exercise 2 Essay

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Rebecca Williams
Exercise Two


Functionalist Theory


Conflict Theory

Marx and Weber

Interactionist Theory

Mead and Cooley

Focuses on the ways that universal education serves the needs of society
Sees the purpose of education as maintaining social inequality and preserving the power of those who dominate society
Focuses on how teacher expectations influence student performance, perceptions, and attitudes EXAMPLE
P.S. 24 in Riverdale where they have
“EMR” and “TMR” classroom classifications
The inequity between the funding levels in
New York

Student discussion at
Morris High in South

The first theory discussed on my chart is the functionalist theory. Emile Durkheim contributed to the functional theories of education. The text states, “Functional theory helps us to understand how education systems work and what purpose education serves societies”
(Ballantine & Spade, 2015, p. 22). The example I chose that represents this theory in the book,
Savage Inequalities, was where Kozol was touring Public School 24 in Riverdale, New York.
Kozol explains, “The school is integrated in the strict sense that the middle- and upper-middleclass white children here do occupy a building that contains some Asian and Hispanic and black children; but there is little integration in the classrooms since the vast majority of the Hispanic and black children are assigned to “special” classes on the basis of evaluations that have classified them “EMR”—“educable mentally retarded”—or else, in the worst cases, “TMR”—
“trainable, mentally retarded” (Kozol, 1991, p. 113). I chose this example, because I think that

one of the main aspects of the functionalist theory is that of sorting. This example shows how one school “sorts” the nonwhite children, by placing them in classes based on evaluations.
The second theory discussed on my chart is the conflict theory. The writings of Marx and Weber originated this theory. The text states, “Conflict theorists, instead, argue that inequality is based on one’s position in the social system, not merit, and that schooling privileges some children and disadvantages others” (Ballantine & Spade, 2015, p. 25). The example that I chose from the book that signifies this theory was where Kozol was discussing the inequity between the funding levels in New York. Kozol explains, “Average expenditures per pupil in the city of New York in 1987 were some $5,500. In the highest spending suburbs of New York funding levels rose above $11,000, with the highest districts in the state at $15,000. “Why…,” asks the city’s Board of Education, “should our students receive less” than do “similar students” who live elsewhere? “The inequity is clear” (Kozol, 1991, p. 102). I picked this example because one of the main aspects of conflict theory is that of