Schools, Cultural Mobility, and Social Reproduction: The Case of Progressive Discipline
Keywords:cultural capital, cultural mobility, class reproduction, Progressive Discipline, school discipline, partial compensation theory of education
AbstractAbstract: Drawing on a case study of Progressive Discipline (PD), this paper asks: How does greater discretion, flexibility and parent involvement affect the application of school policy? What are the consequences of these conditions? PD is part of a suite of changes that caters to students’ individualized academic and social needs while formalizing increased parent involvement. Drawing on forty-four interviews with school staff members, we find that PD has the potential to enhance students’ social and behaviour literacy. And yet, educators are unable to fully tame higher-SES (Socio-Economic Status) parents. According to our interviewees, higher-SES parents are more likely to participate in disciplinary proceedings, confront and threaten school staff and negotiate more favourable disciplinary outcomes for their children. Our paper contributes to cultural capital theory by examining how higher-SES families exploit “discretionary spaces” (i.e., opportunities that allow parents to improve their child’s social, academic or disciplinary outcomes) in schooling organizations. Résumé : En s’appuyant sur une étude de cas de mesures disciplinaires progressives (MDP), cet article pose la question : Comment une plus grande discrétion, souplesse et participation des parents influent sur la mise en pratique de la politique scolaire ? Quelles sont les conséquences de ces mesures ? Les MDP font partie d’une série de changements qui répondent aux besoins scolaires et sociaux individualisés des élèves, tout en formalisant la participation accrue des parents. À partir de quarante-quatre entretiens avec des membres du personnel œuvrant dans des écoles, nous constatons que les MDP ont le potentiel d’améliorer les habiletés sociales et comportementales des élèves. Pourtant, les éducateurs sont incapables de composer de façon satisfaisante avec les parents jouissant d’un statut socio-économique plus élevé. Selon les membres du personnel interviewés, il est plus probable que les parents de statut socio-économique plus élevé participent plus activement au suivi disciplinaire, confrontent et menacent le personnel de l’école et négocient des solutions disciplinaires plus favorables pour leurs enfants. Notre article contribue à la théorie du capital culturel en observant comment les familles de statut socio-économique plus élevé exploitent des « espaces discrétionnaires » (c’est à dire, les possibilités qui permettent aux parents d’améliorer les résultats sociaux, académiques ou disciplinaires de leur enfant) dans les organisations scolaires.
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