Assessment Task: Your reflection should follow the 4 R’s model Report, Relate, Reason, and Reconstruct.
Report: Summarise the article, including the key issues it raises. What was the purpose of the article? How does the author try to achieve this? How successful was he?
Relate: Identify aspects of the article which have personal meaning or connections with your experience. Was there anything that triggered a specific emotion or response? Why? Has the article challenged your self-concept, assumptions, attitudes, values, and/or beliefs about curriculum perspectives? Is there anything you need to reconsider or change in your views about this topic?
Reason: Discuss what the article tells us about educational inequalities in social/political contexts? What issues does this raise?
Reconstruct: Discuss what you have learned about yourself and your understanding of any curriculum issues, sensitivities and perspectives. Can you draw any general conclusions? How could you apply what you have learned to your own teaching practice? What other actions could you take to promote educational equalities?
Introduction:The Sociology Assignment “Doing things the “right” way – legitimating education inequalities in conservative times by Michael Apple fundamentally articulates the high level of inequality and imbalance that exists in the education setting (Apple, 2005). The critical reflection of the article has been presented here by following the 4R model so as to capture the essence of the article and the education model in the United States of America. In the article, he has carried out the analysis of the different conservative social movements that have a vital implication on the policies and practices that govern the education system. The Sociology Assignment has been presented to understand how the education system of the U.S.A can be strengthened (Apple, 2005).
Report In the article, Apple has presented the harmful repercussions that could arise due to the alliance of the “right political groups” in the U.S.A namely the neo-liberal group, the neo-conservative group, the authoritarian populism and the new middle class (Apple, 2005). The neo-liberals are the ones that emphasize on the “weak state” where the government has a restricted level of control over the education system. The neo-conservatives believe in the strong state where the government has strong power over knowledge, values and education (Ward, 2018). The Authoritarian Populists are the individuals from the working class and the middle class who have the least faith in the state and are highly concerned about education. The new middle class comprise of the individuals whose advancement depends on their support for the authority of efficiency and accountability (Ward, 2018).
Report: In the article, Apple has presented the harmful repercussions that could arise due to the alliance of the “right political groups” in the U.S.A namely the neo-liberal group, the neo-conservative group, the authoritarian populism and the new middle class (Apple, 2005). The neo-liberals are the ones that emphasize on the “weak state” where the government has a restricted level of control over the education system. The neo-conservatives believe in the strong state where the government has strong power over knowledge, values and education (Ward, 2018). The Authoritarian Populists are the individuals from the working class and the middle class who have the least faith in the state and are highly concerned about education. The new middle class comprise of the individuals whose advancement depends on their support for the authority of efficiency and accountability (Ward, 2018).
In the article, Apple has used the political lens in order to explore the trend that exists in the American education system. The key issues that have been raised here by him relate to the void that exists in the education system which not only which not just deteriorates the bright future of the children but also drains the financial wealth of their families. In simpler language, it can be said that the education system of the U.S.A is in complete crisis. He focuses on various layers of the education setting, for instance, the school system to ascertain how it can enhance the learning process of the students. At the end of the article, he has highlighted the significance of the coalition approach as it has the power to shape the approach that is used by schools and other educational institutions (Ward, 2018). Apple has succeeded to a high degree to showcase how the prevailing education system cannot suit the needs of all the students. According to him, not all the educational curriculums can meet the educational needs of all the students. The alliance in the education context can cause harm to the current education system of America (Ward, 2018).
Relate: This Sociology Assignment has helped to establish a personal connection with me as it clearly presents the ineffectiveness of the education system. In the current times, the education scenario has gone for a toss as the educational institutions comprising of the teachers and the faculty members focus on their personal interest instead of focusing on the learning needs of the students (Apple, 2005). Apple has stated that today there is a high level of stress on the high educational standards and education for the purpose of employment. This adversely affects the learning process if the students and restricts them in the education setting. In the section where Apple highlights the relationship between the education and the economic health reminds me of my learning phase and the high level of pressure that I had to get employment and fit in the economic setting. In the competitive academic setting, I as a student felt highly burdened which affected my learning process to a certain extent. There is the need for the educational policies to focus on the needs of the learners so that they can have an enriching learning experience and they will not get stressed out due to the highly demanding educational curriculum. By reading the article, I basically relived my life as a student as I could relate to the challenges that the students face today due to the rising academic or educational pressure.
The article has changed my perspective towards the curriculum that is followed in the education setting. The curriculum needs to be designed so that the students can get the opportunity to learn and expand their knowledge level (Ward, 2018). The public educational institutes must focus on creating value for the society by designing practical academic curriculum instead of sucking the financial resources from the society. The Sociology Assignment explores the education setting and how it can work in the “right” way by adopting an organized approach to so that the “decentralized unity” can be introduced to promote radical change in the prevalent education system of the U.S.A (Ward, 2018).
Reason: The Sociology Assignment highlights the major issue that arises in the educational setting of the U.S.A relating to “educational inequalities” (Apple, 2005). The key challenges arise due to the ineffective nature of the educational policies that govern the education system. Apple has stated that the some of the major educational reforms that have taken place in the context of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism have further intensified the issues relating to inequality in the educational context (Curriculumtheoryproject.ca, 2018). In the social context, instead of providing the masses with the policies that can meet their specific needs and requirements, the states or democratic bodies are altering the very sense of the social needs. The prevalent educational policies increase the level of discrimination in the educational context, Apple has clearly highlighted how the children of the “illegal” immigrants do not get the opportunity to learn and grow due to their background and situational challenges (Curriculumtheoryproject.ca, 2018).
The inequalities that exist in the educational setting of the nation not only have an impact on the future of the young children and learners but it has a major impact on the economic health of the nation as well. The neo-conservationists have been complaining about the traditional curriculum as it increases the inequality in the educational context instead of bridging the same. The inequalities that are prevalent in the educational setting arise in different areas such as the structural inequality associated with power and the accessibility of resources. Its implication can be further felt in the schools and the curriculum that is followed by them (Michael Apple on Ideology in Curriculum, 2018). In the current times, the educational institutions have been reproducing inequalities in terms of the policies and the learning process that is adopted. This inequality raises issues relating to the poor knowledge level of the young population who do not possess the relevant skill-set and expertise to make something big in the highly competitive setting (Michael Apple on Ideology in Curriculum, 2018).
Reconstruct: The article by Michael Apple has very well captured the major hurdles that need to be addressed in the education context in order to minimize or eliminate the educational inequalities that arise and restrict the learning outcome of the students (Apple, 2005). This article has helped me to understand the fact that the learners need a sustainable and healthy learning environment so that they can grasp the different educational elements that are presented before them. While I was learning as a student, I did not get the proper support due to the hectic curriculum and limited availability of time. These elements acted as major bottlenecks for me and restricted my ultimate learning outcome. The article by Apple has presented different issues that arise in the U.S.A education setting in terms of the curriculum, sensitivity and perspective. All these elements basically expand the inequality that exists in the education setting and adversely affects the education that is grasped by the students (Holsinger & Jacob, 2009, p 25).
The role of the educational policy is of utmost importance to make sure that a robust and j-healthy learning environment is created for the students so that they get ample opportunities to grow and expand their leave of knowledge. The role of the teachers, educators and poly makers is of paramount significance as they have the power to make sure that the educational inequality is controlled and mitigated in the best possible manner (Vega & Cunningham, 2016, p 2). The effectiveness of the education system is totally dependent on the students learning outcome. So there is the need to address the various hurdles that arise in the education setting and adversely impact their educational and learning outcome. In the article, Apple has carefully used the political lens to capture the various areas that need to be improved as that the educational system of the nation can be strengthened and it can create value for the students as well as the entire society. The policymakers need to have an active participation in the context in order to promote a robust and healthy educational system that is free from issues relating to curriculum and overall education that is imparted in the process (Ward, 2018,p 2).
Conclusion: The Sociology Assignment that has been critically analyzed highlights the deteriorating health of the prevalent education system of the U.S. that increases the level of inequality in the system. The 4R model has helped to capture various elements of the article including the essence of the subject, its relevance and impact at the individual level and the core issues that exist relating to the inequality in the U.S.A education setting. The Sociology Assignment as fundamentally allowed me to relive my student life and identify the core educational curriculum issues that need to be resolved in order to upgrade the effectiveness of the education system and eliminate the existing inequalities.
Apple, M. W. (2005). Doing things the ‘right’way: Legitimating educational inequalities in conservative times. Educational Review, 57(3), 271-293.
Curriculumtheoryproject.ca. (2018). Michael Apple a Curriculum Scholar Review by Carrie Engelbrecht Learned, Nisha Gupta, Jessica Hand, and Kristen Haslett for EDU 5265 Internationalization of Curriculum Studies. Retrieved from http://www.curriculumtheoryproject.ca/2012/06/michael-apple-a-curriculum-scholar-review-by-carrie-engelbrecht-learned-nisha-gupta-jessica-hand-and-kristen-haslett-for-edu-5265-internationalization-of-curriculum-studies/
Holsinger, D. B., & Jacob, W. J. (Eds.). (2009). Inequality in education: Comparative and international perspectives (Vol. 24). Springer Science & Business Media.
Michael Apple on Ideology in Curriculum. (2018). Retrieved from http://newlearningonline.com/new-learning/chapter-8/michael-apple-on-ideology-in-curriculum
Ward, T. (2018). Michael Apple. Retrieved from http://www.tonywardedu.com/critical-theorists/michael-apple
Ward, T. (2018). Michael Apple. Retrieved from http://www.tonywardedu.com/critical-theorists/michael-apple
Vega Carrero, S., & Cunningham, C. (2016). Critical Theory: From Michael Apple's Perspective. Pedagogía y Saberes, (44), 131-135.