Chapter 16. Education
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Figure 16.1. Filmmaker Victor Masayesva teaches about Hopi Indian culture in an aboriginal studies class at Point Grey Secondary, Vancouver. Schools teach us far more than reading, writing, và arthimetic. They also socialize us to lớn cultural norms & expectations. (Photo lớn courtesy of Victor Masayesva/flickr)

Learning Objectives

16.1. Education around the World

Identify differences in educational resources around the worldDescribe the concept of universal access lớn education

16.2. Theoretical Perspectives on Education

Define manifest & latent functions of educationExplain and discuss how functionalism, conflict theory, feminism, and interactionism view issues of education

Introduction lớn Education

From the moment a child is born, his or her education begins. At first, education is an informal process in which an infant watches others and imitates them. As the infant grows inlớn a young child, the process of education becomes more formal through play dates and preschool. Once in grade school, academic lessons become the focus of education as a child moves through the school system. But even then, education is about much more than the simple learning of facts.

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Our education system also socializes us to lớn our society. We learn cultural expectations & norms, which are reinforced by our teachers, our textbooks, and our classmates. (For students outside the dominant culture, this aspect of the education system can pose significant challenges.) You might rethành viên learning your multiplication tables in grade 2 & also learning the social rules of taking turns on the swings at recess. You might reCall learning about the Canadian parliamentary process in a social studies course as well as learning when and how to lớn speak up in class.

Schools can be agents of change or conformity, teaching individuals lớn think outside of the family và the local norms inlớn which they were born, while at the same time acclimatizing them to lớn their tacit place in society. They provide students with skills for communication, social interaction, và work discipline that can create pathways khổng lồ both independence và obedience.

In terms of socialization, the modern system of mass education is second only khổng lồ the family in importance. It promotes two main socializing tasks: homogenization and social sorting. Students from diverse backgrounds learn a standardized curriculum that effectively transforms diversity into homogeneity. Students learn a comtháng knowledge base, a comtháng culture, & a common sense of society’s official priorities, and perhaps more importantly, they learn to locate their place within it. They are provided with a unifying framework for participation in institutional life và at the same time are sorted into lớn different paths. Those who demonstrate facility within the standards established by curriculum or through the informal patterns of status differentiation in student social life are mix on trajectories to lớn high-status positions in society. Those who vì less well are gradually confined khổng lồ lower, subordinate positions in society. Within the norms established by school curriculum & teaching pedagogies, students learn from a very early age khổng lồ identify their place as A, B, C, etc. level vis-à-vis their classmates. In this way, schools are profound agencies of normalization.

16.1. Education around the World

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Figure 16.2. These children are at a library in Singapore, where students are outperforming North American students on worldwide tests. (Photo lớn courtesy of kodomut/flickr)

Education is a social institution through which a society’s children are taught basic academic knowledge, learning skills, và cultural norms. Every nation in the world is equipped with some form of education system, though those systems vary greatly. The major factors affecting education systems are the resources và money that are utilized khổng lồ support those systems in different nations. As you might expect, a country’s wealth has much to lớn bởi vì with the amount of money spent on education. Countries that do not have sầu such basic amenities as running water are unable to lớn tư vấn robust education systems or, in many cases, any formal schooling at all. The result of this worldwide educational inechất lượng is a social concern for many countries, including Canada.

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International differences in education systems are not solely a financial issue. The value placed on education, the amount of time devoted to it, and the distribution of education within a country also play a role in those differences. For example, students in South Korea spend 220 days a year in school, compared to lớn the 190 days (180 days in Quebec) a year of their Canadian counterparts. Canadian students between the ages of 7 and 14 spend an average of 7,363 hours in compulsory education compared khổng lồ an average of 6,710 hours for all thành viên countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation và Development (OECD) countries (Statistics Canadomain authority 2012). As of 2012, Canada ranked first aao ước OECD countries in the proportion of adults aged 25 to 64 with post-secondary education (51 percent). Canadomain authority ranked first with students with a college education (24 percent) & eighth in the proportion of adults with a university education (26 percent). However, with respect to post-secondary educational attainment of 25- to 34-year-olds, Canada falls inkhổng lồ 15th place as post-secondary education attainment rates in countries lượt thích South Korea và Irelvà have sầu been surpassing Canadomain authority by a large margin in recent years (OECD 2013).

Then there is the issue of educational distribution within a nation. In December 2010, the results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests, which are administered to 15-year-old students worldwide, were released. Those results showed that students in Canada performed well in reading skills (5th out of 65 countries), math (8th out of 65 countries), và science (7th out of 65 countries) (Knighton, Brochu, and Gluszynski 2010). Students at the top of the rankings hailed from Shangnhị, Finlvà, Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The United States on the other hand was 17th in reading skills và had fallen from 15th khổng lồ 25th in the rankings for science and math (National Public Radio 2010).

Analysts determined that the nations and city-states at the top of the rankings had several things in common. For one, they had well-established standards for education with clear goals for all students. They also recruited teachers from the top 5 to 10 percent of university graduates each year, which is not the case for most countries (National Public Radio 2010).

Finally, there is the issue of social factors. One analyst from the OECD, the organization that created the kiểm tra, attributed đôi mươi percent of performance differences & the United States’ low rankings khổng lồ differences in social background. Canadian students’ average scores were high over all but were also highly equitable, meaning that the difference in performance between high scorers và low scorers was relatively low (Knighton, Brochu, và Gluszynski 2010). This suggests that differences in educational expenditure between jurisdictions & in the socioeconomic background of students are not so great as lớn create large gaps in performance. However, in the United States, researchers noted that educational resources, including money và unique teachers, are not distributed equitably. In the top-ranking countries, limited access khổng lồ resources did not necessarily predict low performance. Analysts also noted what they described as “resilient students,” or those students who achieve sầu at a higher level than one might expect given their social background. In Shanghai và Singapore, the proportion of resilient students is about 70 percent. In the United States, it is below 30 percent. These insights suggest that the United States’ educational system may be on a descending path that could detrimentally affect the country’s economy and its social landscape (National Public Radio 2010).

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