Social Stratification and Schooling

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Stratification and Inequality".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020) | Viewed by 60231

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Sociology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
Interests: early childhood inequality; the impact of family background on health and educational outcomes

Special Issue Information

Dear colleague,

The promise and burden of upward mobility often rests squarely on schools, yet when schools serve students from such unequal conditions, calls for equal educational opportunity surely would not go far enough—equal opportunities would only reproduce non-school differences. This Special Issue will focus on the harder-to-examine lives of children beyond the school walls with the goal of understanding the interaction of the “home child” with the “school child”—how non-school environments shape school experiences and outcomes. Manuscripts focused on school outcomes as influenced primarily by early childhood, parenting, neighborhoods, and related settings are encouraged.

Ultimately, for schools to address the unequal lives of their students, there must be a more concerted effort to develop compensatory education policy hinged on a moral philosophy of countervailing rights. Nonetheless, if this is an implausible goal of modern schooling, perhaps a more realistic vision of the school and how it is situated in the broader social stratification landscape should be forged. Thus, theoretical and conceptual papers (both optimistic and pessimistic) on the philosophy of education are also encouraged.

Dr. Ben Gibbs
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • sociology education
  • educational achievement
  • educational attainment
  • compensatory education
  • social stratification
  • inequality
  • race, class and gender
  • parenting
  • neighborhood
  • community
  • childhood, early childhood, adolescence
  • prevention science

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

21 pages, 1433 KiB  
Article
Involved Is an Interesting Word”: An Empirical Case for Redefining School-Based Parental Involvement as Parental Efficacy
by Benjamin G. Gibbs, Miles Marsala, Ashley Gibby, Miriam Clark, Craig Alder, Bryce Hurst, Dustin Steinacker and Brent Hutchison
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(5), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10050156 - 29 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 5139
Abstract
School-based parental involvement is a common practice in the United States, and yet there is an emerging view that parents’ involvement in schools may have little if any academic benefit for their children. However, such conclusions are often based on narrowly construed survey [...] Read more.
School-based parental involvement is a common practice in the United States, and yet there is an emerging view that parents’ involvement in schools may have little if any academic benefit for their children. However, such conclusions are often based on narrowly construed survey questions, such as “Did you attend PTA in the past year?”. In our study, we re-examine commonly used measurements of school-based parental involvement using 130 interviews with parents and administrators across three diverse elementary schools. We compare conventional survey measures of school-based parental involvement with our own qualitative assessments of parental efficacy. Notably, we find that highly efficacious parents employed a wide range of involvement strategies, undetected by some traditional metrics of involvement (i.e., attending PTA meetings). As expected, we also find that efficacious parents were largely advantaged themselves and concentrated in advantaged schools. However, school contexts can play a powerful role in shaping the reception of parents’ engagement with schools—the presence of a Spanish immersion program transformed how teachers and administrators interpreted the involvement activities of Latinx parents. Our results point to the importance of (1) recasting parental involvement as parental efficacy and (2) integrating school contexts to understand how efficacy can be more effectively encouraged and deployed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Stratification and Schooling)
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21 pages, 751 KiB  
Article
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Timely Bachelor’s Degree Attainment
by Carolina Otero
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10020044 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3726
Abstract
It is well established that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are linked to health and emotional outcomes. However, less is known about the relationship between ACEs and educational attainment—a potentially important feature of educational stratification in America. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent [...] Read more.
It is well established that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are linked to health and emotional outcomes. However, less is known about the relationship between ACEs and educational attainment—a potentially important feature of educational stratification in America. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a nationally representative study following 7–12th grade students in the 1994–95 school year, I investigate the link between ACEs and these students’ timely post-secondary attainment. I also explore the role of health and socio-emotional factors as mediators. Results confirm that there is a graded relationship between ACEs and timely bachelor’s degree attainment—an additional ACE decreases the odds of timely bachelor’s degree attainment by about 17%, even after accounting for other related factors. In addition, the findings suggest that general health partially mediates this link. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Stratification and Schooling)
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17 pages, 344 KiB  
Article
Can Digital Technology Bridge the Classroom Engagement Gap? Findings from a Qualitative Study of K-8 Classrooms in 10 Ontario School Boards
by Jessica Rizk and Scott Davies
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10010012 - 7 Jan 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 8815
Abstract
This study examined impacts of digital technology on a key component of the socioeconomic gap in education—gaps in student classroom engagement. Whereas print literacy has long been a source of such gaps, newer “digital divide” theories claim classrooms that use digital technology are [...] Read more.
This study examined impacts of digital technology on a key component of the socioeconomic gap in education—gaps in student classroom engagement. Whereas print literacy has long been a source of such gaps, newer “digital divide” theories claim classrooms that use digital technology are perpetuating them further. However, these claims are not grounded in close empirical observation and may now already be dated. We aimed to advance understandings of the impact of digital technology on student engagement by examining robotics, tablets, and smart board usage across a range of classrooms, using a conceptual framework that blends theories of interaction ritual chains (IRC) and cultural capital (CC). Data came from observations and interviews with teachers and students in K-8 classrooms across 10 Ontario school boards. We report three major findings. First, almost all students across socioeconomic strata engaged easily and enthusiastically with digital technology. Second, technology spawned new classroom rituals and cultural valuations. Third, digital technology provided connections between school dictates and students’ peer-based and home lives. We argue that digital technology has the potential to narrow classroom engagement gaps that are generated by conventional print media. We end by discussing avenues for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Stratification and Schooling)
14 pages, 251 KiB  
Article
Family Structure Stability and Transitions, Parental Involvement, and Educational Outcomes
by Shana L. Pribesh, Jane Smith Carson, Mikaela J. Dufur, Yuanyuan Yue and Kathy Morgan
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(12), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9120229 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 13326
Abstract
The family environments children live in have profound effects on the skills, resources, and attitudes those children bring to school. Researchers studying family structure have found that children who live with two married, opposite-sex, biological parents, on average, have better educational outcomes than [...] Read more.
The family environments children live in have profound effects on the skills, resources, and attitudes those children bring to school. Researchers studying family structure have found that children who live with two married, opposite-sex, biological parents, on average, have better educational outcomes than children living in alternate family structures, perhaps due to higher resources, lower stressors, or different selectivity patterns. Socioeconomic stratification plays a major role in family structure, with low-income families seeing more instability. We argue that the impact of family structure is attenuated by transitions in and out of family structures that may decrease a specific resource important to child academic outcomes: parental involvement. This may contribute to increased academic differences already noted across class gaps. Using waves 1 to 6 of the Growing Up in Australia: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) data, we examine the relationship of family stability and transitions from birth to age 10/11 years on parental involvement and educational outcomes, adjusted for resource, stressor, and selectivity covariates. We find that changes in parental involvement are only apparent for families that experience both a transition and single parenting, and that these differences in parental involvement impact academic outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Stratification and Schooling)
23 pages, 507 KiB  
Article
Family Income and Student Educational and Cognitive Outcomes in China: Exploring the Material and Psychosocial Mechanisms
by Ming Wen, Weidong Wang, Neng Wan and Dejun Su
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(12), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9120225 - 7 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 17711
Abstract
Leveraging data from a nationally representative school-based adolescent survey, the current study aimed to provide a comprehensive assessment of how family income is associated with multiple cognitive and educational outcomes in China and examine the underlying material and psychosocial mechanisms. We found robust [...] Read more.
Leveraging data from a nationally representative school-based adolescent survey, the current study aimed to provide a comprehensive assessment of how family income is associated with multiple cognitive and educational outcomes in China and examine the underlying material and psychosocial mechanisms. We found robust associations of family income with school grades, cognitive ability, and study attitude, but not with homework engagement. Moreover, we found that home amenities, i.e., measuring home-based material resources, played the largest mediating role in explaining family income effects on cognitive ability and study attitude. Among the non-monetary or intangible intervening factors, children’s own and peers’ educational aspirations along with mother-child communication were the most important mechanisms. To a lesser extent, family income effects were also attributable to harmonious parent-child and between-parent relationships. The key take-home message is that home environments constitute a prominent setting outside of school exerting powerful influences shaping school outcomes for Chinese adolescents. Our study contributes to a better understanding of how family economic resources are transmitted to children’s cognitive and educational advantages via home material resources, family non-monetary features, children’s agency, and peer influence. Policy implications and future research are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Stratification and Schooling)
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21 pages, 593 KiB  
Article
Cultural Heterogeneity and the Diverse Success Frames of Second-Generation Mexicans
by Estela B. Diaz and Jennifer Lee
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(12), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9120216 - 26 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 6238
Abstract
Mexican Americans are the largest immigrant and second-generation group in the country. Their sheer size coupled with their low educational attainment have generated concerns that, unlike Asian groups like Chinese Americans, Mexican Americans do not value education—a claim wielded by opponents of affirmative [...] Read more.
Mexican Americans are the largest immigrant and second-generation group in the country. Their sheer size coupled with their low educational attainment have generated concerns that, unlike Asian groups like Chinese Americans, Mexican Americans do not value education—a claim wielded by opponents of affirmative action. Drawing on analyses of the Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles study, we challenge two underlying presumptions of this claim: the children of Mexican immigrants are less successful than the children of Chinese immigrants; and they are less committed to success. Centering our analyses on the hypo-selectivity of U.S. Mexican immigration, we maintain that how we measure success determines which group is more successful. Moreover, we show that second-generation Mexicans adopt diverse success frames that stem from cultural heterogeneity. Consequently, they pursue variegated strategies of action that include class-specific ethnic resources in their quest for success. Despite their remarkable intergenerational gains, the racialization of low achievement and the mark of a criminal record can be a death knell for mobility for the children of Mexican immigrants. Our research provides fruitful context to inform the current debate about affirmative action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Stratification and Schooling)
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27 pages, 544 KiB  
Article
Re-Examining the Public–Catholic School Gap in STEM Opportunity to Learn: New Evidence from HSLS
by Shangmou Xu and Sean Kelly
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(8), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9080137 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4252
Abstract
This paper examines public–Catholic gap in STEM opportunity to learn in the US using Mahalanobis-distance matching and adjacent categories models. Consistent with prior studies, there are significant public–Catholic differences in math and science course sequence level and total credits earned. However, we find [...] Read more.
This paper examines public–Catholic gap in STEM opportunity to learn in the US using Mahalanobis-distance matching and adjacent categories models. Consistent with prior studies, there are significant public–Catholic differences in math and science course sequence level and total credits earned. However, we find that these gaps are largely accounted for by selection processes among students of differing family background. Moreover, we find that the Catholic school advantage in STEM opportunity to learn differs by subject; Catholic school students are more likely to enroll in advanced math courses relative to middle-level courses, while their advantage in science is concentrated in the middle of the course-taking hierarchy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Stratification and Schooling)
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