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Assignments. Exams. Projects. Papers. All these are matters of concern to every student undergoing schooling. It is truly inevitable not to endure the hardships brought by these school activities for they are part of education. Without them, education can never be the education most people have in mind. However, one may ask, "What makes education an education?"
For most people, especially parents, education is quite an important aspect in the course of human life such that they regard it as the only thing they can impart to their children as an inheritance. While for others, on the part of the students, education is the stage in their life which would prepare them for future jobs. Likewise, for those students who had a firm grasp of the essence of education consider it as a right to be upheld by the society itself. At the end of the day, there are numerous reasons on why not to take education for granted. However, more than the various connotation of education from different perspectives lay a complex meaning of education.
As such, seeing schooling in the broader sense entails probing the sociology of education. The basic definition of the term "sociology of education" conveys that it is the "study of the institution of education in its broad social context and of various social groups and interpersonal relationships that affect or affected by the functioning of the educational institutions" (Reitman, 1981, p.17). With this meaning, it is but necessary to analyze education not within the four walls of the classroom but beyond the confinements of schools. The larger context then is the society in which schools, the main institution of education, are part of. Belonging to this social order are other key institutions and actors which are essentially significant when examining the sociology of education for these possess power, control and influence that can manipulate and alter the kind of education schools ought to promote and teach to young citizens. Hence, it can be inferred that schools are socially constructed establishments by which powerful elements have the capacity to shape education. Reitman (1981) supported the thought of how society can produce a great impact on pedagogical realm by stating the central principle of schooling which maintains that "schools normally reflects the societyâ€¦ it does not lead society in society's effort to adapt and change. Schools tend to change after the rest of society changes, not beforeâ€¦" (Reitman, 1981, p. 39).
Under this assumption, a study on the role, whether explicit or implicit, of several factors constituting society in the molding process of education is vital to shed light on the issue of how pedagogical structures and methods are developed and set for the pursuance of effective education. It is also noteworthy to express the far-reaching implications of education in the sense that it affects almost every individual. Every person can perhaps be regarded as a stakeholder of education by which each of its aspects, if modified, can create an impact, no matter how minimal it may appear, sufficient enough to seize attention and stir the intellectual and emotional side of the people. Indeed, schooling and education undeniably involves a complex interplay of different elements to which it reacts and to which the produced effects yield to changes in the structure of schooling. These changes on the other hand are oftentimes attached to the interests of the dominant constituent of the social order.
To better illustrate this statement, the paper provides a clear-cut description of the nature of education and the scope of schools as an educational institution. Nonetheless, to further understand the technicalities associated with schools, there is a need to define schools as an educational institution, as well as, to expound the structure of authority evident among these institutions. Moreover, the political dynamics accompanying the sociology of education which may be apparent and obscure at the same time are elucidated under the contexts in which education operates such as the cultural and ideological setting of the politicization of education, the milieu of power configurations and relations, and the framework of globalization. Certain pedagogical implications are also explicated to illustrate the wide-ranging bearing of educational reforms or policies on concerned and affected individuals as a whole.
Understanding schooling and education in this approach allows the people to view and analyze schooling and education objectively and critically. In this manner, learners, educators, as well as those people who have no access to education, may no longer be mere passive recipients of the conceptions of education as prescribed by the society; rather, they may be the critics of diverse pedagogical perceptions who aim not only the betterment of education itself but the rectitude of knowledge and consciousness schools propagate as well. In connection with this, Henry Giroux (1985) asserted, "the need for a passionate commitment by educators to make the political more pedagogical, that is, to make critical reflection and action a fundamental part of a social project that not only engages forms of oppression but also develops a deep and abiding faith in the struggle to humanize life itself" (Freire, 1921, p. 5). It is certainly a conviction and a challenge all at once that is not simple and easy to actualize, however, displaying a demeanor of open mindedness and critical thinking, such may be achieved.
To realize this kind of goal is to take a step-by-step scrutiny of the sociology of education. Initially, a description of schools as an educational institution would help facilitate the study. Educational institutions are considered part of the society which exist "to help preserve or modify the conditions of life by promoting teaching and learning of one sort or another" (Reitman, 1981, p. 25). These institutions are also responsible for the continuity of social norms, values, customs and traditions in a certain societal area, as one generation passes after another. However, it is important to note that institutions of education do not necessarily denote schools for there are those which have no formalized curriculum or program of instruction, just like what schools have. Those belonging to this type are referred to as the informal educational institutions. These include, as enumerated by Sandford W. Reitman (1981), families, peer groups, mass media, work places, church, special-interest groups, social service agencies and the social class or the social stratum. Schools, on the other hand, are identified as the formal educational institutions. Nevertheless, it is surprising to know that the informal institutions have more encompassing influence than the formal ones due to the fact that they occupy a larger portion of the society.
Meanwhile, Reitman (1981) on his book entitled, "Education, Society, and Change", explained that a changing society that moves forward to a more complex state requires, in effect, a more systematized process of cultural transmission which informal educational institutions cannot fully ensure. Thus, the formation of formal educational institutions or what most people commonly know as "schools" was introduced. Herein lies various views regarding the issues on what the schools ought to do as part of the society, on what pedagogical methods they should adapt, on how changes in society affect schooling per se, and on how schools consolidate different predispositions of several stakeholders and other equally significant considerations.
One of the perspectives delineated in relation to the above-mentioned concerns was the image of school as both a factory-like and temple-like institution. Deal and Peterson (1994) provided two metaphors which mirror contending perceptions about the purpose and design of schools. One metaphor portrays the image of schools being a factory while the other signifies them as cathedrals or temples. The former symbol perceives schools in a rational way such that schools function like a factory which "focuses on results, outputs, structures and roles" (Deal & Peterson, 1994, p. 70). Such comparison presupposes the goal-oriented approach of schools with regards to their main concerns: student control and academic achievement. In this manner, schools manifest organized, systematized and technical fashion of delivering their functions. Moreover, "this way of looking at school emphasizes the importance of managing their technical mission: instruction" (Deal & Peterson, 1994, p. 70).
On the other hand, the latter representation is the symbolic image of schools being envisioned as a temple by which the responsibility of schools to make sure that cultural patterns and practices adhere to the existing values and beliefs of the society is assured. Likewise, it is but necessary to state that "this conception embraces the importance of values, commitment, passion, vision, and heart-key ingredients of a beloved institution" (Deal & Peterson, 1994, p. 71). In this picture, Deal and Peterson (1994) stressed that the factory-like functions of schools are only "secondary" to that of the functions of the temple figure of schools. Such assumes that these "factory" roles are to maintain the "temple" character of schools.
Another view on the aspect of school as an educational institution was the belief that schooling opportunity can be considered as "one of the best investments a society could make to ensure its own future" (Hurn, 1993, p. 264). Christopher J. Hurn (1993) expounded such an optimistic notion of schooling prevalent during the 1970's, stating that education reinforces cognitive competence among citizens of a country which the national economy would necessitate eventually from its populace. In addition to the ambiance of optimism, the "faith" in education emerged. This so-called "faith" mainly points out that education plays an important role in shaping "a more humane, tolerant, and democratic social order". It is this idea that propagated the impression of how schooling molds the society towards "reason and knowledge rather than tradition and prejudice" (Hurn, 1993, p. 264).
Both of these perceptions of schooling constitute only a few out of the other diverse perspectives of the essence of education. It is important to note, however, the major difference between the two: the former assumes that it is the society which is responsible for the school's make-up simply by comparing it with other institutions of the community, while the latter presupposes that the school and its educational structure primarily affects what the society would be like. Which among the two or the other views of education and schooling would be true is something relative to the interpretation of different people with different stake on education itself. Nevertheless, it is relevant to take into consideration the role of a variety of factors and the interplay of these elements that influence the manner by which people would interpret education. It is because such inclusion to the analysis of the nature and scope of education could perhaps account for the dichotomized, or even disparate, perceptions of schooling. Further explanations and details regarding this perceptual divide in aspect of schooling would be given specific focus under the discussion of the political dynamics in education found in the succeeding paragraphs.
On the other hand, to shed light on the true nature of education and schooling, objective analysis of the functions and the structure of formal education must be taken into account. Reitman (1981) coined the term "traditional 'manifest' functions" to refer to the functions of schools, particularly American schools, which are demanded by the society. These purposes that tend to serve the social order include the following: (1) selecting and sorting people out for adult roles, considered the most significant manifest function of schools by which students are classified according to academic merits which in turn became the basis for their ability to be qualified in the preexisting economic and social positions; (2) building and maintaining nationalism and citizenship, contextualized during colonial and revolutionary days schools have the duty to establish, inculcate and uphold into student's mind allegiance to the national state; (3) transmitting traditional culture, as already mentioned in the previous paragraph, cultural transmission is a relevant obligation of schools that is realized through formal teaching of history and literature; (4) socialization, this, on the other hand, is concerned with the introduction of customs and traditions that are uniformly accepted by the society to the students; (5) propagating religious faith, this applies more to the function of schools in times of colonial period when widespread religious teachings were necessitated to establish colonization; (6) teaching basic skills, reflective of the life-styles and cultural patterns of the society; (7) vocational training, for the mitigation of unemployment in one's economy; and (8) character education, many argued that this purpose is more vital than the first one since this incorporates moral and ethical norms of society which often change overtime (Reitman, 1981, pp. 36-39).
Aside from these traditional functions are the emerging school purposes which Reitman (1981) deemed "newer" and "controversial" in a sense that they incite deviance from the fundamental and traditional assumptions of education functions. Here are the additional eight functions schools are expected to follow: (1) personal and social problem solving, as manifested in social studies curriculum, schools must be able to adapt to the changing degree of complexity of the society by which individuals and groups are able to solve problems concerning their personal lives and their social environment in which they are part of; (2) social competence in a secondary society, recognizing alterations in the society's operating contexts, one must be able to be adjust to meet new realizations imposed by the new society; (3) diffusion of new knowledge, innovations in technologies resulted to new discoveries that must be taught for students to learn how to cope with a new society different from that of their parent's; (4) providing equality of opportunity for a social position, provision of educational opportunities that are accessible to everyone regardless of race, are, gender or economic/social status so as to promote equal competition in the economic marketplace; (5) sex and family life education, the issue of whether schools should involve participation of family and church institutions in teaching such topics which are of immense concern to both; (6) increased functional literacy, the introduction of modern communication aids like visual media put pressure on schools to redesign the "basic skills" component of their curriculum to integrate latest advancement in technology; (7) development of cosmopolitan attitudes, Reitman (1981) identified vis-à-vis the idea of cosmopolitanism the role of schools to educate their students to "live in such an urbanized, secular, global community" (8) existential creativity, development of the "free school" movement and the thought of "open classroom", which perhaps paved the way for the modern idea of "academic freedom", provide sufficient grounds for personal expressions of students (Reitman, 1981, pp. 39-43)
However, it is important to note that what Reitman (1981) had enumerated as "new" functions of schools may not necessarily imply the same thing today considering the year such purposes were observed. Yet, these are still relevant facts useful in the analysis of how the sociology of education goes about in line with these functions. Moreover, it is probable to infer that these functions are still regarded as profound insights of school purpose suitably addressed to third world countries.
With these purposes and roles of schools and the education that comes with them defined, the need for their fulfillment was to be embodied in the curriculum. The curriculum acts as the means by which the school put into action the functions intended to serve the society (Reitman, 1981). It is described as "an organized sequence of learning experiences" that seeks to strengthen the concept of education as a tool for the development of knowledge and understanding (Peters, 1991, p.5).
In relation to the curriculum schools choose to implement, Reitman (1981) distinguished two of its kinds: the official curriculum and the invisible curriculum. The former which is also known as the formal curriculum reflects the preferred educational purpose of the school and comprises mandated instructions regarding learning processes, usually characterized by the subjects included, the students will experience as they interact with their teachers. On the one hand, the second type of curriculum is called the invisible curriculum. It is "invisible" in the sense that schools have hidden curricular activities such that the invisible curriculum "may be understood as school activity that commonly takes place as part of the implementation of the official program, but which is not officially mandated" (Reitman, 1981, pp. 4-5). An example of the implementation of the invisible curriculum is when teachers try to reinforce a sense of superiority among students in the society, to motivate them to study and to maintain their grades qualified for college admissions through mentioning the school's impressive record of getting its graduates into prominent universities (Reitman, 1981). As Hugh Sockett (n.d.) remarked on his article "Curriculum Planning: Taking a Means to an End", curriculum is indeed the means which schools utilize to reach the end (Peters, 1973).
Looking at the curriculum-based facet of schools, it may appear that schooling has its own way of perceiving and analyzing reality objectively such that the institution itself has no place in the political spectrum of society. It is as if the school is out of the box, or in other words, it is apart from the society it studies, when in reality, schools are affected by the spontaneous and dynamic changes happening in the society. The fact that curricula are set by someone or some group of individuals belonging to the school administration or to a higher level of institution which has a say on the matter emphasizes the idea of school being a political institution, contrary to the belief that schools are nonpolitical institutions and that schooling, as an effect, is a nonpolitical affair. As Reitman (1981) reiterated the idea, he asserted:
"â€¦.elementary and secondary schools, as well as most colleges and universities, have always been involved in struggles for power over the ends and means of education (underscoring mine). Today, public schools are increasingly forced to compete with other agencies of government for scarce financial and other resources. Schoolingâ€¦ has been a major political endeavor since colonial timesâ€¦." (Reitman, 1981, pp.321-322)
This statement proves how schooling and education go beyond the four walls of a classroom. In addition, formal education is claimed to be a semblance of a political system and in effect, schooling is somewhat a "highly" political endeavor (Reitman, 1981). Herein, the taking into account of the structure of authority in formal education to better describe how school became politicized by various factors is necessary. Also, it is important to note that the structure of authority falls under two kinds, whether it be informal or formal: the informal aspect refers to the power and influence of interest groups in the realm of school or educational politics while the formal type implies the hierarchy of authority from the lowest division in the school administration to the higher offices of the state government (Reitman, 1981).
Reitman (1981) stated that it is in the schooling processes that school politics starts to develop. It is through these processes that different people want to benefit from in the forms of higher salaries, greater financial assistance for curricular and extracurricular programs, or larger funds for capital outlays for new buildings or updated textbooks, that developed the notion of school politics. With all these interests of different people consolidated according to their similarities, there form interest groups, considering that individual efforts will be likely ignored by higher school officials or decision-makers unless that person is the representative of the group or that individual possesses political influence due to financial and social resources. Participation of these groups to implement their particular educational concerns is made realized through political process (Reitman, 1981). Raywid (n.d.), as quoted by Reitman (1981), separated interest groups into two groups: the "legitimate" groups and the "illegitimate" ones. The difference lies in the three rules to which these groups abide in making and pressing their claims. The rules are (1) rules of evidence (is the truth being sincerely sought after and exposed when found?); (2) rules of democracy (is the group open and above board about its motives and methods?); (3) rules of common decency (does the group avoid smear campaigns and slanderous literature?) (Reitman, 1981, p. 329). Under the "legitimate" interest group category cited by most political scientists are the local teacher's organizations, Parent-Teacher Association, civic organizations, civil rights organizations, local chambers of commerce and branches, and ad-hoc groups of budget-minded taxpayers. Whether these groups support or attack schools in favor of their interests, Raywid considered them legitimate for they adhere to the three sets of broad criteria mentioned above (Reitman, 1981).
Meanwhile, Bailey (n.d.) also classified interest groups into two basic types: those pro-school and those in opposition to schools. The former includes (1) educational academics (teachers of teachers) who are very important in initiating debate on many political issues; (2) state educational and political officials who bargain with lobbyist, pass laws, and issue directives; (3) professional educators; and (4) "surprise" actors, that is, coalitions of citizens who align with schools for various reasons. On the other hand, the latter consists of (1) the Roman Catholic Church; (2) tax-minded business groups or owners of commercial real estate; (3) rural groups such as farmer's associations which tend to oppose increasing state involvement in education; (4) conservative politicians and state officials, whose pressures and exposure in the mass media often prevent additional spending for education; and ironically, (5) schoolpersons themselves for their "failure to understand, develop, and use political machinery available within their own ranks" to pursue educational improvements (Reitman, 1981, pp. 329-330).
Aside from the enumerated characteristics of interest groups that make each one different from another, Reitman (1981) concluded that ideological biases strongly influence varying perceptions of the informal nature of power and influence over educational reforms of interest groups.
Having discussed the informal aspects of control wielded by interest groups, the shift to the formal one is directed to the role of the state government and the personnel in position with respect on their influence in education. There are four essential authority personalities who correspond, though not entirely, to the formal structure of authority in formal education. The first one is the state governor or the chief executive. Recognizing the essence of state educational politics which according to Reitman (1981) is the bargaining between interest group and elected or appointed officials, the governor stands as the "key to the extensive bargaining that goes on between spokepersons lobbying for organized educational interests, such as the state teacher's association or union or the state chamber commerce" (Reitman, 1981, p.343). The next two officials are under the local government: the school board and the school superintendent. The school boards, according to sociologist Norman Kerr (n.d.), have the responsibility to legitimize policies of the school system to the community, in contrast to the common notion that their task is to represent the community to the school administration in line with educational program. On the one hand, they hire school superintendents who are professional experts in the field of formal education. Hence, superintendents became agents of the boards such that they work with them to accomplish objectives at hand which were identified by the school boards and the community to be relevant given certain conditions (Reitman, 1981). The last wielder of influence would be the personnel closest and most accessible to those who need to be educated, the teachers or professors. Although they are large in number, most of them are passive recipients of pedagogical instructions set by those people higher than them in terms of authority. Often times, they are also not fully aware of the political aspects of education particularly those teachers of elementary and secondary schooling. In this regard, Reitman (1981) raised a challenge for the teachers to contemplate and deliberate on, saying that:
"Once teachers have seen through the defeating myth of nonpoliticalization of schooling and have begun to comprehend how the myth desensitizes teachers to objective diagnosis of some of their student's genuine learning needs, they have reasonable chance to proceed realistically on behalf of their own and their student's interests. Armed with the realization that no single one, but rather a variety of sophisticated interest groups possess political clout in this society, a teacher can, if so inclined, participate with other like-minded professionals in organizational efforts to develop political power in educational affairs." (Reitman, 1981, p. 351)
Such strong and straightforward statement implies how great the capacity of teachers is in initiating actions calling for improvements in education. However, the implication of this idea also goes with the critical analysis of how formal influence and power to set the manner and content of teaching trickles down from the highest authoritative body to the lowest group of teachers, as educational perspective becomes modified through each level of authority.
In this respect enters the political dynamics occurring in the realm of education that entails departure from the confined conception of schooling. Here, it assumes that there exists a larger framework in which conflicting interests of those interest groups and the complex struggle over influence and power of those key actors discussed above are part of and are in the state of continuous interaction. Yet, this larger context also contains competing paradigms of ideological and/or cultural viewpoints which serve as the instrument that shape contrasting interpretations and perceptions of schooling and education.
The debate about what schools ought to teach emanated from ideological disparities. These differences on ideologies, on the other hand, resulted from the diverse assessment concerning the critique of the traditional belief of schools as an educational institution. This long-established principle holds that schools "taught fundamental skills and basic knowledge of the society's culture and institution, promoted cognitive development, and fostered such essentially modern attitudes and values as tolerance, respect for rationality, and openness to new ideas" (Hurn, 1993, p. 270). This view was challenged by three major educational ideologies: the conservative, the liberal or reform and the radical or reconceptualist.
The conservative educational ideologies, as expounded by Reitman (1981), strive to "perpetuate" the socioeducational status quo. Herein lies three rationales, provided by Reitman (1981), that explain education in the angle of the conservatives. The first one is the ideological view of education as human engineering. It explains schooling as a "utility" designed at making students just the way the society requires them to be and not the other way around by which these students would likely become the critics of that society. This ideology is greatly exhibited in the school's pedagogical measures and curricula such as career education, behavior modification, accountability, the competency movement (which subsumes competency/performance-based teacher education), programmed instruction and teaching machines, behavioral objectives, and performance contracting. The next rationale under the conservative ideology is centered on education as revival of the fundamentals. The idea of "revivalistic fundamentalism" fosters the back-to-basics principle such that supporters of conservatism eagerly demand for stricter school policies (i.e. hair and dress codes) as well as tougher academic standards and grading system. Such creed of conservatives is too extreme such that they even argued that new curricula and progressive teaching methods tend to undermine basic skills which may lead to educational "decline and decay" (Hurn, 1993). The third and last conservative belief is education as knowledge for the sake of knowledge. As the phrase implies, it basically advocates schooling as a tool directed towards guiding the students in their pursuit of personal intellectual development.
To further understand the conservative educational ideology, its basic difference to radical ideology would be helpful. Hurn (1993) stated that most of the arguments asserted by the conservatives negate the claims of the radicals. For instance, radical theorists argue that schools are "major props of the established order" while conservatives opposed it by claiming that schools, in fact, promote "cultural and moral relativism" which lead to the disintegration of the "homogenous set of cultural and moral ideals" of schools such that it further caused the decline of their authority "cajole or inspire the young to learn what they have to teach" (Hurn, 1993). Adding evidence to the divergence of both ideologies, Freire (1921) in his language of crisis and critique averred that conservatives claim that schools fell short in realizing its purpose to meet the demands and imperatives of the capitalist market economy, thereby, implying that conservatives preserve the status quo of the society, being capitalist in nature. Conversely, schools which act as "reproductive sites that smoothly provide the knowledge, skills, and social relations necessary for the functioning of the capitalist economy and dominant society" are merely "reflex of the labor market" in the viewpoint of the radicals (Giroux, 1985). In such image of schools, the means for critical thinking and transformative action are not embodied in the education they provide.
The second educational ideology was the liberal or reform type. Reitman (1981) categorized four conceptions about education under this ideological perspective which all seek to modify society as it changes continuously through time via educational processes. These are basically different from the conservatives in terms of their approach regarding norms and values that appear to be obsolete as time passes. Liberals or reformists prefer to preserve them and to integrate improvements for their continuity in contrast to conservatives who will insist in reviving such forgotten customs (Reitman, 1981).
The first one among the liberal/reform conceptions is the view of education as ethnic revitalization. This caters developments such as ethnic studies, multicultural education, bilingual education, and community control so as to represent schools as venues for the unification of the diverse nature of a pluralistic society in terms of ethnic differences. Next in line is the second belief which is education as social reengineering. Although this is somewhat similar to the notion of "human engineering" feature of education employed by the conservative theorists, liberals' "social reengineering" boils down to the goal of improving social conditions through technological means and management procedures. On the other hand, the third liberal idea sees education as therapeutic interaction. Contrary to the strict version of school rules and the traditional authoritarian mode of teaching advocated by the conservatives, reformists stress the need to "humanize" the school as an institution and to provide greater autonomy for teachers and students. Such academic freedom enables them to choose and apply among the variety of pedagogical methods the most suitable and most effective for them. The last one expresses education as exploration of the future. Simply put, it tries to explain education as one that prepares its students for the future, taking into account the incessant societal changes (Reitman, 1981).
Meanwhile, Hurn (1993) recognized another educational principle of the liberal/reformist ideology which was equally important to mention, that is functional paradigm of education. More than the role of schooling in adapting to social transformations, it also performs an important task which is to introduce and provide the students with educational credentials. Such qualifications gained by the students when they graduate make them eligible for jobs. Indeed, educational credentials serve as the "fair and rational way of allocating positions" according to the functional paradigm theorists (Hurn, 1993). However true this assumption is in reality, the functional paradigm is weak for it overgeneralized the tendency of all occupations to require among job applicants impressive educational credentials. It is not always the case that such happens. Despite the increasing complexity of work and the growing demand for a more extensive educational background in the present as well in the future, there will always be one among various occupations which will ascertain that the idea of functional paradigm will not, for all times, hold as true and viable (Hurn, 1993).
The last educational ideology which created an intense impact on educational thought due to its rebuttal of the traditional way of schooling was the radical or the reconceptualist ideology. The proponents of this ideology advocate and impose a complete overhaul of the social order for they are preoccupied with dissatisfaction with the existing society. The school as an institution, they argued, "has dangerously overstepped the limits of its capacity to benefit modern individuals or collective social life" (Reitman, 1981, p. 305-306). In this regard, Reitman (1981) listed two central idea of the radical/ reconceptualist ideology: first, education as a strategy of revolution and second, education as anarchy. Both of these key points of radicals defined the need to conduct a thorough reconceptualization of individual and social priorities through educational means. However, this suggests an entire revision of the concept and structure of schools given that schools are regulated by the capitalist bourgeoisies, as depicted by radical theorists (Hurn, 1993). In line with this argument, schooling now serves the purpose of producing "employees who would submit to the repressive demands of work in a hierarchical, capitalist society" and of concealing "the dominance of inherited power and privilege by persuading people that intelligence and effort were the sole determinants of success" (Hurn, 1993, p.270). Moreover, the most remarkable claim that radicals insist which provoked other ideological theorists as well as those educational ones, is that "schooling fostered passive conformity rather than active engagement, and unthinking obedience to the status quo rather than independent and critical thought" (Hurn, 1993, p.270).
On the other hand, critics of radical/reconceptualist ideology argued that the latter overestimated the uniformity of elite groups with regards to their exploitative stance over the proletariat. At the same time, they also underestimated "the extent to which contemporary schools increasingly mirror the real cultural diversity of the society" such that it may not necessarily follow that schools solely manifest the capitalist nature of society. In fact, reality suggests that schools are "exposed to multiple and conflicting values and ideals both in and out of school" making them critical of their educational standards. (Hurn, 1993).
At this point, radical theorists, particularly neo-Marxists, stressed that the different values and clashing stance on the view of education of various groups lead to struggles among them, and that schooling itself involves these conflicts. A relevant manifestation of this is what Bourdieu (1977) and Illich (1970) pointed out in which they related that schools, aside from teaching knowledge and culture, also impart "a particular form of knowledge or consciousness and the values and ideals of one group rather than another" to their students (Hurn, 1993, p. 271). Furthermore, they concluded that it is in this context of schooling by which ideological disputes take shape such that these "struggles between groups for control over the hearts and minds of the young, struggles in which those group who have economic and political power have considerable advantages" (Hurn, 1993, p.271).
Going beyond the notion of schooling where education epitomizes the struggles over power configurations and power relations as prevalent contradictions between cultural and ideological beliefs persist, Paulo Freire (1921) made a striking remark on the role of schools which are bounded by the superior society when he wrote, "schools represent only one important site where education takes place, where men and women both produce and are the product of specific social and pedagogical relations" (Freire, 1921, p 4). It is also necessary to mark how such power struggles change the course of the sociology of education. In the emergence of the "new" sociology of education, Freirian concept of education holds that education be "meaningful in a way that makes it critical and, hopefully, emancipatory" such that education acknowledges questions relating the relations among knowledge, power and domination. In this line, education may in some way, be politicized to serve as a springboard for self and social empowerment in the society, more than its function to "legitimize" ideologies (Freire, 1921). The potential ability of schools through profound pedagogy to embolden the oppressed groups of people belonging to an oppressive society when realized can perhaps imply far-reaching developments in the sociology of education. Reitman (1981), on the other hand, supported the idea in his context of "liberal" education in the sense that schooling and education tries to veer away from "unjustifiable convention and tradition so that they may pursue their varied objectives in life with greater intelligence and autonomy" (Reitman, 1981, p. 351). Moreover, he even posed a question which strongly suggests the importance of education to devote its efforts toward the understanding of the larger phenomena which people make and to which human existence is part of. The question is: "Is it conceivable that one of the most liberalizing educations any teacher (or lay citizen for that matter) can receive at present is an education concerned about how social life is controlled, by who, and why?" (Reitman, 1981, p. 353).
In relation to this, Paulo Freire (1921) in his book entitled "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", added equally significant considerations in viewing education as a "liberating" instrument for people. Education, as an evident witness or sometimes an indirect mechanism of power configurations and struggles for power, "has a lot to do with the reinvention of power" (Freire, 1921, p. 20). It is for the reason of the nature and scope of power that Freire posed such challenge to education. For him, "power works both on and through people" and so, schooling does possess the opportunity to define clearly how power "works" on and through these individuals (Freire, 1921, p. 19). Consciousness and awareness of this power conception, bringing with it different political perceptions and ideologies, plays a vital role on Freire's "emancipatory" character of his radical pedagogy. That is, educators must not reinforce the learner's "false consciousness" which emanates from the mere dictates and whims of the existing political structure dominant in the society, instead, "education of a liberating character is a process by which the educator invites learners to recognize and unveil reality critically" (Freire, 1921, p. 102), in which the plausibility of educators to explain "how social life is controlled, by who, and why", as Reitman recognized, is an immense evidence of liberal education.
Yet, it is still imperative to study education and schooling in its global context so as to finally complete the critical probing of the sociology of education. In this light, the far-reaching significance of education to almost every person is manifested such that pedagogical measures are in continuous process of examination for the drafting of policies and reforms which aim to improve and develop schooling. Given this observation, it has been stated that schools are regarded as an instrument that purports to serve the society. Thus, educational policies and reforms would likely strengthen its obligation to uphold the society's interest. However, the complexity of the present era where capitalism greatly dominates and describes almost all of the societies in the globe, particularly in the third word, does not entail a homogenous interest of all societies. There exist differences among these societies such that a practice of something which favors one society may not be viable to another for it may lead to possible dissolution of the fundamental norms and beliefs of the latter. This also holds true for educational methods and pedagogical practices currently in force in different countries. In the same way, educational policies and reforms that are feasible to other capitalist nations may not necessarily be practical for other countries which are not capitalist in nature. As such, the concept of a new ideology, adding to the preexisting set of political paradigms, known as neoliberalism enters the walls of classrooms.
Carolyn Gallaher (2009) defined neoliberalism as the modern term for the economic principle known as the laissez-faire which basically holds the principle that economy must stand on its own, that is, without government interference, for it to work efficiently and effectively. Government intervention in the form of tariffs, quotas and subsidies is neglected in the concept of neoliberalism. With this definition, neoliberalism "has underpinned educational policy shifts around the world over the last two decadesâ€¦ it is the self-responsibilizing, self-capitalizing individual that is the desired product of neoliberal education policy reforms" (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010, p. 184). Such was the goal of neoliberalism in the realm of schooling and so as to propagate its objective, neoliberal policies are drafted and imposed to societies. These policies penetrated almost all possible channels and education was not an exemption. As such, these neoliberal policies act as educational imperatives which are made to adapt the changing global phenomena which are larger and more encompassing than the scope of the struggles among specific groups. Challenges arise because of the decreasing influence and power of the government to pursue its commitment to educational opportunity and equality. Without a doubt, the state machineries to secure the welfare of its people under the educational institutions are undermined, In addition, neoliberal policies on education imply that schools dependence on market and privatization options that will certainly delimit educational right to a mere privilege for only few people would now have access to education ((Rizvi & Lingard, 2010). It is but necessary to state that political dynamics in education at the global framework involves a more complex and dynamic interplay of different ideologies and interests.
All of the points discussed above, from the perspectives lying inside the school to the factors shaping the school as an institution itself up to the global context, do have its certain degree of pedagogical implications. With specific focus on the global policies imposed on education, Burbules and Torres (2000) stated how neoliberalism affected educational practice:
"In educational terms, there is a growing understanding that the neoliberal version of globalizationâ€¦is reflected in an educational agenda that privileges, if not directly imposes, particular policies for evaluation, financing, assessment, standard, teacher training, curriculum, instruction, and testing" (Burbules & Torres, 2000, p. 8).
On the other hand, educational reforms produced an impact on educational practice through pedagogical adjustments. This implies either a structural form of pedagogy in which attention is drawn to educational organizations. Delineation of their goals, hierarchies, formal roles and responsibilities, interaction among its members and formal strategies that coordinate them towards common objectives, and finally, the coordination of their work with its external environment was their pedagogical focus. Whereas, the political perspective had its focus on individual and group self-interests, conflict, and power (Conley & Cooper, 1991). It is also significant to note that educational policies or reforms which seek to improve education "have shifted toward restructuring the work environments of schools, redefining teacher's roles and responsibilities, and redistributing leadership and power within schools" (Conley & Cooper, p. 201). Yet, an important factor to take into consideration when implementation of reforms or adjustments on pedagogy was to take place is the compatibility of these initiatives with the existing culture of schools (Conley & Cooper, 1991). However, as what have been stated above, global trends which are associated with the concept of neoliberalism do not follow such "compatibility" factor because the mechanism was to impose neoliberal policies regardless of its consequences on the culture of societies. What matters most for the proponents of neoliberalism were the economic implications of these policies for the benefit of the few dominant groups.
On the whole, the probing of the sociology of education proved that there are a wide array of political actors and groups who are accountable for the shaping of education from the microcosm to the macrocosm level of schooling. In this regard, the paper had truly gone beyond the four walls of classroom. It had defined the nature of schooling in relation to its purpose and role in the society and to its structure of authority. The political dynamics present in education, which are often ignored, characterized by conflicting ideological positions, power struggles as well as the exploitative nature of the globalization trend was also delineated. Pedagogical implications which may be general yet true in specific ways had also been explained. However, a more in-depth analysis and study of the far-reaching implications of the implementation of such policies is recommended to further demarcate and to better understand the far-reaching implications of neoliberal policies on educational practice upon implementation. Also, the need for educational responses in the face of such pressures be defined to convey the stand of the public sector concerning the regulation of pedagogical measures by market mechanisms and capitalists forces, whether educational institutions be subjected to policies which embody no government intervention. These educational responses are expected to emanate from the teacher unions, social movements and critical intellectuals, as what Burbules and Torres (2000) asserted.
On the one hand, the paper seeks to remind once again the readers that in the course of the sociology of education, one must always analyze education and schooling objectively and critically- that is, always looking at the who's, the how's and the why's of every concept that molds education as it is for education is not a mere compilation of paper works or exams but, just like in Freire's view, education is:
"â€¦.that terrain where power and politics are given a fundamental expression, since it is where meaning, desire, language, and values engage and respond to the deeper beliefs about the very nature of what it means to be human, to dream, and to name and struggle for a particular future and way of lifeâ€¦." (Freire, 1921, p.21)