Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Social Conflict in Public Schools

Big American government is widely perceived as the foundation of social order in our country, yet it is, as some would say the single greatest source of disorder. Political power constantly tempts those who control it to enforce conformity with their own preferences of Education, and Religion, As seen in our country and many parts of the world, citizens will evade enforcers if they can but when necessary will fight back. Our public schools can also be looked at through the structural-functional theory In an article by Jim Powell entitled â€Å" Public Schools and Social Conflicts† he discusses the many conflicts in our public schools are primarily the product of our governments deliberate doings. In the early 1840’s for instance, Protestant dominated public schools were made compulsory for the newly landed immigrant Irish and southern European Catholics. Conflict arose when the Catholics resented having to pay taxes for Protestant schools where courtesy of another government bodies mandate Protestant values were to be taught there as well. The Catholics proceeded to establish their own system of â€Å"parochial† schools, however the age old practice of collecting public school taxes still exists no matter where the student chooses to be educated. Religion is another public school related conflict that Jim Powell discusses. Here he discusses the most famous social conflicts of public school history, the issue of whether schools should teach the biblical story of how the world was created. The â€Å"Butler Act† which made it illegal for any public school to teach a theory that denied the biblical story was how the conflict began. After a series of trials, debates, court and governmental interventions, the conflict still exists. Our public schools can also be viewed under he structural-functional theory. The various cogs of our public schools were probably intended to work together coherently to promote solidarity and stability as the structural-functional theory would suggest. The compulsory mandate of schooling for every child was probably intended to keep the majority of the new population educated thus increasing their productivity in a very young country. Many sociologist like Karl Marx would see this as an opportunity to not only live with the interpreted word but to constantly enact changes to conform with the needs of the current population thus maintaining the desired solidarity and stability . This type of sociologist would suggest that one only had to pay school taxes if the child used the public school system. In our day and age it would seem fair to the children who are home schooled or for that matter senior citizens and families with no children using the public school system, so the burden lay only on the benefit users. Infact it is the main point of discussion whenever a school budget or election comes up in many a town. On the issue of religion, this type of sociologist one that values preserving the desired solidarity and stability would suggest that issues of the religious nature not be discussed at all and that religious students should have a silent moment of prayer should the need arise, thus lending value to the now popular â€Å"separation of church and state†. There are many manifest functions of the public school system that can be The public system is a solid, affordable and consistent source of education for the vast majority of the population and being government funded has its regulations and systems in place. Freedoms that Americans have gotten used to are valued as well. Lack of regulation can have it’s own set of problems as was exemplified in the current â€Å"Financial meltdown†. Latent functions could also be seen in the public school system as is evident in the fact that public colleges function as a â€Å"marriage market†. Here young people of similar socio-economic backgrounds meet and perhaps form lifelong relationships. As was evident in the case of the recent Royal wedding where in Kate Middleton, the daughter of a wealthy businessman was enrolled in a prestigious university thus enhancing her ability to possibly meet a partner of similar stature who in this instance happened to be Prince William. Many a relationships have begun this way and although very rarely acknowledged is a unrecognized and unintended consequence of the public school experience. The public school system does affect American cultural values namely :Equal opportunity along with Individual achievement and Personal success. The public school system does for the most part offer equal opportunity to everyone who wishes to pursue this or her individual dreams. With all the checks in the system it gets next to impossible for any given public education system to waiver making allowances when deemed fit and holding firm when necessary. Individual achievement and personal success are cultural values very connected to the value of equal opportunity. In America, more so than in many other parts of the world is truly the â€Å"Land of Opportunity† . The sky is the limit if one has the desire and dares to dream. With the theoretical perspective in mind it is imperative that American cultural values will change as time progresses. There are constant changes that the public school arena is exposed to: The changing mix of certain ethnic populations in a given environment has given rise to a need for educators with English as a Second language backgrounds. Another area where cultural values will change are in the Special Education arena where with the growing classifications and need to integrate young Special Ed students educators will have to make adjustments to the way the whole population is taught so as to promote solidarity and stability as the structural-functional theory would suggest.

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