Sociology | Education & Society
S312 | 12848 | Everitt

S312	Education & Society (3 CR)
12848	4:00PM-6:15PM	TR		

In both the United States and abroad, education has been the aspect
of society with the highest expectations.  Education has been
considered the remedy to almost any social problem one can imagine,
such as: preparing people for employment, creating good national
citizens, eliminating racial discrimination, alleviating poverty,
instilling good moral character, preventing the spread of disease,
strengthening local communities, minimizing teenage pregnancy,
integrating diverse cultures, adapting to technological change,
developing third-world countries, and the list could continue.
Simultaneously, education has been the aspect of society that has
drawn an enormous amount of criticism, such as: teachers are under-
qualified, standardized testing is horribly biased, schools fail to
teach strong moral values, students are apathetic and often
dangerous, black/white achievement gaps persist, schools fail to
promote cultural diversity, illiterate students are simply promoted
through the grades, getting bachelor's and graduate degrees does not
guarantee jobs, grade inflation is rampant, and this list could also
continue.  Given that so much is at stake in education, and that
there are so many apparent failures in education, we must ask
ourselves: Why do we entrust so much to a social institution which
we do not believe delivers on its promises?
We will spend our semester struggling with this question while
seeking answers from sociologists who have asked it, in various
ways, before.  Our chief goal for the course is to understand how
sociology offers a unique perspective on the problems and promises
of education.  Sociologists focus on the social processes that
affect both the means and ends of education.  Therefore, we will pay
particular attention to the social processes and consequences of
education for the multitudes of people engaged in it.