Thoughts on Reform and the Sociology of Education: Toward Active Engagement

  • Marshall S. Smith
Part of the Frontiers in Sociology and Social Research book series (FSSR, volume 1)


My background is in policy analysis, practice, and methodology, and I have some familiarity with cognitive theory and technology. In this paper, I focus on two areas important to the sociology of education: understanding change and measurement, methodology, and inference. Some of my comments may appear critical of the strength of the profession of the sociology of education, but they are not meant to be. This academic discipline has a rich and powerful history and has had a profound impact on our understanding of education from Durkheim’s observations on the education system as mirroring society to the early Coleman reports that do little to counteract that view, to the social mobility literature, the work on desegregation, school structure and school culture, and on the ways that education systems, institutions, and organizations at all levels behave. If I ask for more, it is only to honor the reality that the profession is strong enough to respond.


School System Charter School Continuous Improvement Process Legitimate Judgment Smart Board 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Special thanks go to the Spencer Foundation for their support and to George Bohrnstedt for his thoughtful comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of TeachingStanfordUSA

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