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Education/Sociology Paper

1. Education historian David Labraee writes: “Key to the institutional success [of American public education] has been its ability to embrace and embody the social goals that have been imposed upon it.” Elaborate on this claim in light of the Jeffersonian, Common School, and Progressive Eras in American public education history.

The success of any given education system can be evaluated by its ability to achieve the expected goals or objectives. The education system has been created with an aim of achieving specific goals to the students. The objectives put in place must be achieved to determine whether the goals have been achieved or not. David Labraee notes, “key to the institutional success (of American public education) has been its ability to embrace and embody the social goals that have been imposed upon it.” The American society has all along pinned their trust on the education system to inculcate social needs to the students as well as solve complex social challenges that might exist in the society. This claim can be elaborated using the progressive era, Jeffersonian and the common school in American history of public education.

Firstly, the progressive era insists the concept that the education system should emphasize more on experiences and interests of students. School aims, objectives, or goals should be geared towards achieving the social needs of the students. In addition, the education system should allow students to help in ameliorating and solving complex social challenges that might arise in the society (Stephen 45). This emphasizes on the social goals of the education therefore is part of the focus that every individual has to have in the society to achieve the overall goals of the American education system.


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Secondly, the Jeffersonian system emphasized more on educating all people since he thought that could be the only sure way of preserving liberty. However, according to him, there was no need to treat what is unequal as equal. In this case, he meant that, people should be given equal opportunities to be educated, but there are those who could be more educated than others (Stephen 31). This consequently gives rise to the capitalist society like the one experienced in the American society.

Thirdly, there is the common school. This was started with an aim of encouraging all people to attend school regardless of their social status. All people could attend this education. In addition, both boys and girls were expected to be treated equally. Furthermore, the parents of the children were encouraged to participate by knowing how the children were performing in school. This social participation was geared towards making the society a better place. This has been achieved over time.

Although the goals of the education system has been designed to ameliorate challenges, deal with existing inequalities as well as solve other existing social problems, there is a paradox in that, there  are upcoming social inequalities emanating from the capitalistic consequences.

2. A venerable cliché in education post-Progressive Era insists on teaching the “whole child—sometimes this can become an empty slogan. By briefly revisiting John Dewey’s “Pedagogic Creed,” show how this motto might be reinvigorated and become more viable.

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In the post progressive era, education was supposed to incorporate the needs of all groups. This was a solution to the quest that education had lost meaning. In this era, education is a solution to the injustices that are evident in the society. The aim of education was on how the students would make decisions and taking actions that would make a world a better place.

The post progressivism laid more emphasis on the social questions and the quest of a just society. The school of thought also championed on universal democracy for the whole world. Its curriculum mainly forecast on social reforms as the main education objective (Dewey 78).

However, the progressivism focused on the whole child rather than the content of the teacher. The child experience shaped the behavior, skills, and knowledge. It argues on learning from one’s experience. The work of the teacher is to create situation and environments that students should learn from them. Therefore, students are supposed to be positive thinkers and problem solvers. Major proponent of this school of thought was John Dewey who argued that the school should improve citizens’ ways of life through democracy and freedom in schools.

Both philosophical education foundation push for democracy in school, but there is no limit of the freedom. This has no defined meaning to a child development and acquisition of desired skills, knowledge, and attitude. For the slogan, “education that nurtures the whole child,” control aspect should be introduced in the curriculum. The student needs to be imparted with common knowledge that is of relevance in a certain level being introduced to the curriculum. This is because teachers who facilitate learning will open up in-active students.

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3. Demonstrate how, in view of Marxist scholars Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis, schools function according to a "correspondence principle" to ensure the process of social reproduction.

According to Marxist scholars, the school functioning coincides with a capitalist workforce. This is what is described as the correspondence principle. A school is structured in a hierarchy that is similar to organizations. Bowles and Gintis compare the head teacher with a manager where the school subordinate reports to him. This is comparison to internal capitalist organization where other workers reports to the manager of the company.

These reflections of the capitalist organization to a school set up broaden to the comparison between the workers and students. According to them, one would observe that capital companies the workers are on uniform and are paid less money compared to their seniors. Similarly, in a school set up the students are not considered for any pay.

They also argue that education only provides knowledge on how to interact in a work place set up. This prepares the behaviors of the students when they will get to a job market. The notion that one should be subjective of their seniors is what is nurtured in school according these economists.

In addition, they believe that education is used to control the workforce. The school environment does not offer equal chances to all students. According to them education give an edge in social differences and inequalities. They reject the idea that education gives equal chances to all students despite their background. This principle identifies the gap that the education system creates and its implication to social classes. Their argument is that education is the cause of social inequality.

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4. Explain the ways in which MacLeod adapts Pierre Bourdieu's theory of habitus and why this is important for understating varied student responses to schooling.


There are different factors that account for the success of the students in their process of learning. Macleod uses the theory of Pierre Bourdieu of habitus to explain some of the factors that played a role in the educational success of students. However, he identifies that there are diverse aspects that account for the success of the individuals. For instance, he says that three main aspects account for the success of the people in their education. According to his view, the social capital of the students is one of them. This is the same idea held by Pierre Bourdieu. He says that cultural capital, human capital and the education system structures play a significant role in determining the success of the students. He uses the example of hallway hangers and hallway brothers who were similar and even some lived in similar environments but ended up in different fields.

The different factors that face the students tend to influence their educational attitudes in school. For instance, social capital, which refers to the extent of the social attachment to an individual from the close members, plays a significant role in either boosting or reducing the interests of the students towards education. Human capital can be related to ideas like the Intelligent Quotient, which directly links up with the capability of the student in analyzing certain concepts. If students have low intelligent quotients, then they are likely to have a negative attitude towards school. If they have a high intelligent level, then they are likely to have a positive attitude towards school. There is the idea of cultural capital (Coleman 231). This is linked to the wealth of educative materials present in the society one lives in. This has a direct link in the way students perceive school. For example, those that come from places where the formal education is not emphasized might end up developing a poor attitude towards schooling while otherwise happens to those who come from regions that treat education with a lot of concern. In addition, the structures of the school might not be in line with the needs and interests of the students and therefore, might end up discouraging some of the students from continuing with their education. Some of the structures might emphasize democratic development (student-cantered) while others might emphasize on the social efficacy (economic centered) (Stephen 51). This will tend to attract the students in diverse ways. A combination of all these factors tend to influence the students attitude in diverse. This in turn is likely to influence the responses of many students.

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5. Explain and exemplify how language a historically, politically and socially located identity marker that affects life opportunities and educational achievement.

Language is normally used for communication from one individual to another. It is through communication that people are able to get opportunities in the community. Most of the children are taken to schools to gain autonomy. In addition, the powerful take their children to schools to maintain the status quo. The parents who have no or have less power in the society always have to ensure that their children get education and language codes that will ultimately allow them to become successful members of the society (Delpit 5).

From another insightful perspective, teachers should aim at being transformative agents (Giroux 48). They should use language skills that will allow the students to develop autonomy in their reasoning capacity. Giroux argues out that teachers are to be seen in their ideological and political interests that structure the conversation with their students. Teachers are social agents that influence the academic achievements of their students through the values that they legitimize.

In certain situations, certain students can be known to bear conversational skills yet they do not possess the academic skills. This means that, although they can communicate well with other people, they lack the most important academic skill required to attain the desired grade to pursue in their career life (Jims 244).

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In other cases, individuals who are not competent or proficient in speaking a specific language will be perceived to be illogical thinkers in certain social contexts. For instance, if a child is not able to speak fluent English language in America, he/she might be taken to be underdeveloped even academically (Jims 245). An individual who have not been able to cope with the language that other people seem to use can be perceived to mean that they have very low I.Q. This will keep them disadvantaged in their academic achievements, as they will not be recognized as competent learners or academicians.




The success of the students in schools is normally determined by diverse factors, which play a pivotal role. Schools require funding in order to assist in purchasing of the essential items required to sustain the needs of the students. However, it does not mean that the determinant of success in students portrayed in their results is limited to the level of funds that are put into the school. There can be internal factors and factors from the educational system that are likely to influence the results. There are other factors especially those that are social in nature that tends to influence the results of the school. For instance, the social class difference is one of the factors that are likely to influence the results.

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From the point of view of Macleod, there are different factors that play a significant role in determining the level of success that an individual is likely to achieve. He notes that some of the factors include the human capital, social capital and the structure of the schools (Coleman 232). These precise vital factors play a part in determining the results. For instance, the degree to which an individual is attached to his/ her relatives counts. For example, if the person is strongly linked to his/her kin’s, then he/she is likely to be motivated, and his/her self-esteem will be boosted.

In addition, the funding of the school might not actually be much helpful if the resources that are invested into the system are not used to develop the rightful kind of systems that will culminate into good results. For example, the school structures might act to discourage instead of encouraging students to work hard. One of the mistakes the school can create is emphasizing much on the social efficacy at the expense of democratic development (Stephen 51). In this case, students might be put into systems that force them to handle disciplines that are not in line with their interests. There might be much emphasis on the economic needs of the society at the expense of the needs and the interests of the students. This will undoubtedly act to lower the self-esteem of many students definitely leading to poor results.

Plato, in his “allegory of the cave” concept exemplifies a typical case where different people perceive nature in diverse ways. He considers free people as those who have been able to come from the cave and have seen the true light rather than the shadows of the reality (Elliot, 1967). Plato’s case will form a basis of giving ideas that will ultimately for the argument that there are more factors that play a role in the achievement than the finances.


Parent lack of concern of their children school performance can be caused by various factors. When a child school performance is not satisfactory to the parent, it demoralizes the motivation of the parent’s performance in the activities of the school. This causes a parent not interested on what his or her son does in school. For instance, if a child goes home each day without any homework or any other notable skill learned the parent may not value the education of his or her son or daughter.

The other reason why some parents are rarely seen at school is their perception about school. More often than not, one hears sediments like school made my life a living hell. Most of the people who give such information are adults. In a life time of these adults the school environments will never be pleasing to them. Nevertheless, they take their kids to school because it is a requirement by the law that every child has a right of education.

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Social status is another reason why most parents are less active in school activities. The charging dynamic of the planet earth causes many social problems. Using the progressivism idea that a child should be left to the environment to shape and he or she should learn from experiments, causes a lot of menace in parents’ participation in school affairs. Majority of the parents share this progressivism perception. Most parents are busy trying to make ends day meat thus there is minimal chances that such parents would actively participate in school affairs. Therefore, the teacher expectation should be much in a rapidly changing environment (Stephen 67).


Hirsch has some education concepts in this book. What should be included in the curricula is the matter on contention. Hirsch is of the idea of a wide education curriculum that entails all factors of a person life (Hirsch 42). Deborah’s argument on the other hand is more of support to social justice and social structures (Deborah 17). Deborah view the society needs based on sociological perspective which education is opted to archive. 

The students should be raised in a challenging environment to encourage mental growth (Hirsch 42). The idea of democracy is given a chance unlike Deborah’s view that students need direction that is imposed by the adults in the environment. Democracy in education is on the concept that student are privileged to choose what is of interest to them. The student own experiments as proposed by the progressives is considered in the curricula.

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Deborah emphasizes more of the social justice by education is purposed to foster for a just society. A society build on honesty and morals is a firm society not at verge of falling. Deborah’s view is what matters most in acquisition of desired knowledge, skills and attitude is the moral standards of the society (Deborah 17). However, Hirsch is of the idea that if the curriculum lays more emphasis on morality and the teacher as the source of all information there will be a decline in both economic and social growth. There will be monotony in at boredom of the aspect of education. This causes monotony and the student will not be able to be creative. Lack of innovation retards the social and economic growth (Hirsh 43).

Hirsch education point of view on the objective of education requires a wide curriculum because he is of the opinion of a wide curriculum that incorporates the needs of all. Deborah’s view is a shallow definite curriculum that the teacher determines the knowledge which is of most worth.


Definition of key terms

  1. Social capital- is the degree in which people are attached to their social agents in the society.
  2. Social efficacy- is a concept that emphasizes that the welfare of the society is more than that of the student.
  3. Human capital- capability of the individual towards his achievement in life.
  4. Democratic development- refers to a concept that emphasizes that the interests and the experiences of an individual is important than the society.



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