ERG SES E 07, Social Justice and Education
“In the United States almost one half of children born to low income parents become low income adults” (Corak, 2006; pg. 1). The figure in the UK is closer to 40%. This places the conditions of a person’s birth as the single biggest factor determining their life outcomes. Poverty is linked to levels of health, participation in crime, social mobility and even psychological well-being (see Breen & Jonsson, 2005; McLaren, 2007; Schoon et al., 2003). This inequality can be illustrated using the ‘Great Gatsby’ curve which shows a positive correlation between intergenerational earnings elasticity (the likelihood of having the same economic status of your parents) with the Gini coefficient (a measure of inequality). The idea demonstrates that as societal inequality increases so does the likelihood of reliving your parents’ economic lives.
Studies identify the importance of aspiration and educational opportunity to bridge the achievement gap. Gottfredson (1981) pointed to the role that circumscription has in shaping aspirations in children and the challenges it creates in its maintenance, where young people create their own boundaries and constraints. UK government initiatives have attempted to make education accessible to all, (for example the 2019 pupil premium scheme), however this is a blunt instrument as it fails to adequately harness aspiration, leaving many of these learning opportunities untaken.
This study tracks the evolution of career aspirations among five Year 4 cohorts from varying backgrounds through to Year 6 using questionnaires, interviews and focus groups. This study employs an innovative approach where the children act as researchers and lead the interviews and focus groups in addition to providing their own insights on the gathered data.
This paper presents initial findings from the study and reveals significant differences between children from differing backgrounds. It also offers qualitative insights into their perceptions on possible career paths.
Breen, R. and Jonsson, J.O., 2005. Inequality of opportunity in comparative perspective: Recent research on educational attainment and social mobility. Annual review of sociology, pp.223-243. Corak, M., 2006. Do poor children become poor adults? Lessons from a cross-country comparison of generational earnings mobility. In Dynamics of inequality and poverty (pp. 143-188). Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Gottfredson, L.S., 1981. Circumscription and compromise: A developmental theory of occupational aspirations. Journal of Counseling psychology, 28(6), p.545. McLaren, L., 2007. Socioeconomic status and obesity. Epidemiologic reviews, 29(1), pp.29-48. Schoon, I., Sacker, A. and Bartley, M., 2003. Socio-economic adversity and psychosocial adjustment: a developmental-contextual perspective. Social science & medicine, 57(6), pp.1001-1015.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.