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Schooling and Literacy

Schooling and Literacy

Author: Zach Lamb

Recognize the various types of schooling, and the goals they aim to achieve. 

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hello, welcome to Sociological Studies. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to join me. In this lesson, we'll describe a few educational institutions in American society that exists in addition to conventional public schooling, like the ones I have on the board-- parochial schooling, preparatory schooling, and home schooling. We'll describe them, and then finish with a discussion of literacy.

For starters, parochial schooling is schooling that provides religious instruction in addition to conventional education. In addition to math, reading, writing, et cetera. So you can go to some kind of Catholic school, for example, or you can go to some other religious parochial schooling. Parochial schooling is just meant to capture religious instruction paired with more conventional education.

Prep schools, or preparatory schooling, you might have heard that term before, is private schooling designed to prepare high school students between ages 14 and 18 for college. It's a special private school that students will go to to engage in intensive college prep, often with the goal of getting admitted to highly selective universities. The old East Coast prep school model is where all this got going, to get all of the prestigious kids from wealthy families into Yale, Princeton, Harvard, et cetera. So there was special high schools, prep schools, designed for these students. And now the prep school model has expanded beyond its origins, but that's how it began.

Finally, home schooling. Schooling done in the home by family members or authorized instructors. Families will choose to do this for various reasons. Ideally still, they have to meet the standards of the state. But sometimes, families will decide to home school their children for whatever reason.

It's a gray area though, with respect to meeting standards, because there's little oversight with respect to administering tests and things like that. It's all kind on the honor system.

Finally, we'll discuss the idea of functional literacy. And functional literacy is the knowledge of basic reading and writing skills such that a person can then function successfully in life as an adult. So can you function as an adult is really what we're asking.

Maybe you pass the test, but can you apply it? Can you read at a high enough level to, say, read the newspaper and be civically informed? Can you read and write at such a level that you are a functional adult?

Rates of literacy in the United States are often reported at near 100%, but functional literacy is a little bit lower. It's a little bit different of a measure. And it's commonly 65% to 80% functional literacy for the United States.

So if functional literacy is reading and writing good enough for everyday life, well, what is everyday life? What does that exactly mean? So that's why we see this range of functional literacy from 65% to 80%.

In this lesson, we described various institutions of education that are different from conventional public school or conventional private school education, and we hit on functional literacy. Have a great rest of your day.

Terms to Know
Functional Literacy

The knowledge of basic reading and writing so that a person can function in everyday life.

Home Schooling

A growing trend whereby students receive their formal schooling at home.

Parochial Schooling

Schooling that provides religious instruction alongside regular academic coursework.

Preparatory School Model

A form of private education designed to prepare students ages 14-18 for higher education.