The PowerPoint presentation, School and Community (Concordia Online Education, n.d.), demonstrates the theory of school as a social institution. This is true for all schools. Both public and nonpublic schools operate “at the pleasure” of the society in which they exist. Public schools must face this reality in the form of regulations and laws. Nonpublic schools will not continue to exist if they do not meet the needs of the constituency. Therefore, it is important for all schools to identify the needs of the communities they serve.
Take a closer look at the institution called school—and its social functions—through the eyes of Dr. Michael Kearl (2010), an award-winning professor at Trinity University:
I will always remember a sign that hung directly under the clock in one of my middle school classrooms:
“Time Will Pass But Will You?” A haunting thought for the perpetual clock-watchers of the room.
On the spectrum of social functions provided by education, one of the most central is its inculcation of social rhythms. It is here that the young child is first subjugated to the universalistic time demands of the broader society and comes to have his/her rhythms of the day, week, and year shaped by the obligatory student role. In the instance of homework assignments, as Wilbert E. Moore observed in Man, Time, and Society (1963), “the school may extend its temporal control even beyond its physical boundaries and formally allotted hours, with consequent problems for the child and therefore for adults of temporal allocation among family, school, and play or peer-group activities” (p. 24).
The rhythms of this institution echo broadly across many facets of both self and society. At the personal level, they shape individuals’ identities and sense of self- worth. At the social level, the time individuals spend in educational systems is used as a means for sorting and certifying them in terms of their adequacy for work roles—greater school time translates into a higher status level entry into the work world. Ironically, society has not kept pace in redesigning jobs to take advantage of its increasingly educated workforce, leading to over-education and underemployment, worker alienation, and boredom. From the social level, schools can also be understood as an abeyance mechanism, a holding pattern designed to keep the young out of an already crowded workforce.
For most American youngsters, school is the major source of lessons about bureaucratic time—lessons in the genre of social rhythms, which, if observed, allow one to survive and thrive in American adult society. For the educational novice, the shift from the more spontaneous times of family life to the thoroughly structured times of school can be a difficult transition. Consider the following lessons:
- Lateness is defined as being tardy, a punishable offense. Further, school times are totally arbitrary. Lunch time for an elementary school student begins precisely at 11:51 a.m.
- How time can be used as both punishment (students “do time” or are placed in “time out” for failing to conform to rules) and reward (as when “released” early for having done a good job).
- The importance of being on time in terms of one’s educational biography. Schooling is rigidly age-based. Age 10 and still in the second grade = loser. Skipped a grade = winner. Graduate college at age 13 = article about you in the newspaper. Educational timetables instill long-range thinking, providing individuals with a normative path that takes a person from early childhood to early adulthood.
- Precise temporal realms for specific activities, leading to one-at-a-time monochromic thinking. Each subject matter receives its own niche in the flow of school hours. Here middle class students have a distinct advantage over their working class counterparts. The latter, being more likely to have grown up in temporally unstructured homes, do not understand time and feel powerless when placed within time-slotted school environments. Billy, for instance, has not finished his coloring during art time and feels resentment when told to put away his crayons for reading time.
Given the centrality of education to the institution of work and given several decades of declining standardized test scores, it is not surprising that school times have become a matter of considerable political significance. According to a 1994 study by the Education Commission titled Prisoners of Time (National Education Commission on Time and Learning, 1994/2005), American high school students spend only 41 percent of their school days on academic subjects. Secondary school students spend only about three hours per day on core academics.
The study by the National Education Commission on Time and Learning (1994/2005) presented the issue of time this way:
Learning in America is a prisoner of time. For the past 150 years, American public schools have held time constant and let learning vary. The rule, only rarely voiced, is simple: learn what you can in the time we make available. It should surprise no one that some bright, hard-working students do reasonably well. Everyone else—from the typical student to the dropout—runs into trouble. (p. 5)
Assume the issue of time spent in learning during the school day is currently a hot topic in your school and community. Write 3-4 paragraphs that describe the following:
- Based on your school’s current PR efforts and their effectiveness, how would this issue be handled? Would it be managed successfully?
- In what ways could your school present more and/or better positive messages to the community it serves? Provide at least two suggestions.
Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.
Concordia Online Education. (n.d.). School and community [PowerPoint slides]. College of Education, Concordia University, Portland, OR.
Kearl, M. (2010). Temporalities of social institutions. Retrieved from http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/time-4.html
Moore, W. E. (1963). Man, time, and society. New York, NY: Wiley.
National Education Commission on Time and Learning. (2005, October). Prisoners of time [PDF]. (Original work published 1994). Retrieved from http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/64/52/6452.pdf
Please use the link below
The following materials are required studies for this week. Complete these studies at the beginning of the week, and save these materials for future use.
The School and Community Relations (Gallagher, Bagin, & Moore, 2016)
- Chapter 1: The Importance of Public Relations
- Chapter 2: Public Character of the School
- Chapter 3: Understanding the Community
- School and Community (Concordia Online Education, n.d.) [PPT]
- School and Community Partnerships: Information Inventory (Concordia Online Education, n.d.) [PDF]
- National School Public Relations Association (National School Public Relations Association, n.d.) [Web page]