This upper-level course is designed for between 50-75 students. The class provides the students with empirical evidence and theoretical frameworks necessary to understand the K-12 and postsecondary educational systems in the United States. The class is discussion based, and focused on honing students’ critical thinking skills. Students must complete two mini-paper assignments designed to build their writing skills.
In this class we explore how external forces (like politics, financial support, and demographics of the population) shape how schools work, how internal institutional arrangements sort and channel students in different directions, what factors shape student achievement and behavior, and how schooling influences where individuals end up in society. We start with a case study of how gender, race, and class shape students’ experiences in urban schools. We then move to examination of key theories in the sociology of education, and analyze their utility for understanding today’s educational issues. The class also includes a second case study that helps us to look across and within schools as institutions. Finally, we end with a closer look at how social class, race, gender, and sexuality both organize and are organized by educational environments.