Unit one-Studying Culture and Society by Erik, Emilee, Michele

In the United States, citizens go through a process of learning called the formal education system. They are entered into the system at a young age beginning something called Kindergarten around their 5th year. http://www.rentonschools.us/DistrictPage.aspx?dept=RentonSchoolDistrict&pagename=FrequentlyAskedQuestions#3 This is a free education that is paid for by the government, unless you go to private school (which the parents of the kids attending pay for it).

The primary functions of the U.S. education system begins with socialization. From an early age, students are groomed to associate with their peers in accordance with the cultural norms that make up American society. What makes up the dominant culture in America has drastically changed over time so the landscape of the public education system has changed with it. Students are immersed in a more culturally diverse setting in many areas of the U.S. in comparison with previous years and this has influenced the education system.


After 13 years of this formal education they then make a choice about whether to voluntarily enter higher education. Once the decision to pursue higher education has been made there are many types of higher education to choose from. There are Technical Institutes, community colleges, 4 year colleges, and universities. Technical colleges like Renton Technical College or ITT Technical Instituted provide career focused programs to prepare students for specific industries. Community colleges like Green River Community College normally offer a more rounded degree, are limited to 2 year degrees, and also provide similar industry specific programs as well. Finally you have 4 year colleges like Bellevue College provide large number of degree programs with more specialization in the fields of study and universities like the University of Washington which consist of multiple colleges. Such as a business and a medical college. Higher education is also even further complicated by being separated into public and private education institutions. Public higher education is normally funded to some degree by the state that they reside in while private institutions largely funded by tuition and are therefore usually more expensive to attend. The focus here will be higher education at Bellevue College. It can be found in the United States. It resides in a state called Washington State and a city called Bellevue.

The people who attend Bellevue College start off as applicants. They must go through a process to gain permission to participate in higher education.


Once accepted to attend, students then go through the process of trying to pay for it called tuition. Higher education is not free. Some students can pay for it out of their own money, some have their parents pay for it or they get loans (money that is given to the student and has to be paid back at a later date) either from the federal government or from a private company, or scholarships (money that is given out for people who meet a certain criteria and doesn’t have to be paid back) and grants (money that is given out for certain situations that also doesn’t need to be paid back). There are people at the school called Financial Aid Advisor that help you get the money you need to get your education so you can earn your degree.

Then you go what we call an Adviser that will help you decide what classes you need to take to get the degree in the field that you want and if you are undecided can help you figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life. advising_staff_thumb1

Once admitted and registered for classes they are now considered students. They will sequester themselves in rooms with someone called a teacher. These rooms can be either simply a room with chairs and maybe some desks as well or highly specialized rooms called labs. In the first case these rooms are for something called lectures which are used for the teacher to communicate new knowledge verbally or in written form to the students. The later which are called labs can take several forms, a room with art supplies, or a room with equipment for learning about science. There is a third type of room which is specific to learning what is called performance arts. In this type of room you are in a odd concave room with rows and rows of seats along with a raised platform opposite the seats. The purpose of these rooms is for the students to receive new knowledge from the teacher. Online classes are a completely different type of classroom. Instead of physically going to a building to listen the student uses their computer to connect to a virtual classroom where they perform the act of learning.

These students however cope with being in these rooms with teachers in different ways. Some of them will seem to ignore the teacher and instead read their own books or utilize a personal computing device to keep up with friends and the outside world. Others may stare off into space contemplating who knows what. Many of them however will take notes or listen attentively to the teacher.


Outside of the classroom some students will then study what they have written down or memorized and read assigned texts provided to them. In some cases they will rehearse what they were taught or write a paper to help them understand what the teacher has told them. This is called learning. Other students will do other things such as hanging out with friends or going bowling and may not begin work on the act of learning until the very last possible moment. In still other cases the students may have a job in addition to their classes. So they might be doing their learning in between their time at work.


Periodically the students will take breaks to play games like these three returning from having played Baseball.


It is important to keep in mind that these schools. Both the private and the public are not free. They operate as part of a market system. The students pay for every aspect of the education experience that they encounter on campus. They pay tuition for classes but they also pay for any books or special online access that might be required. They even pay for their food

Good food

Once done with your degree its time to graduate.

A human sociologist named Émile Durkheim once described schools as “socialization agencies that teach children how to get along with others and prepare them for adult economic roles”. This statement appears to be in alignment with the “educational” system in place in the United States of America on planet Earth. There appears to be little to no emphasis on critical thinking in these public schools rather, heavy emphasis on academic rigor and encouragement of complacency of intellectual curiosity which leads to “productive” members of American society.


There is a vast amount of disparate circumstances when surveying the level and quality of education for students in the public education system of America. This is especially notable for humans who live areas called “inner cities”. These areas predominately consist of African American and Hispanic citizens. These citizens are referred to as minorities and have been burdened with the effects of what is called institutionalized racism. This creates economic disparity between American citizens in a systematic fashion. Children who receive low-grade public education are at a much higher risk of not completing high school due to various factors.



5 thoughts on “Unit one-Studying Culture and Society by Erik, Emilee, Michele

      • Yeah, I do think it is a good idea. That way if the editing process on the shared blog gets to be too much there is still an option to post our individual work to the course site. Hopefully it works to keep us together as a team as we can use our personal blogs for initial work and then put things together on our shared blog. 🙂

  1. I inserted one of my posts at the top because it was out of place down below. I figured that if we all keep our own blogs to submit to Shiva, it will be alright to intermix our posts a tiny bit for organizational purposes….Let me know if there are any objections.

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