Tagged: sociology of education

Social Class, Social Mobility and English Elite Universities

Elizabeth M. Lee’s article Elite Colleges and Socioeconomic Status (Lee, 2013) in September’s Sociology Compass is a sophisticated exploration of why elite colleges’ demographics remain “largely homogenous across generations”. The UK also exhibits this, seemingly, symptom of a malfunctioning meritocracy. Former Prime Minister Sir John Major described Britain’s lack of social mobility as “truly shocking” and the current Foreign Secretary called it “disturbing” . It’s easy to see why; the upper echelons of our politics and culture are dominated by...

On Multicultural Centers and Class Discussions…

AJ shrugged when I asked him why he didn’t even mention the panel. He had been working on it since last semester. Yet during the class period when the very theme of his panel was central to the topic at hand in his upper-level Gender and Families seminar, AJ said nothing of his own work. He spoke, of course. And as usual, his teacher and his classmates seemed engaged in what he said. They nodded; they looked at him when...

Excellent Teaching…

Bill Gates’ address to the National Governor’s Association last month was an ode to excellent teaching. Except that it wasn’t. What we have to do, Gates chirped (to the tune of former DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee), is “measure, develop, and reward excellent teaching…We have to identify great teachers, find out what makes them so effective, and transfer those skills to others.” But excellent teaching –as sociologists Lori Dance (2002) and Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot (1984) have shown through their research,...

Wake Up and See the Carolina Blue: Color Blindness in Wake County, NC

“We have an achievement gap,” a Wake County, North Carolina School board member expounded during his Fall 2009 campaign. “One that is significant. 50% of our African American boys are dropping out. This drives up crime and societal costs. This is a skewed system that fails to adjust for the needs of children of poverty and in doing so we fail to challenge our most gifted or raise our most vulnerable. Too many of our children are falling behind.” The...