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This 14 page Study Guide was uploaded by Natalie Jouzy on Tuesday February 2, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to SOCY125 at University of Maryland - College Park taught by Linda Moghadam in Fall 2014. Since its upload, it has received 144 views. For similar materials see Why does Educational Inequality in the U.S. Persist? Explaining Differences in Educational Attainment in Sociology at University of Maryland - College Park.
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Date Created: 02/02/16
SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES MACRO LEVEL STRUCTURES: (Durkheim) Large economy systems Society is a complex system whose parts work together to promote stability and solidarity. Systems of stratification o Functionalist theory Everything has a function Solutions to educational and social problems were possible in capitalism Manifest functions DELIBERATE AND INTENDED Latent functions UNINTEDEND Mechanical solidarity same values Organic solidarity specialized jobs THEREFORE BOTH DEPEND ON EACH OTHER. MICRO LEVEL STRUCTURES: (Karl Marx) Small economic structures Explanations of social life and social structures are found at individual level or through social interaction. Schools function interests of dominant groups rather than everyone. o Conflict theory categorization of people and social hierarchies Unequal and favors the power elites. (wealthy vs. poor) Institutional discrimination (e.g. Race, class, gender) Society held together by manipulation and by authority figures/ POWER ELITES American Dream: Success/ independence/ prosperity/ freedom/ hard work Each person has their own hierarchy and social class People’s chances are equal regardless of their background if they work hard. Meritocracy: Working hard for what you deserve. RICH FAMILIES DO NOT BELIEVE IN MERITOCRACY BECAUSE OFTEN INHERITED WEALTH. Concentrated cultivation: (middle class) (Lareau) Negotiation and vocab is influenced Hectic schedules so many sports and extracurricular activities 1 | P a g e SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES Parents very involved in life (BIG PARENTAL INTERVENTION AFFECTS CHID’S ACCOMPLISHMENT) Lose touch with extended family members very individualistic Child has sense of entitlement (they have a voice and speak up for wrong/right) Helicopter parents “hovering” over child’s and constantly intervene in life. (protective) E.G they taught ALWAYS have eye contact not good in low class neighborhood could be dangerous/ life threating. Natural growth: (working class) (Lareau) Children are creative and independent Lack parental support/involvement (parents work two jobs) Plays in neighborhood streets not much extracurricular activities Not as prepared for adulthood with fewer opportunities Extended family is V. IMP. Rely on support from them financially/ socially. Child has sense of constraint (they accept authority power and do not speak up) Symbolic interactionism: MICRO LEVEL PROCESSES OF INTERACTION. Individuals develop through social interaction Selffulfilling prophecy: A label imposed on an individual that may or may not be true however it results in the individual acting according to the given label and fulfilling that label. E.G If a student told he is “class clown” they will act according to label to fulfill it. E.G If student told they are bad at a subject by an authority figure (teacher) they will perform badly in that subject. Looking glass self: (Cooley) We learn who we are through our interactions with others Our selfimage comes from our own selfreflection of what others think of us. Primary deviance: 2 | P a g e SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES Occurs within a person’s own peer group that engages in the same behavior. Have not been publically labelled. E.G Teenager smokes a cigarette with friends who smoke too and not seen as bad behavior because others smoke too. Secondary deviance: When the individual knows the behavior is labeled as ‘deviant’ but still continues to behave in that manner. Results from societal reaction from labelling. E.G Same teenager moves schools and smokes in front of peers who don’t smoke labelled as ‘outcast’ or not accepted. Labelling theory: (Rist) Behaviors are deviant only when society labels them as deviant. People in authority often impose labels. E.G alcoholics, criminals, bad students etc. Influences students to act according to the label: 1. Power and authority of the person setting the label 2. Stigmatization of student accepts the label and acts on it. Framing: When one group is able to impose their definition of another group on the minds of others. Credentialism: Access to the best jobs is credentials (higher education degrees) not the actual need for higher education Access to higher education is limited by one’s social standing Degrees indicate motivation and social experience, not technical skills 3 | P a g e SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES Committed to business attitudes (test of loyalty at Goldman Sachs) Stratification: The unequal distribution of people across social categories. Mechanisms that produce stratification: Exploitation When one group obtains resources from another group without compensating them for their value. Why some schools are not as good as others: Scarce resources for students Education is expensive (FINANCIAL ISSUES) Differences in locations Misdistribution of teachers across schools Differences in funding Cultural lag: Culture takes time to keep up with the pace of technological innovations Social problems are caused by this lag. Culture of poverty: The cycle of poverty the poor stay poor and the rich get richer. Factors SES, living conditions, neighborhood location, race, culture, income, wealth etc. Hidden curriculum: Unofficial lessons that students learn in school that are not part of the formal school curriculum. These can include expectations on how to act in public, patriotism, and messages about social hierarchies. Gender in an important element: o Schools promote gender differences Males better than females at math/ males engineers/ Females housewives or less mathematical/science based more for nurturing like nursing etc. 4 | P a g e SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES Human capital: (Becker) Training, experience and education They raise earnings, improve health and add to a person’s good NOT ALWAYS INCOME/ TANGIBLE. Social capital: The network of social connections that exist between people and their shared values and norms of behavior. SOME HAVE AN ADVANTAGE OF BEING HIGHER CLASS AND MAY HAVE MORE CONNECTIONS/ NETWORKS WITH POWERFUL PEOPLE AND ELITES. \\ Cultural capital: Tastes, habits, knowledge, skills, education, race that help us gain advantages in society. RACE CAN BE ADVANTAGES FOR WHITE PEOPLE MORE THAN BLACK/ MINORITIES ADVANTAGES FOR MIDDLE/UPPER CLASS THAN LOWER CLASS McDonalization: (Ritzer) When culture adapts the characteristics of a fast food restaurant McDonalds Efficiency the best/fastest to get Calculability the ability to quantify aspects of production Predictability Roles and scripts standardized across the system (INTERNATIONAL MCDONALDS TASTE THE SAME) Achieved characteristics what you earn (MERITOCRACY) Ascribed characteristics status person assigned at birth/NOT CHOSEN IT IS ASSIGNED Summer learning gap: Difference in learning environment across children’s SES that widens the achievement gap. This begins in preschool to 12. Mostly for middle and upper class as their income is higher. o This influences: Curriculum placement High school dropouts College attendance Grade retention 5 | P a g e SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES Schools helping students catch up is hard (children fall behind) Grade retention: Is the process of having a student repeat the grade that is usually failed. Effects selfesteem of students. Habitus: (Bourdieu) The characteristics of a person including lifestyle, values, education, income and norms of a specific social group. High stakes testing: (Rothstein) Cognitive vs. non cognitive skills Created to be diagnostic to determine if people needed more support etc. Criticism accuracy (conditions can affect performance of student and it measures Criticism exposure (lower vs. higher tracking program) if in higher math maybe exposed to more higher advanced knowledge Testing provides incomplete measure of what students should be learning at school. Darling Hammond importance of social skills Persistence student expectations (reward people who finish fastest) Selfconfidence and selfesteem (noncognitive skills) Limitations of legal remedies of unequal funding: US supreme court can’t force schools/states to fund equally They think a decision is imminent Multiple cases throughout the countries addressing this but minimal things have been done. DARLING HAMMOND & ROTHSTEIN Legal remedies very limited in what they are able to accomplish Opportunity gap: Students from lowerincome households may not have the financial resources that give students from higher income households an advantage when it comes to performing well in school, scoring high on standardized tests, and aspiring to and succeeding in college 6 | P a g e SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES Minority students may be subject to prejudice or bias that denies them equal and equitable access to learning opportunities. Students raised by parents who have not earned a college degree or who may not value postsecondary education may lack the familial encouragement and support available to other students. A lack of internet connectivity, computers, and new learning technologies in rural schools. 1 According to conflict theorists, how do schools serve the interests of the elites? Conflict theory refers to the microlevel structures that focuses on the explanations of social life and social structures at an individual level through social interaction that is derived from the conflict theorist Karl Marx. It also refers to how schools function in the interest of dominant and power elite groups rather than the minorities. The power elites and dominant groups often refer to White people from middle and upper class statuses and the minority groups that come from financially impaired families are often referred to as Black, and Latino etc. Conflict theorists believe that property taxes fund most schools thus schools in more affluent neighborhood have more money. These areas a predominantly white and they can afford to pay higher salaries, for extracurricular activities, private schools, better teachers and purchase new technologies. Students who attend these schools gain advantages in getting into better colleges and getting higher paid professions. However students in less affluent neighborhood do not get to enjoy these advantages and are less likely to go to college. Recently education has been associated with high economic status. Also because the elites have higher social capital and networks this also works in their favor as they are the dominant group. 2 What are examples of the hidden curriculum? The hidden curriculum refers to the unofficial or unintended lessons that students learn in school. They are “hidden” because they are not part of the formal school curriculum but are indirectly taught. These can include expectations on how to act in public, patriotism, and messages about social hierarchies. Another important key element of the hidden curriculum is gender messages. Children are taught from a young age about the differences in gender roles. For example, males are better at maths and sciences and have careers like engineers. On the other hand, females are not as good as males in math and science and tend to lean more to the nurturing and social science careers. The hidden curriculum serves to transmit tactic messages to students about values, attitudes and principles. Some examples include following teachers rules such as raising your hand when you want to speak or staying in a single file line etc. 7 | P a g e SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES 3 According to C.W. Mills, what are dominant institutions? C.W Mills was a sociologist that believed that the power elite existed in modern societies and they occupy the dominant positions in dominant institutions such as politics, the economy, military and education. The elites in these dominant institutions had similar social backgrounds and worldviews. There is a conflict for becoming the dominant force of educational institutions and the dominant groups will be the ones enforcing these institutions. This is because the status quo must be maintained for the dominant groups i.e. the middle and upper class. 4 What is a selffulfilling prophecy and how does it relate to labeling? The selffulfilling prophecy refers to a label imposed on an individual that may or may not be true however it results in the individual acting according to the given label and fulfilling that label. For example if a student is labelled as the “class clown” then he or she will act according to the label so that they can fulfill it. This relates to Rist’s labelling theory where behaviors are deviant only when society labels them as deviant. Labels are often set by people in authority and they are then are followed by society. Labels could include bad student, poor, criminal etc. These labels influence the student’s ability to perform their best in school. For example if a person in authority (a teacher) tells the student that they are not good at a certain subject, the student would begin to act accordingly to this label. This diminishes the student identity as the student becomes demotivated to perform academically well. 5 How does Rist’s description of primary and secondary deviance reflect the selffulfilling prophecy? The selffulfilling prophecy refers to a label imposed on an individual that may or may not be true however it results in the individual acting according to the given label and fulfilling that label. For example if a student is labelled as the “class clown” then he or she will act according to the label so that they can fulfill it. Labeling theory focuses on less the deviant act however more on society’s reactions to that particular behavior. Primary deviance occurs when within a person’s own peer group that engages in the same behavior and it has not been publically labelled. For example if a teenager smokes a cigarette with friends who smoke too and not seen as bad behavior because others smoke too and are committing the deviant behavior. However, secondary deviance results from societal reaction i.e. from labeling. This occurs when the individual knows the behavior is labeled as ‘deviant’ but still continues to behave in that manner. For example, if that same teenager moves schools and smokes in front of peers who don’t smoke he or she would not be accepted and would be labelled as an outcast. Others may see the teenager only according to his/her label and thus it controls their identity. 6 How does Rothstein (film and reading) support the notion of the Bird cage of oppression? 8 | P a g e SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES The bird cage of oppression is an analogy used to express the fact that there are several factors that contribute to oppression not just one. The wires of a birdcage demonstrates that it is not a singular aspect of oppression (one wire) but rather the combination of numerous systematically related barriers (the birdcage) that make educational achievement so restricting. The bird cage of oppression relates to Rothstein because Rothstein lists countless factors that contribute to the achievement gap. Rothstein argues that it is not just economic factors that influence the achievement gap there is much more to it. He reasons that social class differences in childrearing could influence the achievement gap too. This is because children from more affluent families and neighborhoods have parents who value education differently than children who grew up in financially impaired family backgrounds. Also they are advantaged because their parents use conversational styles that have more complex and larger vocabulary hence developing them intellectually. Rothstein also claims that healthcare is vital in order to perform well in school. Children from low income families tend to live in dangerous environments that affects their health. For example, lead positing can occur because the children have more exposure to dust and live in older buildings. This affects their cognitive functioning and behavior. Furthermore, their nutrition may not be very healthy and they may not be receiving the necessary meals which also affects their performance. Consequently there are many “wires” that contribute to the achievement gap (bird cage). 7 According to functional theory, what are the two primary functions of school? What are some secondary ones? Functionalist theory is a macro level structure that Durkheim refers to that societies are thought to function like organisms with various institutions that work together like organs to maintain and reproduce societies. Functionalists believe that each institution has a function in society and the function of school was seen through manifest and latent functions. The manifest function of education was to increase knowledge and abilities of the students so they can contribute to the work force. Whereas the latent functions referred to the unintended functions and in this case education functioned to maintain class hierarchy and inequality. Durkheim also believed that education transmits society’s norms and values. 8 How would you critique the issue of school choice? School choice relies heavily on the neighborhood and location the school is in. “Good” schools and “bad” schools were defined first and foremost by their location. Also the parents of students believed that schools located in good neighborhoods meant that they are from wealthy neighborhoods too. This meaning the other students their children are surrounded by are from affluent families. Another factor that parents took into consideration of school choice was race and class. White parents wanted to send their children to schools where all of the students their children are surrounded by are from the same race and social class and to avoid diverse populations. This was also true in the case of black parents as they wanted the best quality schooling for their children which generally presumed to be less diverse and whiter. 9 | P a g e SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES In conclusion, parents assumed that the schools that were located in more affluent areas were presumed to have better funding and this in the better schools. 9 Why does framing matter in studying/solving the educational achievement gap? Firstly, framing refers to when one group is able to impose their definition of another group on the minds of others. Framing highly impacts the educational achievement gap and in specific it negatively impacts the students from lower class families. These students are labelled as “deviant” and that they cannot academically achieve the same grades as those students from affluent families. To some extent it is true because they do not have the access to the same resources, however this becomes an issue of identity. If students from the lower class are labelled as ‘low achievers’ then they begin to believe this and act upon it. This relates to Rist’s labelling theory that suggests that a behaviors are only labelled deviant when society labels them as such and usually they are imposed from people in authority. This greatly increases the achievement gap. The achievement gap can be referred to as the disparity in education levels between social groups from different socioeconomic statuses, races, ethnicities and genders. For example, Mickelson argues that there are gender differences in education. Generally, women perform better in school and are more likely to work in fields in the social sciences. Whereas men do better in more concrete sciences such as physics, and engineering. Also, males may perform less in education because they have less motivation because there are less male role models as teachers. Additionally, either way males know they will have a higher wage then women so they do not work as much. 10 Describe the ways in which tracking occurs and how the influence the educational achievement gap? Tracking refers to assigning students to instructional groups on the basis of ability and the purpose of tracking is to tailor instruction to the ability level of their students. By tracking students it is easier to group their abilities into advanced or lower classes. Although tracking may be useful for educational institutions and for teachers to know the level of their students, it greatly impacts the students negatively. Tracking promotes segregation in the classroom along both racial and socioeconomic lines. Tracking plays a major role in the achievement gap because once students are placed in a specific group they stay in that group and thus this creates inequality and increases the achievement gap. It also affects the students’ selfesteem as if they are put in a lower tracking group then the students are faced with a label from that group that they have to fulfill. Furthermore, tracking increases the achievement gap by differential access to valued knowledge. Students often put in the advanced classes have better opportunities and access to more advanced knowledge. However the students placed in the lower achieving groups stay in that pace and do not excel because they are not challenged. In conclusion, tracking occurs from a very young age making it very inflexible and can lead to serious consequences such as an increase in the achievement gap. 10 | P a g e SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES 11 How does segregation of a group help to facilitate the stratification process? Segregation refers to the separation of groups of people based on their religion, ethnicity, SES, race, or gender. Segregation often limits opportunities and restricts the freedom of the minorities who do not belong to a dominant group. The social stratification process refers to categorizing people into ranking based on their SES including their wealth, income, occupation, status and power. The stratification process reinforces class differences and hence segregation. For example in work situations, male dominance is very prevalent and are significantly higher than female occupations. Although it is known that female tend to perform better academically than men, they still earn higher wages than women do. This is one factor in which segregation facilitates the stratification process. 12 Duncan and Murnane note there is some disagreement about whether changes in the economy have increased the educational achievement or weaker high school preparation of low income students? Are the two related? How would you weigh in on this? Yes, changes in the economy have weakened the high school preparation of low income students. This is because the educational achievement gap. Students from lowerincome households may not have the financial resources that give students from higher income households an advantage when it comes to performing well in school, scoring high on standardized tests, and aspiring to and succeeding in college. Minority students may be subject to prejudice or bias that denies them equal and equitable access to learning opportunities. Students raised by parents who have not earned a college degree or who may not value postsecondary education may lack the familial encouragement and support available to other students. A lack of internet connectivity, computers, and new learning technologies in rural schools. 13 Rothstein argues that academic grades and test scores should not be the only criteria considered for college admission. Identify what he believes to be the noncognitive skills that should be considered in evaluating applicants. Do you agree? Use the readings and class discussion to justify your answer. Rothstein argues that there are many other factors that should be taken into consideration for college admission. One major consideration is noncognitive skills. Noncognitive skills refers to the skills that are not cognitive such as memory, attention and planning. These skills include socialization, leadership, persistence, selfconfidence and civic participation. Noncognitive skills are often not measurable unlike cognitive skills which educators can measure objectively with tests. For example, in math there is a right or wrong answer and it can easily be measured through standardized testing however leadership skills is difficult to measure. 11 | P a g e SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES Rothstein argues that these noncognitive skills can aid students in their future work force as it empowers an individual’s communication and negotiation skills. He also believes that they are very important skills that students need later on in life. Also that some students can have stronger noncognitive skills than cognitive skills and that is why they should be taken into consideration. 14 What is the primary scheme for funding public education (K12) in the U.S.? In what ways does this contribute to the educational achievement gap? The primary scheme for funding public education (K12) in the U.S. is that schools that obtain higher scores in testing often have higher funds and more resources are provided. Also if schools are located in more affluent districts or cities the school funding is likely to increase. This highly impacts the educational achievement gap. Firstly, the educational achievement gap refers to the disparity in performance outcomes in various educational measures across students from different socioeconomic backgrounds, race, gender and ethnicity. Also based on the attendance rate of students schools obtain higher funds if their attendance is higher and lower funds if attendance is lower. Rothstein identifies several impacts of a student’s school attendance. He mentions factors such as health like asthma because students from financially impaired families tend to live in poor situations and hence impacting their health and school attendance. The social problem is that there is an unequal distribution of scarce resources across different societies. Also because the more affluent neighborhoods and children from middle/upper classes tend to have more opportunities and access to more resources their funding in these public education schools is higher. These children receive money through donations from wealthy people in the school as well as higher funds because of their high test scores. Thus this creates and educational achievement gap and segregates the low achievers and the high achievers and increases the gap. This also creates a continual struggle for advantage as subordinate members receive less attention and funds that are needed. Another scheme used to increase school funding of schools is the Title 1 program. This program was created to distribute funding to schools and school districts in need. The title 1 program aims at closing the achievement gap by providing additional support and learning opportunities to help low achieving students to achieve the requirements in core subjects. 15 Has the policy No Child Left Behind met the educational goals stated? Why/Why not? Firstly, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policy refers to the largest source of government spending on elementary and secondary education from K through 12. This includes Title 1 spending. This program was created to distribute funding to schools and school districts in need. The title 1 program aims at closing the achievement gap by providing additional support and learning opportunities to help low achieving students to achieve the requirements in core subjects. 12 | P a g e SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES The NCLB program has helped increase accountability by setting annual state testing for mathematics and reading. Also the NCLB Act has increased the choices available to the parents of students attending Title 1 schools that fail to meet State standards. 16 What are the problems associated with high stakes testing? What has been the impact on students? The purpose of high stakes testing is to provide a measure of where the students stand in a particular subject for educators. High stakes testing is a good measure of curriculum but not of the intelligence of students. High stakes testing can include exams and programs such as the IB, AP, Bar, MCAT, LSAT, ACT, SAT and many others. These high stakes test results can have consequences for students, staff or schools. Increasingly, cities and states are using test scores and school attendance in order to evaluate schools and allocate resources. If schools have higher scores they are rewarded with more resources and if they received lower scores they receive less resources. Because of this, the standards and expectations are high for students to obtain good scores. There are several criticisms of high stakes testing as the accuracy of the tests are questioned. Sometimes the conditions that the students perform these exams in can affect the scores. For example, if the student was sick or if the room they were placed in was too noisy etc. all these factors contribute to whether they perform well or not. Another criticism is the access to knowledge. Students from financially impaired families cannot afford for private SAT classes and to actually take the SAT and this creates an achievement gap too. Also when students perform poorly on the test it creates a lot of pressure on them and can lower their selfesteem because the schools sometimes depend on their results. 17 What are the unintended consequences of high stakes testing? High stakes tests are tests from which results are used to make significant educational decisions about schools, teachers, administrators and students. Also, high stakes tests for schools and districts often determine school funding levels and guide school reconstructing efforts. The unintended consequences of high stakes testing include grade retention, cheating, and the loss of teachers from the profession. High stakes tests also affect students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Also they tend to have more minority students such as Blacks and Hispanics that make up majority of the poorer communities. Additionally, educators have the right to retain low achieving students to provide them with an extra year of learning and improvement before taking high stakes exams. 18 What is the difference between describing the educational achievement gap as a “problem” and an “agenda”? Which do you believe is the better descriptor? Problem it is diffused Agenda you have a plan it means it’s more purposeful Agenda holds levels of structure 13 | P a g e SOCY125 MIDTERM NOTES Rothstein laws and public policies that have altered the distribution and access to education Rothstein argues that the gap is more of an agenda. 19 Briefly define two perspectives on education and apply them to our own experience. Incorporate how gender, race, and SES shaped this experience. Conflict vs. functionalist Think about framing. Micro vs. Macro perspective 20 Briefly describe the McDonalization of education. What does this approach suggest about our present system of schooling and educational policy? McDonalization is a coin termed by Dr. Ritzer that refers to when cultures adapt the characteristics of a fast food restaurant. In this case McDonalds, the most famous fast food restaurant is used because it uses efficient and rationalized processes to function at a costeffective manner. This process of McDonaldization can be seen in the educational institutions today. The McDonaldization of education refers to producing as many graduates in an efficient and costeffective manner. This suggest that our present system of schooling and educational policy view students more as ‘consumers’ rather than students and the school is seen as an industry. Also there is a bigger emphasis on quantity than quality. Meaning, schools just aim to graduate as many students through this standardized system and it doesn’t stress on the quality of education that the students actually received. Grit and tracking: Growth mindset internal expectations and they are shaped by people around us Grit comes from the belief that they can do better Expectations and tracking shape their performance Persell structural factors vs. interactional factors Structure of exam: 1. Multiple choice 2. Short answer questions 3. Act like explaining it to someone who has NOT read the material 4. No percentage ONLY TRENDS 14 | P a g e
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