My Foundations of Education

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My Foundations of Education by Mind Map: My Foundations of Education

1. Politics of Education

1.1. The four purposes of education: 1. Intellectual --> To teach basic cognitive skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics; to transmit specific knowledge; and to help students acquire higher order thinking skills. 2. Political --> To teach students patriotism; to teach students how to participate in democracy; and to teach children the basic laws of our society 3. Social --> To help solve social problems; to help ensure social cohesion; and to socialize children into various roles, behaviors, and values of society. 4. Economic --> To prepare students for their later occupational roles and jobs; To directly train students for work in some cases, but sometimes the training is indirect.

1.2. The liberal perspective for the following: 1. Role of the school --> To provide all students with an equal opportunity to succeed in society; to balance the needs of society with the needs of the individual in a democratic manner. 2. Explanations of unequal performance --> Some students begin school with different life chances and therefore with significant advantages or disadvantages. Therefore, society through policies and programs must attempt to equalize the playing field. 3. Definition of education problems --> According to the liberal perspective, schools have too often limited the life chances of the poor and minority children; schools place too much emphasis upon discipline and authority; differences in urban and suburban schools or low and high socio economic status is a central problem related to educational inequality; and the traditional curriculum leaves out the diverse cultures of the groups that comprise the pluralistic society.

2. History of U.S. Education

2.1. I think the reforms of public education under Horace Mann were particularly important. He lead the struggle for free public education in the 1830s, and his annual reports as secretary of the Massachusetts state board of education became models for public school reforms throughout the nation. He argued for the establishment of the common school, or free publicly funded elementary schools. He understood school in very much the same way that I do, as preparation for citizenship. He said that education was the "balance wheel"--"the great equalizer of the conditions of men."

2.1.1. Another reform movement that perhaps has had the greatest influence on modern education was the standards era (1980s-2012), following the cycles of pedagolical progressivism and traditionalism. My generation is very much a product of these reforms back toward traditionalism. The following solutions for the general decline in U.S. education were offered during this time: "1. All students graduating from high school complete what was termed the "new basics"--four years of English, three years of mathematics, three years of science, three years of social studies, and a half year of computer science; 2. Schools at all levels expect higher achievement from their students and that four-year colleges and universities raise their admission requirements; 3. That more time be devoted to teaching the new basics; 4. That the preparation of teachers be strengthened and that teaching be made a more respected and rewarded profession; 5. That citizens require their elected representatives to support and fund these reforms" (Exploring Education, 81). Another important result of this time period was the goal of education to balance equity and excellence.

2.2. The Historical Interpretation of the Democratic-Liberal School: They believe essentially that the history of U.S. education involves the progressive evolution of a school system committed to providing equality of opportunity for all. This brings to mind our constitutional right as Americans living in the U.S. for "the pursuit of happiness." No matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, etc, people deserve equal opportunity to become educated and to pursue happiness and success. This is an optimistic interpretation of education, and although the progress of U.S. education has been flawed, Democratic-Liberals emphasize the popularization and multitudinousness or diversity of U.S. education. In other words, our education system should provide a place for everyone and eventually produced one of the most educated populations of the world. Democratic-Liberals believe that there is tension between equity and excellence, but we must continue moving closer to each without sacrificing one or the other too dramatically.

3. Sociological Perspectives

3.1. Theoretical perspectives explaining the relationship between school and society: 1. Functionalism --> Functionalism stresses the interdependence of the social system. In other words, functionalism examines how well the parts are integrated with each other. A society basically functions like a machine, in which the parts work together to create the dynamic energy of society. Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) believed that education was necessary in virtually all societies to create the moral unity necessary for social cohesion and harmony. Functionalists consider consensus in education to be the normal state of society and conflict represents the breakdown of shared values. Educational reform from a functionalist point of view should cease structures, programs, and curricula that are technically advanced, rational, and encourage social unity.

3.1.1. 2. Conflict Theories --> Some sociologists claim that the social order is based upon the ability of dominant groups to impose their will on subordinate groups through force, cooptation, and manipulation. In this view the glue of society is economic, political, cultural, and military power. Conflict sociologists emphasize struggles in education, rather than social cohesion to explain social order. From a conflict perspective schools are like battlefields where students struggle with teachers, teachers struggle with administrators, and so on. Achievement ideology disguises power relations within the school, which convinces students and teachers that schools promote learning, and sort and select students according to their abilities. Karl Marx is the intellectual founder of the conflict school of sociology, although he did not write much about education. For example, there is direct correlation between the organization of schools and society, which is a type of class struggle from a Marxist perspective. Max Weber (1862-1920) was convinced that power relations between the dominant and subordinate groups structured societies, but these differences alone could not capture the complex ways human beings form hierarchies and belief systems. Researchers in this tradition tend to analyze school organizations and processes from the point of view of status competition and organizational constraints.This perspective also sees educational credentials, such as a college degree as a status symbol rather than an actual intellectual achievement. This suggests the rise of credentials is not indicating that society is becoming more expert, but instead education is increasingly being used for dominant groups to secure advantages for themselves in society. This lens basically examines how communication, families, and educational codes contribute to social and educational inequalities.

3.1.1.1. 3. Interactional Theories --> These theories are primarily critiques and extensions of functional and conflict theories. The criticism comes from the fact that functional and conflict theories are very abstract and emphasize structure and process at general levels of analysis. This hardly provides an accurate picture of what schools are like on an everyday level. Basil Bernstein (1990) emphasized that the structural aspects of the educational system and the interactional aspects reflect each other and must be viewed  holistically. For example, students speech patterns reflect their social class/background, and their social class/background maybe at a disadvantage because schools are essentially middle-class organizations. This example links language with education processes and outcomes.

3.2. 5 effects of schooling upon individuals as explained by the text: 1. Knowledge and Attitudes --> Nobody argues that schools have no impact on student development. More highly educated people are more likely to be liberal in their political and social attitudes. Education is also related to individual's sense of well-being and self-esteem. More years of schooling generally leads to greater knowledge and social participation.  2. Employment --> Graduating from college leads to greater employment opportunities. Getting a college and professional degree is important for earning more money, but education alone does not fully explain differences in levels of income. 3. Mobility --> Social mobility begins at the school house door. Education can be thought of as "the great equalizer," because anyone regardless of social class, race, or gender has the ability to advance their social status and better themselves through education. Individuals can rise and fall based upon their merit. The idea that education opens the doors of opportunity is firmly embedded in the American ethos. 4. Socialization --> Students learn the values of their society and culture through schools, which sort and select students and, in doing so, reproduce society.   5. Inequality --> Unfortunately, as schools socialize students, schools also reproduce social, cultural, and economic inequalities. Class position creates selective perception which, in turn, creates a world view that "explains" inequalities. Ideology, then, grows out of the class system and reinforces the class system through beliefs that justify or condemn the status quo. People are stratified by class, race, ethnicity, age, religion, and gender. In other words, Americans live in a hierarchical society where mobility is blocked because of structural inequalities that have little or nothing to do with individuals' merits or abilities.

4. Philosophy of Education

4.1. Existentialism is an example of a student-centered philosophy of education. 1. Generic notions --> Existentialism is an  individualistic philosophy, in which people create themselves and their own meaning. Choices are up to an individual. The amount of freedom and responsibility that people have is awesome, and people can make a difference in a seemingly absurd world according to Jean Paul Sartre. 2. Key researchers --> Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1986), Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Martin Buber (1878-1965), and Karl Jaspers (1883-1969). 3. Goal of education --> Existentialists believe education should focus upon the needs of individuals. They think education should stress individuality, and education should include discussion of both the rational and irrational world, as well as tensions of the living world such as anxiety generated through conflict. They see education as an activity that liberates individuals from a chaotic absurd world. 4. Role of the teacher --> Teachers should understand their own "lived worlds" as we all as that of their students to help their students achieve the best "lived worlds" they can. Teachers should take risks, expose themselves to resistant students, and work constantly with them to enable their students to become, in Greene's (1978) words, "wide awake."

4.1.1. 5. Methods of Instruction for an existentialist teacher --> They view learning as intensely personal. They believe that each child has a different learning style and the teacher must discover what works best for each child. The role of the teacher is to help students understand the world through posing questions, generating activities, and working together with students. 6. Curriculum --> Existentialists would choose curriculum heavily biased toward the humanities. For example, literature especially has meaning for existentialists because it is able to evoke responses in readers that might move them to new levels of awareness. Art, drama, and music also encourage personal interaction. Existentialists believe students should be exposed to problems as well as possibilities, and to the horrors as well as accomplishments of humankind.

5. Schools as Organizations

5.1. Major stakeholders in my district (Limestone County/Athens, AL): 1. State senators--Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions (U.S. Senators) Tim Melson, Bill Holtzclaw, and Arthur Orr (State senators). 2. House of Representatives--Mo Brooks (U.S. Representative) and Danny Crawford (State representative). 3. Alabama Sate Superintendent--Michael Sentance. 4. State school board representative (district 8)--Mary Scott Hunter. 5. Local Superintendent (Athens City Schools)--Dr. W.L. "Trey" Holladay, III. 6. Local School board--Mr. Russell Johnson, Mrs. Beverly Malone, Dr. Chris Paysinger, Mrs. Jennifer Manville, and Mr. James Lucas.

5.2. Elements of change within school processes and school cultures: In the late 1970s, the U.S. Department of Education was founded. During the era of presidents Regan and Bush, the U.S. Department of Education served to define the crisis in education and to provide blueprints for the resolutions of these crises. K-12 public education is estimated to cost over $650 billion annually.  In the last 80 years there has been a considerable amount of consolidation and centralization in U.S. public education. The composition of U.S. schools is becoming more diverse while there has been a trend toward increasing residential segregation. Schools are also stratified according to wealth and the income of their student bodies. U.S. public schools are generally designed to give students many opportunities for advancement, and the system is quite open by entitling all young people to enroll into public school and remain in school until they graduate.

5.2.1. Schools are "social organisms" according to Willard Waller. Because schools are so deeply political, effecting change within them is very difficult. For example, teachers represented through their unions have a great deal to say about the conditions of their employment, but local school board members often struggle with teachers in terms of pay, productivity, and professional standards. Many of these conflicts are resolved through negotiations, because schools are bureaucracies. Schools as they are structured now are shaped by a series of inherent contradictions that develop cultures that are conflictual and even stagnant. Changing the cultures of schools requires patience, skill, and good will. Conflict is a necessary part of change, and efforts to democratize schools do not create conflicts but allow previously hidden problems, issues, and disagreements to surface. Change requires new relationships and behaviors, which means building communication and trust to allow collaboration and conflict resolution. Team building must extend to the entire school to prevent imagined elitism. In other words, changing the culture of a school in order to make it more learner centered requires time, effort, intelligence, and good will. In general there has been an increased demand for new teachers in the first decade of the twenty-first century, because of an aging teaching force and attrition rate of approximately 40% in the first 5 years of teaching. The No Child Left Behind Law mandates that states require all teachers to be highly qualified.

6. Curriculum and Pedagogy

6.1. The humanist theory of curriculum advocates the essentialist ideal of traditional liberal arts being the corner stone of education. This fits best with my essentialist view of teaching the basic skills of mathematics. Students should study english, mathematics, foreign languages, and sciences in order to be citizens with Western cultural literacy.

6.2. The Mimetic tradition of teaching believes the purpose of education is to transmit specific knowledge to students, and the best method to do this is through the didactic method (authoritative) of teaching with emphasis upon measurable assessment.

6.2.1. The transformative tradition of teaching strives to make the students different then they were before. The purpose of transformative education is to change the student in a meaningful way, and they reject the authoritarian relationship between teachers and students. Although lecture maybe used, the dialectical method with questions and discussions is the core of its methodology.

7. Equality of Opportunity

7.1. Educational outcomes are impacted by the following: 1. class, 2. race, and 3. gender.

7.1.1. 1. Class: Students in different social classes have different educational experiences. Education is extremely expensive. Obviously this situation favors wealthier families. Working class and underclass families often have lower expectations for their children to finish school. There is a direct correlation between parental income and children's performance on achievement tests, as well as placement in ability groups and curriculum track in high school. Studies have also shown that class is related to achievement on reading tests and basic skills tests. In conclusion, social class and level of educational attainment are highly correlated. This finding represents a challenge to those who believe in equality of opportunity.

7.1.1.1. 2. Race: Regardless of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, U.S. society is still highly stratified by race. An individual's race has a direct impact on how much education he or she is likely to achieve. Minorities have, on average, lower SAT scores than white students. Of course there is a direct link between SAT scores and admission to college. Race is undeniably related to educational outcomes. Minority students simply receive fewer and inferior educational opportunities than white students. Explanations as to why minorities underachieve compared to whites vary. One simple explanation would be that minorities do not receive the same educational opportunities as whites, and their rewards for educational attainment are significantly less. The continued stratification by race in the modern U.S. is a significant challenge to those who believe in equality of opportunity.

7.1.1.1.1. 3. Gender: Historically, an individual's gender was directly related to his or her educational attainment. In the past, women were less likely to attain the same level of education as men. Today, females are less likely to drop out of school than males, and females are more likely to have a higher level of reading proficiency than males. The only area where males outperform females is in mathematics proficiency. There are various explanations as to why males outperform females in mathematics, but the problem may be related to the behavior of classroom teachers who tend to assume that females will not do as well as males in mathematics (a classroom example of stratification by gender). In general, over the past 20 years, gender differences between men and women in terms of educational attainment have been reduced. There is little doubt that U.S. society discriminates against women occupationally and socially, and therefore gender is yet another challenge to those of us who believe in equality of opportunity.

7.2. Responses to The Coleman Study (1982): 1. The differences that do exist between public and Catholic schools are statistically significant, but in terms of significant differences in learning, the results are negligible (from Alexander and Pallas). Subsequent studies have also found that private schools seem to "do it better," particularly for low-income students (from Chubb, Moe, Bryk, Lee, and Holland). Catholic schools seem to advantage low-income minority students, especially in urban areas. They are also becoming more elite and therefore like suburban public schools. Given this trend, it will be interesting to see if Catholic schools continue to serve the poor.

7.2.1. 2. Where an individual goes to school is often related to his or her race and socioeconomic background, but the racial and socioeconomic composition of a school has a greater effect on student achievement than an individual's race and class (from Borman and Dowling). They argue that race and class are predictors of academic success. However, Borman and Dowling break away from Coleman's 1966 argument that schools don't matter. Instead, they claim that school segregation based on race and socioeconomic status and within school interactions dominated by middle-class values are largely responsible for gaps in student achievement. Therefore education reform must focus on eliminating the high level of segregation that remains in the U.S. education system and schools must bring an end to tracking systems and biases that favor white and middle-class students.

8. Educational Inequality

8.1. Cultural Deprivation Theories: Popularized in the 1960s, cultural deprivation theories suggest that working-class and nonwhite families often lack the cultural resources, such as books and other educational stimuli, and thus arrive at school at a significant disadvantage. Cultural deprivation theorists assert that poor people have a deprived culture, which lacks the value system of middle-class culture. The culture of poverty avoids delayed gratification and instead seeks immediate reward, rejects hard work and initiative as a means to success, and does not view schooling as the means to social mobility. According to cultural deprivation theorists such as Deutsch (1964), this deprivation results in educationally disadvantaged students who achieve poorly because they have not been raised to acquire the skills and dispositions required for satisfactory academic achievement (Dougherty & Hammack, 1990, p. 341). Based on this, policy makers have tried to develop programs aimed at family environments of working-class and nonwhite students. Compensatory programs are based on the assumption that because of the cultural and familial deprivation faced by poor students, the schools must provide and environment that makes up for lost time.

8.1.1. School-Centered Explanations: School-centered explanations suggest that school processes are central to understanding unequal educational performance. 1. School Financing: Johnathan Kozol (1991), in his book Savage Inequalities, compared public schools in affluent suburbs with public schools in poor inner cities. He documented the vast differences in funding between affluent and poor districts, and called for equalization in school financing. To comprehend why these inequalities exist, it is important to consider the way in which public schools are financed in the United States. The majority of funds come from state and local taxes, with local property taxes a significant sources. Property taxes are based on the value of local property and therefore is a proportional tax. Since property values are higher in more affluent areas, these communities are able to raise significantly more money for schools through taxes than poor communities with lower property values. Thus, more affluent communities are able to provide more per-pupil spending than poorer districts.

8.1.1.1. 2. School Climates: There are significant differences between the culture and climate of schools in lower socioeconomic and higher socioeconomic communities. Schools in working-class neighborhoods are far more likely to have authoritarian and teacher-directed pedagogic practice, and to have a vocationally or social efficiency curriculum at the secondary level. Whereas schools in middle-class communities are more likely to have less authoritarian and more student-centered pedagogic practices and to have a humanistic liberal arts college preparatory curriculum at the secondary level. And upper-class students are more likely to attend elite private schools, with authoritarian pedagogic practices and a classical-humanistic college preparatory curriculum at the secondary level. Bowles and Gintis claim that the type of schooling corresponds to the social class of students in a particular school, with such differences a vehicle for socializing students from different social class backgrounds to their different places in society.

8.1.1.1.1. 3. Curriculum and Ability Grouping: At the secondary school level, students are divided both by ability and curriculum, with different groups of students receiving considerably different types of education within the same school. There is a lot of debate among educators and researchers about the necessity, effects, and efficacy of tracking. From a functionalist perspective, tracking is viewed as an important mechanism by which students are separated based on ability to ensure the "best and brightest" receive the type of education required to prepare them for society's most essential positions. The important thing for functionalists is to ensure that track placement is fair and meritocratic, based on ability and hard work. However, conflict theorists suggest that tracking is a mechanism for separating groups, often based upon ascriptive characteristics, and that it is an important mechanism in reproducing inequalities.

9. Educational Reform

9.1. Two school-based reforms: 1. School-Business Partnerships: During the 1980s, business leaders became concerned that the nation's schools were not producing the kind of graduates necessary for revitalization of the U.S. economy. Therefore, several school-business partnerships were formed. Over the past decade a group of foundations and entrepreneurs have contributed significantly to educational reforms, most often of the neo-liberal variety. For example, the Walton foundation has funded charter schools and voucher initiatives. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to small schools and more recently to teacher effectiveness. Also Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook contributed $100 million to improve education in Newark, New Jersey. School-business partnerships have attracted considerable media attention, but there is little convincing evidence that they have significantly improved schools or that, as a means of reform, school-business partnerships will address the fundamental problems challenging U.S. education.

9.1.1. 2. Privatization: Since the 1990s, the distinction between public and private education has become blurred. Private education companies have become increasingly more involved in public education in a variety of ways. For-profit companies, such as the Edison Company, took over the management of failing schools and districts. The Philadelphia Public schools, taken over by the state of Pennsylvania in 2003 due to low student achievement, hired for-profit companies, including Edison, as well as local universities, to manage its schools. For-profit companies, such as Kaplan and Sylvan Learning Centers, have the majority of contacts for supplemental tutoring under NCLB. It is too early to access the efficacy of such privatization, but it is clear that corporations see the multi-billion-dollar education industry as a lucrative market.

9.2. Two societal, economic, community or political reforms: 1. State Intervention and Mayoral Control in Local School Districts: State policy makers are increasingly directing their attention to how to reward schools and districts that perform well and how to sanction those that do not. As of 2000, 38 states had some form of reward or sanctions in place. Some systems include school or district takeover as ultimate accountability measures. As of 2000, 23 states have enacted authorizing their state education agencies to take control of school districts from local authorities in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolinas Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. Another popular reform method is mayoral control of urban districts. Similar to state takeover, mayoral control has been a favored neo-liberal reform, with urban mayors and business leaders arguing that centralizing governance into the mayor's office is more effective and efficient than traditional elected school boards. Proponents argue that mayoral control eliminates corruption, leads to effective and efficient management, increases student achievement, and reduces political battles from elected school boards. Critics argue that it has not increased achievement significantly, and instead it has reduced community and parental involvement.

9.2.1. 2. School Finance Reforms: In general these educational reforms have demonstrated the potential to improve schools for low-income and minority children, especially in urban areas, but by themselves they are limited in reducing the achievement gaps unless they also address the factors outside of schools responsible for educational inequalities. In addition to school-based programs, such as early childhood programs, summer programs, and after-school programs, Rothstein (2004b, pp. 129-150) calls for economic programs to reduce income inequality and to create stable and affordable housing, and the expansion of school-community clinics to provide health care and counseling. He also warns that although school finance suits are necessary to ensure that all children receive an adequate education, without addressing the economic forces outside of schools they will not be sufficient. In conclusion, Rothstein and Anyon both conclude, school reform is necessary but insufficient to reduce the achievement gaps without broader social and economic policies aimed at addressing the pernicious effect of poverty.