A brief comment on Mills and Gale's Schooling and the production of social inequalities: What can and should we be doing?

Essay by richardvanraay June 2008

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Mills and Gale (2002) write a comprehensive paper on the need for student centred integrated curriculum without ever actually referring to it as such. They write of the disillusionment that people of poorer backgrounds or diverse ethnic backgrounds may have about the school system stating that for them, more often than not, the curricula is seen as irrelevant.

Mills and Gate (2002) believe that education is often driven by political interests that regulate the selection, organisation and distribution of knowledge. “… it is the values, experiences and perspectives of privileged groups that parade as universal in schools”( paragraph 5). They clearly refer to the white, upper-middle class as being a dominant influence on classroom and school curriculum, describing them as taking control or manipulating the curriculum to suit their idea of what is suitable. This is referred to as cultural imperialism, a phrase that refers to stronger groups, or countries, imposing their cultural values on others.

Mills and Gate (2002) cite Brint (1998) that lower-class and minority students often receive less instruction time from teachers and that time that is given is less demanding academically as well as being less imaginative and utilising less resources.

What is also regrettable is that parents who are low income earners and may not have had the most beneficial education themselves feel that it is not their place to interfere with the system, preferring to leave the education of their child to the professionals. This leaves the ‘privileged groups’ to define what meanings they consider the most important, what learnings they see as most legitimate, and what forms of writing and reading matter should be dealt with.

Mills and Gate (2002) suggest several ways of improving the educational experience of minorities. These include setting higher standards, providing intellectually challenging lessons, value and add...