Discussion Questions

1. Why is a good system of education important for a democracy? How can gaining a sociological perspective help people become more effective participants in a democratic society?


2. Who were the most popular kids in your high school? What made them popular? How did the reasons for their popularity vary based on their gender?


3.How do functionalist and conflict theorists describe the “hidden curriculum” in schools? What description best matches your own school experience? Why?


4. Do you think there should be ability grouping (tracking) in schools? Why or why not? How has tracking (or an absence of tracking) in your schools impacted your education and sense of yourself as a student? How does ability grouping in schools impact society?


5.This chapter describes several ways social class influences educational success. How has the social class of the family in which you were raised influenced your educational achievement? How did it influence your selection of a college to attend?


6.How do schools reproduce and perpetuate social stratification? If you had the power and desire to use the school system to reduce inequality, what policies would you implement? What do you think the chances are of your policies actually being put into place? Why?