The Relations between School and Social Structure

  • James S. Coleman


Two quite different orientations toward schooling can be found throughout its history. These two orientations have created a dilemma for educational policy that has never been satisfactorily resolved. First, schools have been seen as the society’s instrument to release a child from the blinders imposed by accident of birth into this family or that family. They have been designed to open broad horizons to the child, transcending the limitations of the parents. They have taken children from disparate cultural backwaters into the mainstream of a nation’s culture. They have been a major element in social mobility, freeing children from the poverty of their parents and the low status of their social origins. They have been a means of stripping away identities of ethnicity and social origin and implanting a common identity.


Private School Nursery School Social Origin Catholic School Functional Community 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • James S. Coleman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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