ERIC Number: ED293942
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Feb-25
Reference Count: N/A
Social Capital in the Development of Human Capital: The Ambiguous Position of Private Schools.
Coleman, James S.
Schools are more effective for students from strong family backgrounds than for those from weak ones as a result of the interaction between the resources devoted by the family to the child's education, and the resources provided by the school. The elements the family supplies towards the child's education must be developed through investment in "social capital," defined as the resources that reside in the social structure itself--norms, social networks, and interpersonal relationships that contribute to a child's growth. Comparison of the dropout rates of Catholic schools with those of public schools demonstrates that the social capital contained by the school community is an important factor in a youth's educational attainment. But the social capital in American families and neighborhoods available for raising children has declined precipitously over the past 25 years because of changes in society including increased individualism, the narcissistic trends among adults, and the migration of mothers into the labor force. The social capital available to a child in a private school is often minimal, because there is no parent community to support the child. Private schools have the task of forming a school community from a set of independent individuals, and they have evolved in some ways to carry out this task. Studies are described that compare achievement of students in private and public schools, and in developing and developed countries. Two graphs are appended. (BJV)
Descriptors: Catholic Schools, Cross Cultural Studies, Dropout Rate, Elementary Secondary Education, Family Characteristics, Family School Relationship, Human Capital, Investment, Parent Associations, Parent Participation, Parent Role, Parent Student Relationship, Private Schools, Public Schools, School Activities, School Community Relationship, School Role, Social Capital
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Independent Schools (New York, NY, February 15-26, 1988).