Assess the View That Working Class Children Underachieve Because They Are Culturally Deprived

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Some sociologists argue that external factors (factors outside of the education system) such as material deprivation (a lack of material resources e.g. money, equipment, good quality housing etc.) and cultural deprivation (a lack of intellectual and linguistic skills, and the attitudes of both pupils and parents) explain why working class children underachieve, whereas other sociologists would argue that it is actually internal factors (factors within school and the education system) that cause underachievement, such as insufficient parent-teacher communication, failure of teachers to recognize differences in cultures and beliefs etc). Cultural deprivation theorists argue that parents’ attitudes and values are a key factor affecting education achievement. For example, Douglas found that working-class parents placed less value on education, were less ambitious for their children, gave them less encouragement, and took less interest in their education. They visited schools less often and were less likely to discuss their children’s progress with teachers, and as a result, their children had lower levels of achievement. Leon Feinstein (1998) also took this view, and argued that working class parents’ lack of interest was the more important than financial hardship or factors within school. However, critical of this, Tessa Blackstone and Jo Mortimore (1994) argue that working class parents attend fewer parents’ evenings because they working longer or less regular hours, or are put off by the school’s middle class atmosphere – NOT because of a lack of interest. There is also evidence that schools with mainly working class pupils have less effective systems of parent-school contacts, making it harder for parents to keep in touch about their children’s progress. Therefore there is strong evidence that the reason for every working class parent who does not have sufficient
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