American Sociological Association

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  1. Ferguson and “Rapid-Response” Teaching

    Christopher Todd Beer on bringing current events into the classroom without relying on the whims of a news cycle.

  2. Innovative Education? A Test of Specialist Mimicry or Generalist Assimilation in Trends in Charter School Specialization Over Time

    By most media accounts, charter schools are innovative schools. But little empirical work interrogates this idea. We examine the growth and decline of specialist charter school mission statements as one indicator of innovation. In line with theories of resource partitioning, we find that specialist charter school missions—those asserting innovation with regards to populations served, curricula utilized, and/or educational focus—have become increasingly diverse over time.

  3. Do Differences in School Quality Matter More Than We Thought? New Evidence on Educational Opportunity in the Twenty-first Century

    Do schools reduce or perpetuate inequality by race and family income? Most studies conclude that schools play only a small role in explaining socioeconomic and racial disparities in educational outcomes, but they usually draw this conclusion based solely on test scores. We reconsider this finding using longitudinal data on test scores and four-year college attendance among high school students in Massachusetts and Texas. We show that unexplained differences between high schools are larger for college attendance than for test scores.

  4. “Once You Go to a White School, You Kind of Adapt”: Black Adolescents and the Racial Classification of Schools

    Studies of when youth classify academic achievement in racial terms have focused on the racial classification of behaviors and individuals. However, institutions—including schools—may also be racially classified. Drawing on a comparative interview study, we examine the school contexts that prompt urban black students to classify schools in racial terms. Through Diversify, a busing program, one group of black students attended affluent suburban schools with white-dominated achievement hierarchies (n = 38).

  5. Student Neighborhoods, Schools, and Test Score Growth: Evidence from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Schools and neighborhoods are thought to be two of the most important contextual influences on student academic outcomes. Drawing on a unique data set that permits simultaneous estimation of neighborhood and school contributions to student test score gains, we analyze the distributions of these contributions to consider the relative importance of schools and neighborhoods in shaping student achievement outcomes.

  6. Religion as Bridging or Bonding Social Capital: Race, Religion, and Cross-racial Interaction for College Students

    Religion is the most segregated arena of American life, but its effect on collegiate diversity outcomes has been overlooked, despite the significance of both race and religion in many students’ lives. This study examines whether religious observance, religious worldview identification, and participation in a religious student organization are significantly related to cross-racial interaction (CRI), a form of bridging social capital, during college. The current study yielded largely positive relationships between general religiosity and CRI.

  7. “I Did Not Miss Any, Only When I Had a Valid Reason”: Accounting for Absences from Sociology Classes

    In this study we explore how absence from sociology classes is understood by undergraduate students at University College Dublin. The authors use Scott and Lyman’s (1968) concept of accounts to explore absence sociologically. Drawing on data generated via focus groups, an open-ended questionnaire, and an online survey with students, we outline the different excuses and justifications for missing classes used by students and present their understanding of attendance at classes as an optional feature of student life.

  8. 2014 Hans O. Mauksch Address: Neoliberalism and Higher Education: How a Misguided Philosophy Undermines Teaching Sociology

    This article argues that neoliberalism is a critical public issue influencing the apparently private troubles of college students and teachers. For example, earning a college degree has become ever more important for success; yet, because of declining state support for public education, students are taking on extraordinary levels of debt. As a result, learning is being pushed aside by vocational and other considerations that result from neoliberal policy imperatives.

  9. The Bourgeoisie Dream Factory

    Effectively teaching sociological theories to undergraduate students is challenging. Students often enroll in theory courses due to major requirements, not personal interest. Consequently, many students approach the study of theory with anxiety. This study examined the effectiveness of an experiential learning activity designed to teach Karl Marx’s theory of alienation. Based on pretest/posttest surveys, responses to open-ended questions, and observational data, students reported that the activity helped them gain a clearer understanding of Marx.

  10. Other People's Racism: Race, Rednecks, and Riots in a Southern High School

    This article uses data drawn from nine months of fieldwork and student, teacher, and administrator interviews at a southern high school to analyze school racial conflict and the construction of racism. We find that institutional inequalities that stratify students by race and class are routinely ignored by school actors who, we argue, use the presence of so-called redneck students to plausibly deny racism while furthering the standard definition of racism as blatant prejudice and an individual trait.