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Purposes of Schooling Essay Labaree examines the competing ideological traditions that have fought for dominance in our public schools since the nineteenth century and considers the social consequences when certification and degrees become more important than the acquisition of knowledge He argues that the central problems with education are not pedagogical organizational social or cultural in nature but are fundamentally political He identifies three prominent educational goals that at times have undermined each other He calls these goals democratic equality social efficiency and social mobility The democratic equality goal seeks to prepare our young for citizenship The social efficiency goal prepares students to carry useful economic roles and the social mobility goal treats education as a commodity which purpose is to provide individual students with a competitive advantage in the struggle for desirable social positions From the perspective of the citizen then democratic equality is viewed as a public good benefiting society as a whole a public good is one whose benefits are enjoyed by all the members of the community whether or not they actually contributed the production of this good Police protection street maintenance public parks air pollution control etc The taxpayer and the employer see social efficiency as a public good too designed to prepare workers to play useful roles in our economy In social mobility however the individual consumer views education as a private good to be exchanged later for higher paying jobs a private good is one whose benefits are enjoyed by an individual The most political of the three goals democratic equality has three subgoals the pursuit of citizenship training equal treatment and equal access Citizenship training is addressed through such courses as social studies civics government US History and liberal arts Equal treatment has been dealt with by the exclusion of public prayer and other religious practices from schools desegregation removal of gender stereotypes from textbooks incorporation of experiences of nonwhites and females in
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