they presented particular socio-economic, political and ideological frameworks for the changes that took place at the time in the educational approaches/system of those times. This important because educational change always reflects the major issues of the time and is often catered to reflect particular needs, both local and national.
Historical chronology—the major ‘education eras’ and their implications:
Throughout these major eras, we addressed major themes, theories and concepts that help us analyze and understand the varied experiences within the U.S. educational system:
Multiple purposes of education and schooling: historically, education has been ascribed multiple roles. Among them, we talked about:
i. John Ogbu’s structural (tangible, material, explicit) and expressive (related to beliefs and mentality) barriers based on race (John Ogbu, Overcoming Racial Barriers to Equal Access).
ii. The Long Shadow, where Black females and males had significantly lower rates of mobility due to the structural barriers they encounter
i. The correspondence principle, by which school structures and intentions correspond to those of society, ensuring that students end up in similar class positions as those of their parents
ii. Issues of school funding—the political nature of school finance based on property taxes and the implication unequal funding has for student learning and opportunities; film Children in America’s Schools and shorter videos on Moodle about the funding crisis and its connection to high school drop-out rates
i. Habitus (MacLeod, Ch. 2)
ii. Cultural capital (MacLeod, Ch. 2)—schools are structured to value certain cultural manifestations and personal upbringing over others, with particular emphasis on the culture of those who occupy the most powerful social positions; all students come to school with cultural capital, but some come with one that is more congruent with that which the schools value and emphasize: the higher the congruence between the two, the higher the likelihood of academic success (cultural (in)compatibility theory); cultural capital is a reflection of experiences, rather than a reflection of some kind of deficit that causes some students to be “at-risk” (Sonia Nieto’s Toward an Understanding School Achievement); the burden of change and learning is not all on the shoulders of students, but schools and teachers too need to adapt their teaching to the cultural understandings and experiences of students to value them
iii. Social capital (Coleman and Hoeffer, Human Capital and Social Capital; Lareau, Social Class and Parent Involvement in Schooling)—the ways relationships and networks within a family and outside it can impact a student’s opportunities
i. Student resistance as political stance (Henry Giroux in MacLeod, Ch. 2)
ii. Voluntary versus Involuntary minorities responses to schools and drawbacks/shortcomings of this interpretation of school achievement; dual frame of reference