Interested in social justice and education? This new addition to the OISE   Library collection may be of interest to you:

  Class Rules: Exposing Inequality in American High Schools — Peter W.     Cookson Jr. (306.432 C773C)

  In his new book, Class Rules: Exposing Inequality in American High         Schools Peter Cookson challenges the idea that public high school education acts as the great equalizer in modern American society. Geography, rather than academic success or extra-curricular achievement is identified by Cookson as having both the greatest, and the longest lasting impact, on the social-class trajectories of students.

According to Cookson, high schools reinforce and perpetuate social class positions through “rites of passage” that instil in pupils the “values, dispositions, and beliefs of their class” (Cookson, 2013 p. 1) which acts to reproduce class inequalities. As evidence, Cookson compares the social cultures and curriculums of five high schools with markedly different class compositions and shows how the structure and class consciousness of each school serves to perpetuate existing social and economic inequalities.

Although Cookson is focused on the American education and class systems, his study is nevertheless relevant for Canadian educators and policy makers, as his social/psychological theory explaining how teenagers develop class consciousness through the high school experience is universally applicable.

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