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Archive for the ‘Sociology’ Category

Record: Linda Renzulli, “Educational Transformations and Why Sociology Should Care” in Social Currents 1, no. 2 (2014): 149-156. [Available Here]

Summary:  Renzulli, a professor of sociology at the University of Georgia, here lays out two claims.  First, she believes that public education in the United States is experiencing two contradictory trends at once—centralization and standardization of curriculum, assessment, and accountability in public schools on one hand and growing local control and autonomy among alternative forms of public education like charter schools and vouchers on the other.  Second, she is concerned that sociologists of education have not dealt sufficiently with these trends.  Homeschooling comes into play in this analysis as an example of privatizing trends and as a pool of customers for virtual charter schools.  (more…)

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This post reviews Andrew J. Cherlin, The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today (New York: Knopf, 2009).  [Read an interview with Cherlin here. Publisher’s summary here. Buy it here.]

Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins, here presents a masterful synthesis of the historical and sociological scholarship on American and European families to explain why Americans marry more and get divorced more than other industrialized countries.  (more…)

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This post reviews Robert Kunzman, Write These Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling (Boston: Beacon Press, 2009).

Kunzman [see his wonderful homeschooling research website here], Associate Professor of Education at Indiana University, Bloomington and author of many works on religion, ethics, and education, here gives us one of the most important books on homeschooling ever written.  (more…)

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This post reviews Paul Tough, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008).

Tough, an editor at the New York Times Magazine and widely published journalist, here pens a fascinating book chronicling the reform efforts of Geoffrey Canada, an African American visionary who has been working for many years to transform Harlem.  The book is an engaging blend of first person reportage of Canada’s efforts among the urban poor with research reviews of some of the most significant scholarship on urban poverty, child-rearing, and education.  In this review I’ll briefly summarize Canada’s approach in Harlem and then focus on what this book has to say about the importance of home life for a child’s educational success.  (more…)

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This post reviews Jeremy E. Uecker, “Alternative Schooling Strategies and the Religious Lives of American Adolescents” in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 47, no. 4 (December 2008): 563-584 [Abstract available here].

Uecker, a Ph.D. candidate at the U of Texas at Austin and author of many interesting articles on young adult religion and sexuality, here examines data from the National Survey of Youth and Religion (NSYR) to determine whether Catholic schooling, Protestant schooling, or homeschooling have any impact on the religious lives of American teens.  (more…)

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This post reviews part two of Neil Gilbert, A Mother’s Work: How Feminism, the Market, and Policy Shape Family Life (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008).

In the book’s first section Gilbert described the long-term trend among American women toward having fewer children and investing more of their time in paid labor.  In the second section he explains how capitalism, feminism, and government policy influence the choices women make about whether or not to have children and how to raise them.  (more…)

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Two points that I did not stress in my original comments on Wyatt’s Family Ties: Relationships, Socialization, and Home Schooling are especially worthy of note.  First, (more…)

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