14 SES 07 B, Students, Families and Dynamics of Choice
Research on the geography of opportunity shows that, where people live, influences their access to opportunities (Green 2015) and according to the disparities hypothesis (Kemper/Weishaupt 2011), the system of social stratification coincides with regional differences in the provision of public services, which includes education. Studies in Germany (e.g. Berkemeyer et al. 2014) reveal spatial inequalities regarding the accessibility of childcare, primary, and secondary education programmes on both the state-level (Eastern and Western Germany) as well as the regional level (rural and urban areas). However, opportunities vary also between privileged/disadvantaged neighbourhoods, as shown for the US (Green 2015). Maroy/van Zanten (2009) demonstrate for the European context, that schools in competitive contexts may adapt their school profile (1) in order to recruit a sufficient number of students or (2) to serve different student populations. This can lead to either a diversification or unification of school profiles in a given area, depending on the context (Zymek 2010). Moreover, differences in the range of extra-curricular courses offered to students in German all-day schools, when comparing urban/rural areas and Eastern/Western Germany, are to be found (StEG 2015). Extra-curricular courses make up a non-negligible part of the educational experience in primary schools (extra-curricular courses take place in the context of school but are voluntary and not graded).
While the referred findings represent mostly a macro- and meso-perspective on spatial inequalities in the access to and provision of education, more subtle differences, i.e. differences in the curricular school profiles (e.g. emphasis on sports, languages, etc.) and extra-curricular courses, on the level of socio-economically segregated neighbourhoods in urban areas, have not yet been investigated.
Based firstly on research findings concerning school choice, competition among schools and the adaption of school profiles (Maroy/van Zanten 2009; Lubienski/Gulosino/Weitzel 2009) and secondly on Bourdieu’s theory of the social space and habitus (Bourdieu 1987), as well as research on class- and milieu-related differences in social and cultural practices (Engels/Thielebein 2011; Haut 2011), five factors can be assumed to influence the curricular profile and extra-curricular courses: (1) external conditions and available resources, (2) the school staff’s pedagogical orientations, (3) their assumptions regarding the students, (4) school profiles as a means of student acquisition strategy, and (5) parental engagement. Since (a) parents of privileged milieus are more vocal about their educational interests, (b) disadvantaged parents make less use of school choice and (c) tend to prefer the nearest school (Kristen 2008; Ball/Vincent 1998), an orientation towards privileged milieus in the school profiles might increase the chance of acquiring a higher percentage of easy-to-school students, while having no or only a small negative effect on school enrolment numbers from disadvantaged milieus. Hence, an incentive for schools to orient their profiles towards privileged milieus in both disadvantaged/privileged neighbourhoods is hypothesised. This shall be called the systemic pressure. In German all-day schools, the extra-curricular courses are part of the afternoon programme and are not offered by teachers, but by additional pedagogical staff like educators or social education workers. Because of this different personnel, that is under no pressure to maintain sufficient students numbers and with a different role understanding compared to teachers (Kolbe/Reh 2008) (principal-agent problem), no such pressure is expected for extra-curricular courses. Hence, an orientation towards the locally prevalent milieu is hypothesised and fewer musical/artistic and foreign language/literary courses are expected in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods as well as content-related differences in the qualities of the courses within each thematic category (e.g. fencing vs. football). This leads to the following research question:
Do curricular and extra-curricular offers in Germany’s public primary schools differ between socio-economically disadvantaged and privileged neighbourhoods?
To answer the research question an extreme group comparison of all-day primary schools located in highly disadvantaged and privileged neighbourhoods in the city of Berlin, the German capital and an example for a large European city, is chosen. The focus on primary schools stems from the fact that the German school system uses performance-based tracking of students into different school types post-primary level. The study is limited to all-day schools since the time available for extra-curricular courses varies between all-day and half-day schools. Berlin is particularly suited as a study location because (1) it offers a sufficient number of all-day primary schools in highly disadvantaged and privileged neighbourhoods (N>30; In contrast to other federal states, all schools in Berlin are all-day schools) and (2) a report on the socio-economic status of the city on a city block level, based on a standardised (z-scores) status-index calculated from child poverty, unemployment and long-time unemployment rates as well as the proportion of residents receiving social welfare. These four social statistical indicators are statistically and theoretically reliable in describing spatial socio-economic inequality and segregation (MSS 2015). The study’s population consists of all 130 all-day primary schools in city blocks above +1.0/below -1.0 SD with respect to the status-index. To date, data have been collected and evaluated for 40 of 43 schools in four of the twelve districts to which the sample definition applies. The current sample shows no significant differences in school size. Data collection takes place by means of document analysis of the schools homepages. School pro-files and extra-curricular courses are identified by conducting a content analysis including a thematic coding procedure on the information provided on the school's homepages. On this basis, schools can be assigned multiple profiles (e.g. STEM, languages, and sports). So far, 185 different categories of extra-curricular courses have been identified which are pooled into 21 thematic categories, like sports, computer/media or handicraft. Next, the collected data underwent descriptive (frequency, mean values, standard deviation, odds ratio, chi-square) and inference statistical analyses (t-test/u-test). In order to broaden the scope for more subtle, qualitative differences, the offers are, with reference to Bourdieu, examined in terms of milieu theory for differences regarding their qualities, i.e. their proximity or distance to different social milieus.
On average, disadvantaged schools offer a little more extra-curricular courses per week than schools in privileged neighbourhoods. Moreover, the thematic range of these courses is broader, although both differences are not significant. As for a focus on certain thematic categories, in disadvantaged neighbourhoods courses for (1) social-skill development and for the (2) natural sciences (in a broad sense), but also for (3) reading/writing (not as tutoring), theatre, and dancing are more common. While the first of these findings indicates a demand-orientation, milieu theory explains the focus on natural science groups that are more practical and involve more manual labour, by a bigger proximity to the lifeworld of disadvantaged milieus. By extension, the third finding is in contradiction to this. The observed differences are expected to become significant when more data is collected. Overall, the courses in the two research areas have a high degree of similarity in terms of their qualities. Nevertheless, some qualitative differences exist for dancing (popcultural vs. classical dance styles), music (drumming vs. classical instruments), and especially sports. Tennis, fencing, sailing, rowing, gymnastics, and riding, though in total not widespread, are all exclusive to the privileged neighbourhoods. In disadvantaged schools, however, there is an increased number of new types of sport, practiced mainly by young people, (e.g. parkour), or which are less demanding (e.g. Kettcar driving). With a view to the systemic pressure on school profiles, the orientation towards privileged milieus was only found for privileged neighbourhoods based on a wider dissemination of ‘language’ and ‘music, art, and theatre’ profiles. In comparison, students in disadvantaged neighbourhoods have a higher chance of attending a school with a profile emphasising STEM, support or progressive educa-tion. On a positive note, this can be described as taking into account the interests and needs of the local school clientele
Ball, S. J., & Vincent, C. (1998). ‘I Heard It on the Grapevine’: ‘hot’ knowledge and school choice. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 19(3), 377-400. Berkemeyer, N., Bos, W., Manitius, V., Hermstein, B., Bonitz, M. & Semper, I. (2014). Chancenspie-gel 2014. Regionale Disparitäten in der Chancengerechtigkeit und Leistungsfähigkeit der deutschen Schulsysteme. Bertelsmann Stiftung. Bourdieu, P. (1987). Die feinen Unterschiede. Kritik der Gesellschaftlichen Urteilskraft. Berlin: Suhr-kamp. Engels, D. & Thielebein, C. (2011). Lebenslagen in Deutschland - Armuts- und Reichtumsberichterstattung der Bundesregierung. Zusammenhang von sozialer Schicht und Teilnahme an Kultur-, Bildungs- und Freizeitangeboten für Kinder und Jugendliche, A403. Green, T. L. (2015). Places of Inequality, Places of Possibility. Mapping “Opportunity in Geography” Across Urban School-Communities. The Urban Review, 47 (4), 717–741. Haut, J. (2011). Soziale Ungleichheiten in Sportverhalten und kulturellem Geschmack. Eine empirische Aktualisierung der Bourdieu‛schen Theorie symbolischer Differenzierung. Münster: Waxmann. Kemper, T. & Weishaupt, H. (2011). Region und soziale Ungleichheit. In H. Reinders, H. Ditton, C. Gräsel & B. Gniewosz (Ed.), Empirische Bildungsforschung. Gegenstandsbereiche (p. 209-219). Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden. Kolbe, F.-U. & Reh, S. (2008). Kooperation unter Pädagogen. In T. Coelen & H.-U. Otto (Ed.), Grundbegriffe Ganztagsbildung. Das Handbuch (S. 799-808). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Kristen, C. (2008). Primary School Choice and Ethnic School Segregation in German Elementary Schools. European Sociological Review, 24 (4), 495-510. Lubienski, C., Gulosino, C. & Weitzel, P. (2009). School Choice and Competitive Incentives. Mapping the Distribution of Educational Opportunities across Local Education Markets. American Journal of Education, 115 (4), 601-647. Maroy, C., van Zanten, A. (2009). Regulation and competition among schools in six European localities. Sociologie du Travail, 51 (1), e67-e79. MSS (Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt Berlin, Ed.). (2015). Monitoring Soziale Stadtentwicklung Berlin 2015. StEG (StEG-Konsortium, Ed.). (2015). Ganztagsschule 2014/2015. Deskriptive Befunde einer bundesweiten Befragung. Zymek, B. (2010). Wettbewerb zwischen Schulen als Programm und Wettbewerb als Struktur des Schulsystems. In U. Lange, S. Rahn, W. Seitter & R. Körzel (Ed.), Steuerungsprobleme im Bildungswesen (p. 81-100). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
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