Apart from the transmission of academic knowledge and skills, school education serves other fundamental functions in our lives. Whenever we think of the role or function of schools, our minds mostly run to the manifest functions of the school and forget to think about other gains such as how we learn to interact and the transmission of cultural values and norms (Long-Crowell, 2003). Schools usually have other functions such as learning of social skills, teaching, and transfer of culture, integration, and innovation among other latent functions i.e. functions that do not readily come to mind, but are very crucial in our development. School education is very crucial in every society since it is what lays the foundation which every society needs to succeed.
Schools prepare young people for adulthood, providing young minds with the necessary tools required to take up leadership positions in future (Tribune, 2001). As such, I totally concur with the arguments of Jean Anyon in her essay Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work. From her arguments in the essay, indeed, there is a need for different stakeholders in the society to rethink how we design different education programs if we as a nation, as a society, as people want to guarantee a better future for the next crop of generation. Without proper education for children, a nation will count to nothing.
In her essay, Jean Anyons main argument surrounds the idea that childrens education is usually determined by the community where there they live in and also the community in which their schools are established. This way, through the essay, people and especially the relevant stakeholders who are involved in the design of education programs for children are made aware that children are indeed receiving unequal education, and this inequality is a serious social challenge that needs to be addressed (Escamilla, 2013). In particular, the purpose of the essay is to inform, the parents and the professional educators of the rot in the education system. The scholastic planning of the education system is biased along socioeconomic status something which is affecting and the advancement and education of the American children. As such, there is need of dire reforms in the system. The deductions made in the essay are all based on research which she did across several schools in New Jersey and other scholarly articles from other authors.
Jeans essay criticizes the education curriculum which she says is biased along social classes. From her study, the behaviors of teachers and students agreed with her theory of hidden curriculum. In the essay, Anyon studies the course work and the relationship between teachers and students across five elementary schools located in different communities with different socioeconomic status. The goal of her study is to gather and compare evidence of the difference in school work in schools within the different social backgrounds. Her methodology of data collection involves observation, interviews of teachers, students, parents and school principals and assessment of the learning curriculum amongst other teaching materials used in class (Senak, 2009). The study is done across five different schools set in different communities based on their social status.
The result of the study was spot on, of the factors which have contributed to the perpetual maintenance if not an increasing the gap between the rich and the poor. According to Anyon, the hidden curriculum of schools work has been responsible for the reason why children have been unable to break the glass ceiling and remained within their social class. Children from the working class, whose parents were lacked proper skills or were semiskilled, only focused on following steps of procedures. Very little was done to enrich their knowledge on what informs how things work. The goal of their education was to check whether they had mastered procedures to be followed to get work done. The educations objective of children from the middle-class i.e. children of skilled and well-paid laborers was on how to get the right answer. This was an improvement compared to the previous class i.e. the working class. However, the issue of choice and power to make decisions was not passed to students in this class. The education of children from upper middle class focused on how children could express their thoughts and ideas. Children were allowed a certain level of independent decision making. The focus was on not the how activity was being done but on the what was being done. Lastly, education of the children from the executive elite school focused on developing the students analytical and intellectual abilities. Children were mostly given problems and then challenged to reason and encouraged to bring forward their best.
From the different education set up, we see that whatever children were taught were a reflection of their community preparing these children to take up the professions of their parents and maintaining the status quo. This is what is referred to as the hidden curriculum of school work. As the social class of community advanced so did the quality of education. Things such as the abundance and variety of education material improved through the societies. The quality of education provided by teachers in the higher society was very superior to the quality of education provided to children at the end of social and economic status.
The hidden curriculum as expressed in the essay, is representative of what is happening across several educational setups across the world. Children from low social statuses are usually prepared to routine work, given that, their education focus is normally on how to follow procedures. Middle-class children are usually prepared for the white-collar jobs since their education the professional children, on the other hand, are usually prepared to become professional while the Executive children are usually prepared to take the ultimate risk and the necessary skills needed for leadership and control of capital assets.
In as much as other academicians and scholars have made related inferences as Anyon, Anyons work was so elaborate as it involved an actual yearlong survey and investigation of the matters in discussion. The essay provided a well-balanced practical support of the argument on hidden curriculum and went further to illustrate real examples of the difference in students class work across the different social class neighborhoods. Though the article is based on a theoretical social-class analysis approach, the supportive evidence brought by the actual assessment of student work adds credibility to the conclusion reached. This is an article which can be relied on to bring change across the country.
One could argue that the Anyons article was based only on generalized ideas with no real case that can support her claim on the effect of social class on education level in the real world. The truth of the matter is that there are other studies which have indeed linked effects of social class to the education level of students (Escamilla, 2013). The study on California high schools was conducted by UC Berkeley sociologists. At the University of California, it was found that social class was the main factor which had a lot of influence on whether a student will attend the university or not. Most of the freshmen who joined the university came from top feeder schools and more that 38% of the students parents from these schools had college degrees. From the lower level schools, it was established that the few parents of students who managed to go to the university also had post high school diploma. From another article in the New York Times, No Rich Child Left Behind the authors remarks (Sean F, Reardon), also coincides with Anyons conclusion. Reardon states that family income has become a better predictor of a childs education success than race. The author also believes that students from well-off backgrounds do better than their counterparts from low-income society. Also, just like Anyon, Reardon also believes that the location of the schools also plays an important part in the quality of education provided to students. All these studies points to the fact that social class is a crucial representative factor to education level and serious reforms need to be put in place rescue children from low social classes also become great achievers in the education world.
Though one could argue that, the sample chosen for the study was relatively small to come up with such an essay, the education background, and experience which Jean Anyon has, made her work very credible. Jean has been a key player in changing the American education system to where it has reached. The reasons why I find the article credible and as such should be considered in the quest to bring reforms in the education system in America is because, Jean Anyon as a scholar, has had extensive experience in the field. She has published several books that relate to the scholarly subject. Some of the books which she has written include Ghetto Schooling: A Political Economy of Urban Education, Radical Possibilities: Public Policy and New Social Movements, Theory and Educational Research: Towards Critical and Social Explanation amongst others. Her education background is also reputable. She was also a professor at the University of New York being in charge of a doctorate program that dealt with social and educational policies (Nolan, 2014). As such Jean is well qualified to critique the education setup based on the fact that she has been a leading figure in research in education and a long-life activist.
There is, however, need for further research to be conducted on a wider sample area to eliminate some of the biases which would have arisen out of the small sample used in the study. There could be more different social classes or maybe there could be other reasons which contribute to the status quo of children following into their parents professions (Bradley, Steven, & Ashcroft, 2011). Such research could highlight some of the complex links between the daily activities in schools and the unequal setup of economic relationships in which people live.
In conclusion, this essay on hidden curriculum should be given more attention since it highlightsdeep-seated social issues which are crucial to the development Americas education system. As such I totally support the spirit of the essay, and it is my hope that relevant stakeholders will respond accordingly and help reduce the gap between the rich and the poor.
Bradley, F., Steven, A & Ashcroft, D. (2011). The Role of Hidden Curriculum in Teaching Pharmacy Students about Patient Safety American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 75 (7), 143.
Escamilla, M (2013). Transcript of Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work. Retrieved from https://prezi.com/morb0azhoqlb/social-class-and-the-hidden-curriculum-of-work/
Long-Crowell, E. (2003). Functions of School: Socialization, Cultural Innovation, Integration & Latent Functions. Retrieved from http://study.com/academy/lesson/functions-of-school-socialization-cultural-innovation-integration-latent-functions.html
Nolan, K (2014).Jean Anyon, Scholar and Mentor: a Students Reflection. Retrieved from http://www.urbanedjournal.org/archive/volume-11-issue-1-winter-2014/jean-anyon scholar-and-mentor-student%E2%80%99s-reflection
Senak, A. (2009). Summary of: "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work" by Jean Anyon. Retrieved from https://ped3102-p.wikispaces.com/share/view/15763152
Tribune (2001). Never forget the key role education plays in our so...
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