Sociology | Education & Society
S312 | 3758 | Garnier
Education consumes a large portion of the gross domestic product
(6.7% in the U.S. in 1995 all types of education ; 7% in Canada), it
socializes young people, trains future employees in many different
skills. In addition, higher education institutions are responsible
for a significant porition of all scientific research.
It is therefore not surprising that, in all countries, education is
the focus of much attention, usually to deplore some trend :
decreasing SAT scores in the US, inequality of access on the basis of
gender, social class, or ethnic membership, etc.
The goal of this course is to provide an understanding of how
education and society interrelate, i.e. how education is affected by
cultural, economic and political forces and how, in turn, education
The course focuses on American education, but we will discuss the
educational systems of other countries. Such a comparative
perspective makes it possible to see more clearly how social forces
In order to understand what forces shape American educational
institutions, we will first examine the problem of performance. Then,
we will turn our attention to several factors that may affect that
performance. Then, we will consider some of the intended and
unintended outcomes, in particular the claims made about the
contribution education makes to economic growth. Lastly, we will
examine some of the reforms that have been proposed.