Some policymakers suggest that schools are becoming less stratified (streamed) overall as educational systems focus on preparing students for knowledge economies. Discuss your interpretation of the validity of this statement
Some policymakers claim that “schools are becoming less stratified” since they are concerned with preparing youth “for the knowledge economy” (Taylor and Krahn 103). Nevertheless, research implemented in the 2000s suggests that the process of de-stratification is quite slow and requires a lot of attention from educators and policymakers. More so, even though several reforms aimed at de-stratification took place in Canada, covert forms of streaming (stratification) are still present in the sphere of education. However, it is necessary to point out that existing covert streaming can be helpful since it reveals primary issues that should be solved to achieve progress in de-stratification.
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In the first half of the 20th century, streaming was regarded as the best way to achieve learning and teaching objectives, since students could be grouped by their abilities and longings (Taylor and Krahn 106). Interestingly, educators are still more likely to support the streaming of schools which enables them to improve their results (Taylor and Krahn 118). However, in the second half of the 20th century, people became concerned with the fact that such a system led to inequality. For instance, it was argued that students from wealthier families had more opportunities (Taylor and Krahn 107). At the beginning of the 21st century, the debates are not over.
Even though many people agree that de-stratification is necessary and corresponding reforms took place, education in Canada is characterized by covert streaming. According to Taylor and Krahn students’ “academic placement is strongly related to parents’ education and family income” (117). Thus, students whose parents obtained higher education are much more likely to get it as well. Students whose family income is quite high have more opportunities since they can afford additional courses to prepare for entering the higher educational establishment. It is important to note that, as a rule, parents who have a higher education have a higher income.
On the other hand, students whose families’ income is not high are likely to form another group of students who obtain vocational training or even have only secondary education. Taylor and Krahn report that this group consists of Canada born students and students coming from families of immigrants (114). Immigrants appear in this group due to their socioeconomic status. These families have low incomes, so they have fewer opportunities. Interestingly, streaming is based primarily on the socio-economical status of families and such factors as gender or ethnicity do not influence the process.
On balance, it is clear that streaming did not cease to exist when reforms aimed at de-stratification were launched. However, it is important to note that the process of de-stratification is gradually taking place in secondary education and it is slowly moving towards higher education (Taylor and Krahn 118). Admittedly, there are many issues to be solved to diminish covert streaming in the sphere of education.
For instance, one of the major factors contributing to streaming is the socio-economical status of families. Therefore, when working out effective strategies aimed at de-stratification it is necessary to take into account this factor as well. Thus, it is possible to claim that schools have become less stratified as compared to the middle of the 20th century, but they are not de-stratified enough to prepare students for the so-called knowledge economy.
“Theory of the Body” material suggests that when school rules conflict with student values, students resist through bodily actions i.e. they embody their resistance
Students have to follow certain rules of conduct to fit the values of the school. In the majority of cases, these rules are based on middle-class values and shared by many students. Nevertheless, there are some rules which conflict with young people’s values. In these cases students resist the rules, i.e. they break these rules. When considering examples of students’ resistance in terms of social conflict, it is possible to claim that young people resist the system. However, some researchers draw quite unexpected conclusions.
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First, it is necessary to define what rules are. For instance, Foucault regards power as “something that is enacted by all of us… in the ways we discipline ourselves and others” (Raby 126). However, this process is always characterized by resistance. Therefore, rules accepted at schools are based on values shared by the majority of people living in the community. However, young people often challenge some rules because these conventions are considered to restrict young people’s freedom. Young people claim that some rules (e.g. dress codes) do not let students express their personalities and reveal their creativity.
For example, in Texas students of a school found their school uniforms uncomfortable and resisted the rule by “wearing their shirts untucked and they’re pants low” (Raby 130). In the majority of schools worldwide girls often like to stress their sexuality. As far as other rules are concerned it is necessary to point out that students often resist rules regulating their attendance. For instance, many students find them inappropriate since students may have different reasons for not being able to attend classes or some other activities, so these rules are often regarded as a violation of student’s human rights (Raby 133).
Interestingly, many rules are followed and regarded as simple and necessary rules to follow. Thus, many girls approve dress codes stating that some girls dress inappropriately and this makes the former feel uneasy (Raby 131). As for rules concerning expressing affection, the majority of young people agree that “deep throat tonguing” is inappropriate in school (Raby 132). The fact that only some rules evoke resistance is remarkable and can be the necessary background for a more precise analysis of social resistance.
Admittedly, the majority of scholars regard social resistance as a logic rebel caused by a difference in values. Reputedly, students resist rules due to the peculiarities of the young people’s values, or even, more precisely, due to the reactions caused by hormones. However, some scholars suggest that young people have desires and needs which are manifested in many generations, but irrespective of these needs there are rules which try to suppress these desires (Raby 137).
Therefore, rules are regarded as a kind of rebel against natural needs. When considering the issues concerning school rules from this perspective it is possible to point out that students only try to obtain the opportunity to behave in a more natural way which corresponds to the needs of young people. Thus, educators should reconsider some rules which conflict with students’ values.
In conclusion, school rules are often appreciated by the majority of students. They are regarded as adequate and necessary. However, some rules conflict with students’ values. When considering the issue from different perspectives it is possible to conclude that some rules should be rethought since they do not promulgate some values, but they are rather aimed at suppressing the natural needs of young people.
Raby, Rebecca. “School Rules, Bodily Discipline, Embodied Resistance.” Ed.Cynthia Levine-Rasky, Canadian Perspectives on the Sociology of Education. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2009. 125-140.
Taylor, Alison, & Harvey Krahn. “Streaming in/for the New Economy.” Ed.Cynthia Levine-Rasky, Canadian Perspectives on the Sociology of Education. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2009. 103-123.