There is so much we could look at with of public system, goals, financing, school choice, preschool, higher ed, etc etc etc.  We are going to narrow our focus to high school and college.

Primary question: Does education reinforce existing stratification or provide a way to overcome it?

By Apr 13:

  • Read Hayley Glater, The Atlantic, March 30, 2017 What If Students Only Went to School Four Days a Week? 
  • Read Tristan Bridges, Sociological Images, Mar 20 , 2017 Racial and Educational Segregation in the US
  • Write a response paper: Summarize both articles and answer the primary question.
  • And one last thing…pick a paper topic.  Where can you find a topic?Check your book – at the end of each chapterLook back over your papers – what were you interested in?  What made you mad? Or excited? Or hopeful?Look back over the blog posts – which readings were interesting to you?

    A sociology blog, thesocietypages series “There’s Research on That”

    Narrow it down, for example:

    Education  to  gender difference to  Math performance/achievement by boys and girls in middle or high school



ListenHow For-Profit Colleges Sell “Risky Education” To The Most Vulnerable, Mar 27 Fresh Air on NPR

How to Get Low-Income Students Into Selective Colleges   Hidden Brain on Morning Edition April 12, 2017

Read: The difference between top-tier colleges and mid-level may  not matter for middle-upper income students

Watch: These may be found in the library or on streaming services.


The Lottery

Waiting for Superman

Hoop Dreams

Video from class:  A Tale of Two Schools Part 1 and Part II



Along with school and family, religion is an institution in society for teaching social values.  And also like family and education, it does more than teach social norms. Religion also provides community, lifestyle practices and a way to order their year.

Pew Research, Feb 2016 report


For Mar 9:

  • Read about your chosen religion
  • Complete 2 slides on your chosen religion’s holiday celebration and norms & beliefs
    • See my sample for Mormonism – this is just a broad – broad overview of the religion
  • Put a link to your sources in the Speaker’s notes section
  • Google Slides link

Resources for religion:

Data on beliefs and practices:

11 minute video on most of the religion’s backgrounds:

Encyclopedia of Religion and Society

Encyclopedia Britannica, Requires registration for free trial to access articles

Religious Tolerance

Religious Facts Not an academic site but seems objective and thorough enough for our purposes

Internet Public Library religion page,



Play the Belief-O-Matic, Find out which religion/denomination most closely matches your beliefs

Religious Community, rituals and trust – one theory


Media – All the News

This week we examine the news.  We will focus on network, cable, and internet news sources.  So unfortunately we will not have time to debate the merits of The Onion.


Paul Ryan Grudgingly Impressed By Angry Protester Who’s Matched His Running Pace For 9 Miles


For Mar 2:

Race, Class Gender Analysis Paper Due Click the link for grading guidelines

In your introduction paragraph include a brief summary of your subject’s life.  For example with Arnold Spirit:

Arnold Spirit is a native American living on a reservation in Washington state.  During middle school, a teacher recognized his academic potential and encouraged him to attend a school in the next town over.  A white town.  The complications of being an ethnic minority in high school as well as significantly poorer than his classmates provide challenges and opportunities for Arnold.

In your analysis, consider the challenges or privileges of each sociological status.  Describe how being male or female made your subject’s life course harder or easier and made for more or fewer opportunities.


Interactive Philanthropy Map

On The Media, public radio show about – the media.

Episode “The Ties That Bind,” a recent episode.  Definitely podcast material!

From Headline to Photograph, A Fake News Masterpiece, New York Times, Jan 18, 2017 An amazing story about how a fake news story is created and circulated.

And the history of Sesame Street, Street Gang.

An article on Sesame Street, Children’s TV – Left Behind in The Atlantic Jul 16, 2015

The Data Behind Hollywood’s Sexism.  A TED Talk


Media – Our(?) Stories



This week we will look at the role of media in society, specifically television shows and movies.  Do movies and TV reflect social stratification by race, class and gender or point in  new direction?


For Feb 23:




What’s Wrong with Cinderella





Repressed Brits, Evil Mexicans, Arab Villains: Why are Hollywood’s animated movies full of racist stereotypes?racial-stereotypes-rio-2-008

Stratification, Part II




Pic from Mobility Measured in The Economist

Here are the links from class – the ones we got to and the one we did not.

Playspent, A challenging budget simulation.

Check(list) Your Privilege, Check what you have and have not faced in your life to get a privilege score.  And/or try MTv quiz “Discover Your Advantages

Do You Live in a Bubble,  a privilege check focused on class

Find out how big your town is here,

This site has lots and lots of information about towns.  It is very fun to click around here.

Mapping Poverty, A New York Times interactive to find areas of high poverty in the nation

Lifestyle Choices and class,

and/or try this one to see how your family’s situation compares to ohers in your zip code

Wonder how race, gender and education impact income? Check this out  Be sure to click on the “You” person on the average income page to see how average income varies for different races, genders and education levels.  


and a little bit more about the costs of being poor



Note: Link fixed

Class segregation, though frequently unspoken and denied,  underlies much of American life.  When it is discussed, it is terms of overcoming it as in rags to riches stories or that the rich are still in touch with their humble roots.  Does class matter for understanding each other?    This week we will look at the different classes, their determinants, characteristics and chances for success.


Read the full comic here.  Thanks Nora for the link!

For Feb 16:

— Bring The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and a laptop

— Read “Your Brain on Poverty”  by Derek Thompson from The Atlantic

A longer version of the story here. (Note: You do not have to read this long version)

— Listen to (or read the transcript) of “What It’s Like To Be Rich”

— Write a response paper answering:

Which would you rather be rich or poor?  And why?

Use at least one quote from BOTH articles to support your argument


The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up