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ERIC Number: ED173259
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979
The Back to Basics Curriculum as a Social Control Mechanism.
Vickery, Tom Rusk; Smith, Cynthia G.
Based on a review of literature by proponents and opponents of the back to basics movements, the authors contend that the movement will contribute to the continued existence of a stratified society in which the school reproduces existing power relationships. A summary of the literature of proponents presents varying ideas of what constitutes "basics" in terms of curriculum, testing, standards, discipline, school structure, instructional methodology, and parental involvement. However, a broad outline may be described. The child is expected to fit into a school that views successful education as that which helps people fit into the system. The strong emphasis on subject matter is at the expense of social issues that might arouse disagreement among parents. The student accepts authority and the curricular decisions of adults. Opponents see the movement as coercive, ignoring the individuality of the student, uninformed, and culturally biased. Many opponents wish to define basics in their own terms: as flexibility in structuring the school environment, as a liberal education, and as social development. Both groups fail to recognize the crucial nature of family support and the effect on those students lacking the "right" kind of family. Effects of either approach would depend on supportiveness or opposition of the family. Thus, the poorest and most deprived will be excluded from "basics" schools by virtue of their not being the "right" kind of student from the "right" kind of family. (Author/KC)
Descriptors: Authoritarianism, Basic Skills, Competency Based Education, Educational Attitudes, Educational Change, Educational Discrimination, Educational Needs, Educational Practices, Educational Problems, Educational Trends, Elementary Secondary Education, Family Role, Power Structure, Social Structure, State of the Art Reviews
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Syracuse Univ., NY. School of Education.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A