Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain
[MUSIC PLAYING] Hello, and welcome to Sociological Studies. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to join me. In this lesson, we're going to discuss education and schooling. Education is the institution by which skills, knowledge, cultural norms and mores, and the basic facts that are important in that society get transmitted to individual members. So education, then, is broad, and there are many ways, many outlets to become educated.
Think about all the ways that you have become educated, all of the things that have contributed to your learning-- the mass media, certainly, TV, the internet, newspapers, magazines, pop culture, family and extended family, conversations with friends, the peer group, school, and even your job. So education, then, happens all of the time. It's multifaceted. And it happens in many different ways.
But in high income countries, schooling is perhaps the most important form of education. And schooling is the institutionalized system of formal educational instruction. And we have a pretty good school system in this country relative to some other countries. For instance, we have mandatory education laws which are requirements to go to school up to a certain point. In America, our mandatory education laws dictate that you must stay in school until you're 16 at least or at least you finish eighth grade.
This is not the case all over the world, though. Poorer nations do not have as structured formal schooling systems as we do. And they're not equipped with mandatory education requirements. So economic development, then, and education go hand in hand.
Economic development produces the leisure time to engage in protracted-- which is extended-- and sustained schooling. Leisure enables us as children to not work, to not contribute to the family, but instead spend 18 years of our lives really not doing anything besides going to school. And that schooling then begets more productivity and more economic development. So schooling and economic development go hand in hand. And it's tough for poor countries to get started with this if they're so poor that children have to work and contribute to the family rather than have the leisure time necessary to go to school and then hopefully go on and become innovators and productive members of the economy.
In addition to mandatory education laws, another benefit of American education and the American educational institutions are equal opportunity. Everyone should be able to get an education, regardless of race, ethnicity, class, or gender. And equal opportunity, if you might remember from another tutorial, is one of the hallmark American values.
However, you could argue that perhaps the American education system is not as equal opportunity as we would like. You could say that equal opportunity does not apply to college, although some are pushing for equal opportunity with college. So not everyone can afford to go to college.
College is very, very expensive. And it's only getting more expensive as individual states are cutting funding for college. They used to pay more than half of the cost of a student to go to college, but now that number is going down. And college, for some poor people, is prohibitively expensive, such that they can't go.
So if you need a certain amount of money in order to go to college, well then how do we say that everyone has the equal opportunity to go to college if some people are excluded by virtue of money? Sure, they can take out student loans. But in society today, we have a problem of student loan debt.
We have a student loan debt bubble in the making. Students owe upwards of $100,000 in some cases in student loan debt. But yet they're having difficulty finding jobs. So it's a problem. And you could say that maybe our college system isn't founded on equal opportunity.
A third benefit of the American education system that I would like to discuss is progressive education. We have a progressive education system. And progressive education was an idea given to us by John Dewey, who was an American philosopher and scholar.
John Dewey argued for progressive education. He was advocating for it. And progressive education is that schools should make an effort to make education relevant to the learner, to people's lives. Progressive education makes the education relevant to the world, to what's happening. And ideally then, students will get the right skills that will facilitate success in the real world.
So this implies then that education and what is taught in school changes with the times. It adapts to the times. So when I was in school, we learned keyboarding, and we learned how to use Microsoft Word and how to use Microsoft Excel, how to use computer skills.
I imagine there's even more advanced computer skills taught now. I'm not sure. I haven't been in a primary school in a long, long time. But if any you of you have children, think about what they are learning and what you learned, and realize then that it's our legacy of progressive education, of adapting what is taught so it's relevant for the learner.
This was a lesson that overviewed ideas of education, schooling, as well as some benefits of the school system in this country. Have a great rest of your day.