Week 12 – Education and the (Re)production of Inequalities

Hi all! This week we’re discussing the following readings:

  1. Raftery, Adrian E., and Michael Hout. 1993. “Maximally Maintained Inequality: Educational Stratification in Ireland.” Sociology of Education, 66, 1: 41-62.
  2. Lucas, Samuel. 2001. “Effectively Maintained Inequality: Education Transitions, Track Mobility, and Social Background Effects.” American Journal of Sociology 106:1642-90.

Carefully go over my PowerPoint presentation with voiceover where I explain important ideas and concepts covered in the readings. (To listen to the voiceover you need to go to presentation mode)

Watch Michael Hout (one of the author’s of the author’s of the MMI paper) talk about the slowdown in Higher Education.

Lecture Posts Questions:

On the comments section below, address the following questions (answers should be at least 100 words in length and posted by Sunday – This is how participation points are assessed (worth 30% of your final grade!) Please save your comments in a safe document before attempting to post it.

  1. From my PowerPoint presentation, what still isn’t very clear? Any questions, thoughts or comments you would like to share?
  2. From the Raftery and Hout (1993) reading are all concepts and ideas clear?
  3. From the Lucas (2001) reading are all concepts and ideas clear?
  4. Summarize the main takeaways from the video.

20 thoughts on “Week 12 – Education and the (Re)production of Inequalities

  1. Mir Mohammod

    1. The powerpoint presentation on Education and the Reproduction of Inequalities was a great and informative read. Both, Maximally Maintained Inequality and Effectively Maintained Inequality were two key theories that were discussed throughout the powerpoint. Maximally Maintained Inequality is a theory that states that, unless it is forced to change through increased enrollment, transition rates and inequalities will stay constant. Effectively Maintained Inequality is a theory that presumes that socioeconomically advantaged actors secure advantages wherever possible for themselves and their children. However, both theories are important in understanding in terms of educational provision and the process of educational fulfillment.

    2. “Maximally Maintained Inequality: Educational Stratification in Ireland” by Adrian Raftery discusses education in terms of transition rates and inequalities through the Maximally Maintained Inequality theory. With rational choices and a study of the economic incentives for education, studies showed that alternative reforms could have worked much more effectively without costing nearly as much.

    3. “Effectively Maintained Inequality: Education Transitions, Track Mobility, and Social Background Effects” by Samuel Lucas discusses the theory of Effectively Maintained Inequality. Through time varying performance measures, the research shows that educational transitions can even play a role in universal transitions. I found this reading slightly complicated to understand however, the theory of Effectively Maintained Inequality is somewhat understood.

    4. The video by Michael Hout starts off with Hout discussing how college education is key to economic success and that it is also part of the national success strategy. In the 20th Century United States set the pace in college graduation rates however, in the late 1970’s we started falling off. The United States is falling behind as the knowledge economy becomes more central to the overall economy. The biggest waste in colleges and universities is the low graduation rates. The National Center for Educational Statistics has been collecting data since the 1960’s and the data shows that students now are more prepared for college than in the past. In 2009, President Obama realized the gap in education and wanted to attempt to fix it. President Obama wanted half of young Americans to attain a college degree. However, with the data, Hout thinks it would not be possible in the current moment. College lacks the capacity to actually educate half of American Youth. Hout’s understanding of the data shows that the number of degrees does not change, but the rate is a function of how many students there are. Hout believes that we either have to build more colleges to increase capacities or we would have to be more efficient in educating students in our current capacities. Hout discovered that, students in the middle of the ability pool tend to be the ones who get the most out of college degrees. Hout also said, endowments play a crucial role towards students’ education. Students tend to dropout when they run out of time and money. As state support has fallen off so has graduation rates. To support the struggling education system we would have to find a supplement to state funds.

  2. Maria Victoria Ruiz Flores

    1. From my PowerPoint presentation, what still isn’t very clear? Any questions, thoughts or comments you would like to share?
    The PowerPoint helped get a better understanding although I would still like other examples of MMI to have a better understanding. It allowed me to see the comparison and contrast of both of these articles. It also gave me a better understanding of the graphs from the Rafty, and Hout reading since I was also a little confused in understanding them.
    2. From the Raftery and Hout (1993) reading are all concepts and ideas clear?
    Since the paper is a little older than the other, I found it very complicated to follow along. I found the reading interesting and would wonder how it could differentiate in the United States, there is a lot more diversity I believe here although, I am not trying to undermine the impact of their educational gap. I still need more help on understanding Maximally maintained inequality and how this term can be used in other scenarios.
    3. From the Lucas (2001) reading are all concepts and ideas clear?
    This reading although longer was more understandable. As the other I find the findings interesting, and it allowed me to better understand maximally maintained inequality and how families contribute to concept. Effectively maintained equality was also way more understandable, in what I understood it’s that a child will have the same outcome until the child’s characteristics has changed, than you can determine the increase or decrease of educational inequality. In the charts it was interesting to see how subjects and the lack of them all could determine or be correlated to dropping out. It makes sense though because personally I didn’t take math for my last year of high school and when I entered college I felt so behind, luckily, I didn’t drop out, but it was only because I was given a tutor that was pai by a college program.
    4. Summarize the main takeaways from the video.
    College is often times correlated to success but over the past years we have seen an immense line flattening in our college graduates and we have fallen behind. Only half of the students we have seen enroll, have actually graduated high school the rest has drop out due to the lack of ability of colleges to properly educate. The cohorts squeeze is the range in which students actually go to college ages 18-22 and the rates of graduates, this is seemed to alternate with each other. Michael Hout suggest that in order to pick up the pace, either many more colleges will have to be built or colleges should be more efficient I their way of teaching. He emphasizes how students that range in the middle are the ones who take the most opportunities in college and actually make it to their graduation because of the endowment rate that offers them, financial aid, resources and academic services. Another emphasis he does is that dropout rate have gone down because of lack of state funds and also the students lack time and money especially for the lower percentile that may have other responsivities beyond academic standings.

  3. Kimberly Figuereo (She/her)

    I found the PowerPoint presentation to be clear. There were numerous reforms that happened in schools in Ireland beginning in 1967, including free school transportation and grants. The graphs and charts represented a lot of the changes that occurred in higher education over the years, and how much second-level education fell. The PowerPoint ties into the main ideas of the readings and how much social backgrounds matter when it comes to education and how much it can determine the level of education that’s completed by individuals.

    All the concepts in the Raftery and Hout (1993) reading were clear, as the reading’s primary focus was also on the expansion of education in Ireland during the 1960’s. The reading expands on the maintained inequalities in the education system in Ireland, and how prior to the 1960’s so many individuals did not continue their education after primary school. According to the reading, there is an extraordinary class bias in the advancement to higher education in Ireland. For instance, less than 10% of children whose parents are farm laborers entered secondary education compared to over 80% of children whose parents are upper-level professionals. I find this information very interesting because it can slightly compare to our country today and how so many people don’t pursue a college education because they can’t afford it or can’t even afford to take out loans.

    The concepts in the Lucas (2001) reading were clear as they related to the Raftery and Hour (1993) reading in terms of social background and educational inequality. According to this reading, sociologist have been able to come up with a method that shows how social backgrounds matter when it comes to schooling and education using tracking methods. They also mention how socioeconomically advantaged parents can much easily secure education for their children because they’ve bene to college themselves, and therefore can help their children go through high school in ways that’ll allow for a smooth college entry. On the other hand, socioeconomically disadvantaged parents may root for their children to reach college, but they can’t necessarily coach them being that they may not have had a college experience themselves. I found this reading to be quite informative and interesting, and it definitely put a lot of things into perspective for me regarding my community and how some of us are better equipped to continue to higher education, while some of us tend to fall into our parent’s footsteps rather than breaking out of the maintained inequality.

    In the video, Michael Hout further explains the educational inequality in America today. He states that amongst the young people who enter college today, about 50% graduate. Still, he remains that young people today are in fact better prepared for college than they were in the 1960’s. Still, he explains how colleges in America actually lack the capacity to educate young people today. He says that either we must build more colleges and universities, or we have to be more efficient in how we’re education our young people. Hout touched on various points that I found to be very clear and informative.

  4. Justin Qu

    1. From my PowerPoint presentation, what still isn’t very clear? Any questions, thoughts or comments you would like to share?
    From this week’s PowerPoint, everything was mostly clear. One thing that troubled me was the concept of Life Courses Changes. I understood the concept but when does this play in society? Wouldn’t this affect their mentality and how they see the world? Like last week’s discussion, social background lingers all throughout one’s life and extremely prominent in early life. Social backgrounds include education and depending on the quality it definitely affects later on in life. Moreover, I would like to comment on the graphs that were given. The MMI graph really interested me because of the consistent growth of enrollment and participation in secondary school. Once Ireland decided to grant secondary school the attendance rates significantly increased. Increases in investments in human capital increased for students as time went on. Seeing a positive graph like this is interesting because it reveals how powerful a progressive policy can do for every individual in society.

    2. From the Raftery and Hout (1993) readings are all concepts and ideas clear?
    In the Raftery and Hout reading the conclusions and results were pretty clear. I liked how they gave background information to set their findings. The background information gave me some context for Ireland’s education norms. Education changed drastically when Ireland implemented their education policy in the 1960s. Their findings were interesting because Irish schools became less selective on the working class by making secondary school free. Yet the upper class remained unscathed for the most part in their advantage over the working class. I would like to go over the “Social Origin Classification Scheme and Social Origin Scales.” I still do not understand the concept of this table.

    3. From the Lucas (2001) reading are all concepts and ideas clear?
    The Lucas reading was a heavy reading to grasp. Some concepts were unclear like the mathematical formulas. However, I tried not to stare at them for too long. Regardless, I did find some central ideas, which interested me. In the discussion last week, we argued that our culture and ethnic background have more weight than our social class in terms of education outcomes. This research paper explains how our social background is more prominent throughout college than high school. Also, we see EMI throughout the country. Some cities are poorer which means they do not have the proper resources to fund the school. They might teach the same curriculum, but the quality and style are much different. Many factors like drugs, family, and wealth play a role in the environment of schools.

    4. Summarize the main takeaways from the video.
    In this video, Michael Hout discusses the rates of entering college in the U.S. In the 70s the trend “sloughed” off and it flattened out. Today, The problems of colleges are the low graduation rates. It turns out that students are better prepared for college than ever before. There is also a lack of colleges and universities because of the limit in admission rates. Students tend to lose time and money for the effort in college. Students want a degree. Different colleges have different types of resources to help the students reach their goals. The more help from universities the better for their students to achieve and graduate with a degree. The government needs to spend more money on college grants to help with the falling rates in graduation.

  5. Angel Garcia

    From this week’s PowerPoint presentation, I enjoyed seeing statistics and reforms that have happened outside of the US. I was able to make connections between the educational reality of Ireland with the one from the United States, this is due to the fact that just like in Ireland, kids in the US have many barriers when it comes to their post high school career because of “opportunity costs” since they do not earn enough to pay for their education let alone getting a loan to do so. I would like more explanation on Side 13 where it says “expanding schools, persistent inequality” I would like to look deeper into that point.

    From the reading of Raftery and Hout work, I found that it was hard to follow along with the language and staying on track with the points that were being made. Other than that, the main points of the reading came across as they were talking about the education system in Ireland and highlighted the inequalities and how the numbers look in Ireland which in comparison to the United States I would say we live under a similar ideal when it comes to pursuing and finishing school.

    In comparison to the other reading, this was much more clear and easy to understand. The reading focused on the theory that social backgrounds and familiar influences matter in a child’s school life. As we already have discussed and already have engraved in our heads, kids that come from wealthier families tend to have an easier road to a great education while those from poorer backgrounds have it extremely difficult as they cant simply afford the expense of having an education. Lower socioeconomic families have a harder time helping their kids with their school needs as most do not have the experience nor the knowledge to instruct them and that’s when it comes down to the family affecting the child’s success, even though we know that it goes deeper than this

    The video was very straightforward and clear with its points. He made an interesting point when he was talking about the kids at the top, middle and bottom and I feel like his argument is valid. Kids at the top tend to overcomplicate themselves thinking they need to invent the newest piece of technology that will change humanity while those in the middle focus on taking the most out of their education to change and lift their lives and their families.

  6. Anthonio Roye

    Anthonio Roye

    Post1. From my PowerPoint presentation, what still isn’t very clear? Any questions, thoughts or comments you would like to share?The powerpoint clearly discusses the main points in the two papers for this week.The Raftery and Hout paper discusses the impact of social origin (family background, parental income etc.) on the educational transition (primary, secondary, college) of students. Before 1967, secondary school came at a cost, which caused many students to only finish primary education. In the 1967 reform, tuition for secondary school was now free, which caused an increase in secondary learning, however, a similar trend was not seen in these students transitioning to university (the numbers plateau or increased only slightly); which accounted for the maximally maintained inequality theory creation.This claims that expanding education will cause a reduction in quantitative inequalities in enrollment rates, as the process was no longer selective. When the most advantaged socioeconomic (SES) group approaches the saturation point in enrollment rates maximally maintained inequalities is believed to be achieved. The Lucas paper discussed students movements through secondary school by tracking location and educational attainments and concluded that social background does have an impact on the educational transitions. Students from poorer social backgrounds had lower transitioning to pursue higher studies. Thus the effectively maintained inequality theory was created. This theoryclaims that it is incorrect to believe that equalizing the quantity of students enrolling in schools will be adequate to cause reduction in inequality students face. There may be inequalities in the quality of education acquired and this in itself does produce benefits to advantageous students and disadvantages to other students of poorer social backgrounds.The life course changes perspective believes that we see less transition because of a parent children relationship (dependency) which declines as the children gets older and so social background is a less important factor in determining who gets additional schooling. I disagree with this perspective, because even though parent-child relationship is important in children’s success, the main reason for the lower transition rates are time and cost of tuition for higher studies. Social origin does play a part as it is seen that less than 10% of children from unskilled non-farm workers and farm workers enter secondary level education, while a high 80% of children from the upper class are enrolled.

    2. From the Raftery and Hout (1993) reading are all concepts and ideas clear?The Raftery and Hout paper was clear and highlighted the expansion of secondary education in 1967 onwards when the tuition fees for secondary schools were withdrawn in Ireland. It discussed how the inequalities once experienced due differences in social origin, on the education obtained reduced. This was because the education system was less selective and all students could attend secondary school for free. However, the barriers as it relates to class, was still present. This accounted for the maximally maintained inequality theory creation which claims that expanding education will cause a reduction in quantitative inequalities in enrollment rates, as the process was no longer selective. When the most advantaged socioeconomic (SES) group approaches the saturation point in enrollment rates maximally maintained inequalities is believed to be achieved. However, the study showed that equality of educational opportunity wasnot achieved with the reform.

    3. From the Lucas (2001) reading are all concepts and ideas clear?The Lucas paper discussed the relationship between social origin and the inequality the children faced. It talks on two theories: one that explained that there seems to be a lower social background effect in later educational transitions. The other is the life course changes perspective that thought we see less transition because of a parent children relationship (dependency) which declines as the children gets older and so social background is a less important factor in determining who gets additional schooling. It highlighted students’ movements through secondary school (upgrade to a different level or drop out) by tracking this location and educational attainments and concluded that social background does have an impact on the educational transitions. Students from poorer social backgrounds had lower transitioning to pursue higher studies. Thus the effectively maintained inequality theory was created. This theory claims that it is incorrect to believe that equalizing thequantity of students enrolling in schools will be adequate to cause reduction in inequality students face. There may be inequalities in the quality of education acquired and this in itself does produce benefits to advantageous students and disadvantages to other students of poorer social backgrounds.

    4. Summarize the main takeaways from the video.The video discussed the impact of college education on the economic success of people. He noted a low graduation rate after 1970, where about only half the students who enrolled completed. They once believed that this was due to the lack of college preparation by the students, but this was thrown out when a study showed that the students were more prepared than the previous years. They noticed that as the number of young people (18-20) increased, the lower the graduation rate and the opposite is true. Therefore, a solution was to build more colleges and provide more efficient education to students. A comparison was done between a middle ability student at a top university anda top student at a middle university. It was found that the middle ability student got the most out of their college degrees, due to better teachings and more resources. He also noted that drop outs were as a result of inadequate time and money and not a matter of loss of aspiration. To combat this problem, he believes that the government needs to supplement state funds to help to educate at least half of the population, that the government wants done.

  7. Katelyn Asciutto (she/her)

    1. The PowerPoint was helpful in clarifying the findings of the two readings and gave me a better understanding of some of the terms/theories used seeing as I read the journals first.
    In regards to the Raftery and Hout reading, I’m still not confident that I fully understand the findings in Figure 3. Is there a universal drop in entering higher education because the graphs show percentages? I think the drop is because the number of students eligible for higher education keeps growing but the number of university spots remain constant, so even though the same number of students are being accepted to universities, the percentage of those students relative to the total number of students eligible is declining.
    For Lucas’ journal, my question is similar to the clarification I was trying to make in Question 3. Is he saying that with MMI, the importance of social background increases as a child moves to higher levels of education because their background provides resources to help them succeed? For example, they rely on their social backgrounds for financial funding, social connections their college-educated parents might have with universities, or even just the assistance from their college-educated parents in navigating the college application process.
    – I think Lucas’ findings show that the current system perpetuates inequality, and like many other studies we’ve read so far, show that the system in cyclical in that the advantaged stay advantaged and move forward with their education while the disadvantaged continue to struggle to move to higher levels of education.

    2. I found this reading to be a little confusing. From what I understand, the overall decrease in education inequality in Ireland had little to do with an actual decrease in inequality, but was instead because of an increase in the overall size of the secondary education system. Because the system as a whole grew, they were able to accept more students, and eventually accept close to 100% of children. Had the size of the school system not increased, we would not have seen such a diverse class background.
    I was also getting confused by the way the authors used the term “Ireland.” I often could not figure out if they were referring to Northern Ireland, the Republic, or both. If they were referring to both, does that mean both parts follow the exact same curriculum even though they are different countries (p.60)?
    Another question is in regards to a statement on page 49 where the authors talk about non-educated individuals going to the North and the subsequent rise in education levels in the Republic. Are the authors saying that education levels didn’t really rise in the Republic, but that because the less educated were leaving, the proportion of educated people to non-educated people changed drastically?
    I’m not really sure if this question has an answer, but I was wondering if there was a reason why the children of employers had an education advantage over children whose fathers had the same job but worked alone?

    3. Lucas’ study was interesting, although I was confused at some parts. He included so much information from other studies and drew many comparisons between LCP, MMI, and EMI that I found myself going back and rereading parts of the study to make sure I understood what he was saying. From what I understand:
    – LCP is the idea that the effects of social background consistently decrease as a child ages because they are less dependent on their parents and therefore are less influenced by them in their decision-making.
    – MMI is the idea that the extent to which a child is independent is separate from age, and instead is dependent of social and political context, which levels of education are considered universal, and how much support is available for different levels of education
    – MMI does not see the parent and child as separate entities in the way that LCP does. Instead, MMI sees children as being dependent until they surpass the level of education their parents have, at which point they rely on them less for help with making decisions.
    – EMI is the idea that parents who are socioeconomically advantaged are able to pass on their advantages to their children, helping them quantitatively obtain more years of schooling (more likely to go to college→ it’s expected of them and they have the resources) and helping them qualitatively obtain better types of education during universal levels (i.e. going to better elementary and secondary school, tutors).
    – Lucas’ findings support this idea more then LCP and MMI.

    4. I enjoyed the video and thought it drew a lot of interesting comparisons between graduation rates in the United States and Ireland. In Ireland, we saw higher rates when schools were able to accept a bigger percentage of the population while in the US, we saw higher rates when the population was smaller. These revelations are essentially the same. When there are less 18-20 years olds, schools can accept a larger percentage. For example, say City College can accept 100 students a year. Over time, the size of the university does not change, so each year they accept the same number of students. So say the total number of 18-20 years olds eligible for college was 1,000 in the year 2005, City College would have accepted 10% of 18-20 year olds. Now, in 2021, say there are 2,000 eligible 18-20 year olds, so City College is only able to accept 5% of the age group. The number students accepted did not change (it was 100 in 2005 and 2021) but because the population increased, the percentage of accepted students went down.
    – This relates to Ireland because the only way to see an increase in the percentage in the US would be to increase the size of the school so that it can accept more students, or increase the number of schools to keep up with the growing population. Ireland increased the size of their secondary education system and we saw the positive impact this had on enrollment and graduation rates of secondary schools, so we could expect the same at the university level in the US.

  8. Yesenia Bonilla (She/Her/)

    1. From my PowerPoint presentation, what still isn’t very clear? Any questions, thoughts or comments you would like to share?
    The PowerPoint presentation was extremely helpful especially when it came time to interpret some of the graphs included in both readings for this week. Especially, the presentation helped summarize the second reading by Samuel Lucas by discussing the main points made in the reading. Although it wasn’t that difficult to understand the reading, it was just more so that it was lengthy so having an effective summary helped reassure that I was following along with the reading. Lastly, the PowerPoint presentation pointed out some concepts that we have discussed before such as mobility and opportunity cost which puts to test our knowledge and understanding of previous readings and discussions.

    2. From the Raftery and Hout (1993) reading are all concepts and ideas clear?
    The concepts and ideas from the Raftery and Hout reading were pretty clear. There were
    a couple of things in the reading discussed that I found interesting when looking at the secondary
    education in Ireland. For example, despite Ireland having the lowest income levels in Europe, the
    education system is still considered to be very well developed. On top of that, the participation
    rate is high when compared to other European countries with higher income levels. Furthermore,
    the discussion on the education of girls and boys was also intriguing as it revealed something
    there sometimes is a lack of in the education system of other countries. This being the level of
    importance for the education of girls compared to that of boys. In this case though, girls’
    education is considered to be as important to that of boys. This leads to positive results such as
    higher participation rates of girls.

    3. From the Lucas (2001) reading are all concepts and ideas clear?
    The concepts and ideas from the Lucas reading were also pretty clear. I believe it was a bit
    easier to follow along with this reading since it covered ideas that were presented or introduced
    in the first reading. For example, the concept of maximally maintained inequality. However, it
    still differs since it introduces and explains other concepts such as life course changes and
    effectively maintained inequality. One comparison made in this reading that I found interesting
    was that of when looking at the role that social background plays. In terms of life course
    changes, social background is considered to play a less important role when students become less
    dependent of their parents but maximally maintained inequality demonstrates how social
    background continues to remain important. I believe that the point made with life course changes
    makes sense since the individual is relying less on their parents, whether it be economically
    and/or socially related. Therefore, in a way, there’s less association with their social background
    as well, if that makes sense.

    4. Summarize the main takeaways from the video.
    The main takeaways from the video include the discussion of the decline in higher education and the specific ways in which this has occurred. For example, Michael Hout mentions the occurrence of low graduation rate in college and universities and how this then is often associated with one’s high school experience and labeled as “not being prepared”. However, data has proven that students, during these times, are actually more prepared in many ways than students back from the1960’s. This includes taking more years in certain subjects such as science and English. Hout then goes on to describe the concept of “endowment” which can be defined as the total of resources and gifts that an institution uses to support its faculty and students. An example of endowment includes academic services such as institutions investing in their curriculum development. Lastly, he gives some recommendations for institutions that are struggling such as seeking other ways to gain the money needed rather than relying on just the state funds.

  9. Meghan Ndiaye

    1. The powerpoint was pretty clear to me. I was able to see the differences and similarities of both articles which helped me understand them much more. I was able to connect with the kids in Ireland because in the US there’s not much support when it comes to getting a second education especially if you are in the working class. You have to decide whether you’re going to go to school and work at the same time to support yourself (which is pretty tiring). Or take some time off work (save up) and then attend school

    2. The information provided gave me more knowledge on Ireland’s education standard which I was happy about. Even though the reading was short, the wording of it made it a bit more complicated to understand so I had to re-read a few things. I love how Ireland made secondary schooling free for the working class and I feel a lot of countries especially the US should do that as well. Money is a huge reason why people can’t/don’t further their education and it’s a shame

    3. The reading was pretty long but interesting. The tables and formulas in the reading were a bit confusing but because of that I did not pay much attention to them. In last week’s lecture post I mentioned how I feel that your cultural background kind of weighs more than your economic background. This reading mentions how your social background is like more important during college than in high school and I agree as well.

    4. Hout talks about the educational inequality in American, even though students are better prepared for college now than before 50% of them still dropout. To him the biggest waste in colleges is the low graduation rate. Another point he brings up is that colleges lack the capacity of educating their students which is a shame. From what I gathered from the video these universities and colleges are not doing their jobs. If I’m going to school and paying why am I not getting what I paid for? Is money the only thing these schools care about? I agree with Hout that the state and federal governments need to step in and supply more funding to these schools.

  10. Stanley Lopez

    1. The powerpoint was somewhat clear, I feel that it was just a little overwhelming because of all the information that it provided, there were many statistics and graphs which made it hard to digest for me. I really liked the graph that explained who entered secondary education comparing children of farm laborers, or unskilled non-farm laborers, and upper level professionals. This graph helped me grasp all that information and made sense out of it, and I feel that this situation keeps occurring nowadays.

    2. The reading of Raftery and Hout was really informative, however, there was a lot of information which made it hard to read. The reading discusses the education in Ireland and the inequalities that are present. In 1967 tuitions were abolished and were replaced by grants or free transportation education and some schools were providing the full five-year curriculum for second-level education. Something interesting to me was that the study only consisted of men. Another thing was how the percentage of people who enter secondary education differs depending on their parents. Kids whose parents were farmers were less likely to get secondary education compared to kids whose parents were Upper-High class.

    3. The article by Lucas was also intense, but interesting. The article explained how social backgrounds are related to inequality. I really liked how this article connected with the other article when explaining MMI, which made it easier to understand because I had already read the other one. As stated in the article the fourth precept of MMI is the most important which says the following “When public support for a particular level of education changes, the impact of social background on completion of that transition will also change” This pretty much means that they go hand to hand and one affects the other.

    4. The video really caught my attention, some of they takeaways were the following: That only 50% of the people who starts college or a degree actually finishes it. Only 15% of people who starts community college get a degree. Something that I agree with was when the the video said that colleges lack the capacity to actually educate, I feel that I have lived this because I have had so many professor who are super smart, yet are horrible at teaching. Lastly, as stated in the article, students dropout of college when they don’t have any more time to spare for college, or mainly because they can’t afford it anymore. In conclusion, the video tried to explain why they are so many more dropouts than before, is is the student fault or the colleges fault?

  11. Samantha

    1. Everything from the power point made sense, but it was just a lot of information to take in. It did help to condense and explain the information from the papers. I was most surprised to see the polarity between LCP and MMI.

    2. Yes, it was all clear. I thought it was interesting to look at the data because I would’ve thought that making education more accessible would’ve done more for educational inequality. Some other points that I highlighted as I read the text was that the biggest change has been the increases in transition rates to secondary school, working class students are less likely than middle class students to make their way through secondary school and that when the father has more education, the family and student assign a higher level to education.

    3. Yes, although it was a lot more dense. I tried to read it in parts, but got lost a few times. For this text, one thing I highlighted was that there are differences in looking at socioeconomic levels of parents. Having gone to a middle school where kids were more from middle class families and a high school where students were from lower/working class families, I saw the differences when speaking to classmates. In HS, a lot of my friends struggled because their parents weren’t able to help them with the college application process and they faced having to choose to work or continue school.

    4. The main takeaways are that there’s a low graduation rate of the people who enroll. Hout is asking if the students or the schools or failing. The Cohort Squeeze found that the higher the population, the less people graduate. The assumption is that these schools are above capacity. Students at the middle pool get the most out of a college degree. Another important point made is that students drop out when they lose time and money.

  12. Cha-Neice Gordon

    1. As far as the PowerPoint everything is pretty clear as usual.

    2. It was a bit difficult to stay intrigued into the reading. However, all concepts and ideas are clear for the most part.

    3. In the Lucas reading, iI believe the main concepts were that college students as opposed to highschool students are more affected by their social backgrounds. Not only that but it confirms the lack of school funding and resources in the low income and/or poor communities. Due to that, the quality of the lessons and information being taught will not be in comparison to those in high income areas. These students will typically have a harder time and less help. Aside from that they are affected by environmental factors like drugs and income. Ultimately, all these factors will affect the outcome and success of these individuals.

    4. Some main takeaways from the video are the rates of people who enter college in The United States. Due to the factors such as time and money, students tend to drop out of school which is a cause for the low graduation rates today. Although students would like to finish school, it is not always that easy. With these stresses of time and money, their efforts tend to decrease causing them to either drop out or fail out. In comparison to colleges in Ireland, the United States is not doing as well.

  13. Joanel Sassone (He/Him/His)

    1.The life course perspective suggests that as students age they are less dependent on their parents economically and socially. Therefore, social background has less of an influence on individuals who wish to continue schooling. Although, this is how it should be, this isn’t true in the United States. In the US, FAFSA centers around parental finances which may or may not benefit the student. I think this relates back to a chart we looked at earlier in the semester where in countries with higher rates of inequality, an individual’s socio-economic status was more affected by that of their parents. Unfortunately, because college isn’t free in the United States, the financial aid a student receives is more dependent on the income, wealth and assets of their parents. In contrast, there is more independence when it comes to high schools because secondary school is more universal unless it’s private. Even so, inequality persists because secondary schools vary in quality.

    2.The main takeaway from Raffery and Hout’s reading is the theory of Maximum Maintained Inequality. In my own words, the MMI suggests that if secondary education is a luxury all upper class individuals are able to take advantage of, then it will become accessible to all of their counterparts. However, the MMI doesn’t account for the limit when creating policies to decrease inequality. For example, in 1967 in Ireland secondary schools became tuition free and entrance exams were still in place but didn’t affect admission. This means that secondary education became more accessible to the lower class. Nonetheless, not everyone was able to take advantage of the opportunity because some families needed their children to find employment and contribute to the household income. As for the wealthier classes, they either received better quality secondary education (which some might’ve paid for) or continued on to tertiary education. In conclusion, although the educational gap between social classes was narrowed, it wasn’t completely erased because of the advantages the upper classes already possessed. Lower class families prove to be limited by their socio-economic status to fully benefit from opportunities granted to them. This is known as the rational-choice explanation.This is also evident today in the United States. For example, even at university level, students who come from low-income families may work after school to provide for themselves and their families. Whereas, students who come from middle and higher class families may participate in internships, join clubs and sports teams,etc. These activities are perceived to be more beneficial to the student because it helps them develop skills, gain experience and expand their social and cultural capital that will give them an advantage later on in their careers. Therefore, although students can graduate from the same school with the same degree, the rate of return isn’t equal depending on how the student’s socio-economic status influences their decisions.

    3. In Lucas’ reading the main theme is the Effectively Maintained Inequality. My understanding of the EMI is that there will always exist a degree of inequality. As described above, students of different social classes may attend the same college but not utilize the resources in the same way. So while an upper class student develops relationships with school staff and future employers, the lower class students may not be able to do the same depending on their circumstances.

    4. In the Slowdown in Higher Education, Michael Hout stresses that a college education is a driver of economic and national success in the knowledge economy. Although the US led the world in college graduation, rates have fallen since the 1970s. According to Hout, only half of college students who start college, graduate with a degree. To find a reason for low college graduation rates, researchers have tried to find a connection between high school preparation and college graduation rates. Ironically, students are more prepared for college now than ever before. In 2009, Obama expressed his desire to have half of America’s college students graduate. Nonetheless, Hout argues that colleges lack the capacity to have the ability to do so. In an article titled The Cohort Squeeze, researchers found that the higher the population of 18-20 year olds, the less people earn college degrees. Although the amount of college degrees stays the same, the rate doesn’t when the population shifts. Hout has discovered that across the country college admission rates are falling. Students who fall in the middle of the ability pool are able to have higher rates of return from a college degree. The idea of endowment is introduced in the video and is defined as the resources that colleges and universities can incorporate into the academic experience of their students to better prepare them for their careers. Although college tuition rates have increased, they are financially unable to provide services to ensure the success of all their students.

  14. Eliezer Perez

    1) The powerpoint was very clear. I found the Hout reading a little hard to understand and the powerpoint explained in a clearer way. I find the maximally maintained inequality hypothesis interesting but a bit hard to believe, specifically the part that the lower class will have greater chance to obtain a level of education that the upper class has over saturated (close to 100%). Has the maximally maintained inequality hypothesis been applied to educational trends in other countries besides Ireland?
    2) The concepts and terms in the Rafferty and Hout reading are now clear. I found the Hout a little confusing, but I did like how much information they gave on the Irish educational system because it made it easier to understand the results of the paper. I also liked that the paper focused on Ireland because most of what I know about education and inequality is very much US centered, so it was interesting to see how education and inequality in education look like in Ireland.
    3) The concepts and ideas in the Lucas reading were also clear. I also found the effectively maintained inequality hypothesis very interesting and I found it more believable than the maximally maintained inequality. I can see how the EMI hypothesis plays in the US setting where the upper class looks for quality advantages in primary and secondary education (elite private schools) and for both quantity and quality advantages (higher admittance to ivy league schools). It seems like most papers we have read like this one agree that social background is the most important when it comes to education, which is kind of disheartening because it becomes a problem that is much harder to fix.
    4) The main pint of the video is that it isn’t high schools or students that are necessarily to blame for the low graduation rates, but instead colleges themselves are more responsible for it. Hout explains that our colleges today are not capable of handling increasing number of students who are enrolling in college, which results in a high number of dropouts. The solution would then be to increase the number of colleges or improve the college that we already have. The latter solution can also work because as the video explains, struggling students do well at top colleges. This indicates that top colleges have the resources to help their students in a way that other colleges cannot, and so struggling students can take advantage of those resources and succeed.

  15. Sophia Youssef (Her)

    1. I think the PowerPoint presentation was very clear. I found it interesting how that a finding for MMI was that it is more important to know the social background of a student rather than whether or not they completed high school. I do agree that as students advance a grade the curriculum changes as well. That the factor that determines whether they continue schooling is also determined where in the stratifies curriculum that schooling will occur. Like always the PowerPoint is just a detailed extension of the readings that help us understand things a little better.
    2. From the Raftery and Haut (1993) reading discussed the Irish educational system and how most primary schools are denominational and parochial. But that most of the funds came from the state which ended up determining the curriculum and fixes teachers’ salaries. Because this paper is old, it is written in a complicated form that can be difficult to understand, in the sense of following along. in 1959, when Ireland’s economic policy changed dramatically from based on economic nationalism, protectionism, self-sufficiency, and state support for small farming to one aimed at encouraging industrial growth and attracting foreign investment.
    3. From the Lucas (2001) reading was a little difficult to understand when it came to the Mathematical equations. It was clear overall in the writing format. That the students’ cultural background affected the economic background when it came to education and inequality. I also agreed that students who go to the same college but are from different social or economic backgrounds use their resources differently. This is very true because people who worked extremely hard in high school will work just as hard to even harder in the school of their dreams. Rather than a student who didn’t work as hard in high school won’t work as hard in a college they got into because of close range or any for the most scholarships.
    4. That only now 50% from the 4-year higher-ed institution, the people who begin their education in a community college, only 15% of those students from a 2-year higher-ed institution graduate. A study from the 1960s was stating that students now are more prepared for college work than when it was during the 1960s. High school students now are taking more years of English, math, science, and foreign language compared to the students in the past. The students or the colleges who are failing, say that colleges lack the capacity to actually educate half of America’s youth today. Students that are in the middle of the ability pool are the ones who get the most out of a college degree. Students drop out when they lose time and money, they don’t lose their aspiration for a college degree. They just hit a point where they can’t keep putting off starting work.

  16. Lei Liu

    1.From my PowerPoint presentation, everything was clear, and very helpful. Raftery and Hout’s reading discussed the importance of social background (education, family background) to students. In the 1967 reforms, tuition fees for secondary schools are now free, and the number of students eligible for higher education continues to grow, but the number of university degrees has not changed.
    2.From the Raftery and Hout (1993) reading all concepts and ideas are clear. The article emphasizes the reform of Irish education and the inequality in Irish education. Before the reform, the education system of working-class students was opposed to middle-class students, and working-class students rarely continued their education after completing elementary school. But after the reforms in 1967, Ireland offered free (abolition of tuition fees and replaced by state grants) the qualification to attend secondary school. The number of eligible for secondary school has increased, but the number of college students has not changed.
    3.From the Lucas (2001) reading all concepts and ideas are clear. The article mentioned the importance of using tracking methods to study social background in education. In terms of social background, parents with financial advantages can help their children gain or increase the number of years of education because parents have the ability to support and educate their children.
    4.In this video, Michael Hout mentioned that compared with the 1960s, there are more high school students preparing for college than before. Those students who drop out of middle school or high school are basically due to lack of money. In universities, providing financial aid can help more students complete their university degrees. If they don’t, they may need to find a part-time job to pay for college tuition, which may also be one of the reasons for the low graduation rate.

  17. Sharharra Pettway

    1. The powerpoint presentation helped simplify the readings for me and understand the topics a little better.
    2. The reading was a lot and had a lot of information to take in. It was interesting to know that depending on the time, children started school at different ages. Another interesting thing was that people’s social background becomes less of a factor as they change stages becoming more independent.
    3. This reading was pretty clear but really long. It mentioned that the theory of EMI and its claims of levels of schooling and it being universal and how those that are more socioeconomically advantaged use their advantage to secure education different ways equivalent to certain levels of schooling or find something similar or better when it becomes considered universal.
    4. The video looked at education and graduation rates and also in correlation with achievement and success. One of the takeaways were the issue with blaming admission and graduation rates based on preparation, but that’s not the case because there are programs and resources that help prepare students academically. Another takeaway was that colleges graduation rates are low because of the ability to retain the attention of its students, mostly the younger ones as well as costs for tuition also cause students to drop out also. Another thing mentioned was that some colleges have more resources and money for financial aid to provide to students and invest in education than others which helps with the time that students have to invest into their academics, while the colleges that don’t students have to take on jobs which can cause problems with school responsibilities.

  18. Karla Marin

    As always, the information presented on the PowerPoint slides were very useful and informative. I liked how it served as a gateway into the articles and what kind of concepts we will be addressing in each article. I don’t believe that I have any questions regarding the presentation. I will also like to point out that I appreciate how the slides also mentioned topics that we have already learned about and connected that information with this week’s concepts.

    The Raftery and Hout (1993) reading was dense and a little complicated to understand. I found that the article presented its information and explained it the best it could, but I had trouble following and fully understanding the concepts. I was able to get a general understanding of how education expansion helps decrease inequalities. The article was focused on education in Ireland and it made me wonder how these concepts can be applied anywhere else, specifically in the United States. I would imagine that there would be similar results, but I would’ve liked it if the article would have done a broader study across different countries. My understanding of maximally maintained inequality is that despite a family’s seriocomic standing they should still be offered the same kind of education and opportunities to those of a wealthier family, which can be done by removing tuition fees which were done in secondary schools in Ireland, this means that the expansion of education would be less selective.

    I found the Lucas (2001) article to be a bit easier to understand in comparison to the first article and the concepts were better explained. I’m not sure if that’s because the first article gave me insight on the topic or if it was actually more informative. Nonetheless, I enjoyed how the concepts were explained and presented even if they were a little intense. I also like the overlap and the focus on social background and how impactful it is.

    This week’s video brought up an important question regarding education. It wanted to know what was wrong with our education and whether it was the student’s fault or the universities. It pointed out that in today’s society students in high school are better prepared for college and that in reality universities are failing to properly educate students. It also focused on how students are performing depending where they are and what they bring with them to college.

  19. Kelly Zhumi (she/her)

    1. From my PowerPoint presentation, what still isn’t very clear? Any questions, thoughts, or comments you would like to share?
    The PowerPoint presentation was clear and concise as always. It was easier to understand the new concepts and graphs through the slides since this week’s reading was dense. Also, it was easier to see the similarities between the readings. One concept that took me by surprise is the Life Course Perspective (LCP). Although the study took place in Ireland, I believe one cannot completely stray away from a parent’s economic and social background. For instance, FAFSA takes into consideration of the parents’ economic background, which may or may not hinder the amount of financial help they may receive.
    2. From the Raftery and Hout (1993) reading are all concepts and ideas clear?
    The concepts and ideas presented in the Raftery and Hout (1993) reading were somewhat clear and had emphasized the importance of the expansion of secondary education in Ireland in 1967 and on. Due to the tuition fees and entrance exams being dropped in 1967, more students of low SES backgrounds were able to obtain a secondary education. However, it is important to note that prestige affects success at all stages of education. For instance, if parents had received higher education, they are able to provide academic help for their children than parents with a lower educational level. Although education was less selective, there are other factors that produce inequalities for students from low SES backgrounds.
    3. From the Lucas (2001) reading are all concepts and ideas clear?
    It was a bit difficult to read the Lucas (2001) reading since it was denser, but the PowerPoint presentation had helped further my understanding. Lucas had explained the relationship between social background and inequalities, and how it influences a student’s success. Lucas had introduced and compared the three concepts of LCP, MMI, and EMI. Lucas mainly focuses on the concept of EMI. From my understanding, EMI (effectively maintained inequality) enforces the idea that inequality will continue to persist. For instance, families from high SES backgrounds have higher social and economic capital than families from low SES backgrounds. Due to their social and economic capital, families from high SES backgrounds can provide more help and support for their children to further advance in their education while families from low SES backgrounds can allow cheer on the sidelines and hope their children can understand the material presented to them.
    4. Summarize the main takeaways from the video.
    Obtaining a college degree immediately signifies an individual’s economic success and the nation’s economic success as well. However, as the years pass, it seems that graduation rates have decreased. Although students are better prepared for a college education than students in the 1960s, colleges fail to consider students from low SES backgrounds. Michael Hout brings up the notion that colleges lack the capacity to educate half of America’s youth. Then Hout mentions the concept of endowment, which is the sum of all gifts and resources an institution gives to its students and faculty. Students do not drop out because they have lost their motivation but more so don’t have the time or money to continue their education. Hout suggests more colleges and universities be built and/or improve the quality of education students are receiving for the current and future generations.

  20. Azizah Al-Antri

    Since the articles were very lengthy and complex, the powerpoint discussed the main points of the study and it’s theories and findings which was very helpful. The discussion of the graphs in the powerpoint helped me understand the concepts in a visual sense as well.

    Raftery and Hout’s study (1993) discusses the expansion of secondary education in Ireland in the 20th century. They analyze the effect of social origin on educational transitions 1908-1956 cohorts. More people are receiving formal education, and the number of years of formal schooling has also increased. Findings show how some working class students still struggle with completing the second level of education and are less likely to complete it compared to middle class students. However, equality of outcomes occurred due to diminished selectivity and as more students enrolled in secondary education, there has been increased equality among social classes. Also, “maximally maintained inequality” explains how the relationship between social origin and education will weaken as more upper class individuals attain a certain education level. It also explains how transition and inequality in education won’t change unless there are increasing enrollments.

    Lucas’s study (2001) discusses effectively maintained inequality and students’ movement throughout the stratified curriculum, whether its dropping out or moving up a grade. They make this choice based on their recent performance and students’ track placement or school continuation can be predicted. His findings show how social background matters for college entry than highschool completion. “Effectively maintained inequality” is when a level of school is not universal; the socioeconomically advantaged will use their advantages to secure the level of schooling. Once the level of schooling is universal, they will use their advantages to seek out qualitatively better education.

    The U.S. has high college enrollment rates because it is the key to economic success according to Michael Hout in “The Slowdown in Higher Education.” A college degree is important and valuable in today’s economy. However, although many people enroll in college, the U.S also has very low college completion rates. Hout claims that this may be because colleges lack the capacity to educate half the youth today. Either more colleges should be built to increase the capacity, or efficiency should increase to educate the youth in colleges. Also, many students struggle since college is very expensive and end up dropping out when they don’t have any more time or money. As state support drops, graduation rates also drop. Some students don’t have enough support to continue college and finish, and colleges need funds to support those students that are struggling.

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