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Class Inequality: High School Dropout Rates

  • By: Jennifer Vadeboncoeur & Renira E. Vellos
  • In: Sociology of Education: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: James Ainsworth
  • Subject:Sociology of Education (general), Sociology of Education, Education Policy

A consistent relationship exists between social class and pathways through K-12 schooling: success at school increases as a function of parental social class. The consequences of these effects influence the extent to which individuals engage and succeed in postsecondary schooling, if at all, as well as the kinds of post-secondary schooling: vocational, community college, or university. Documented by The Coleman Report (1966), the persistent relationship between social class and school success provides a significant challenge to the ideal of meritocracy: the assumption that success at school is a function of the merit of an individual's work. Though social class is a central concept in sociology, various competing definitions exist.

Current statistics from the United States, Australia, and Canada reveal the ongoing relationship between indicators of social ...

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