The sociological study of education began at Teachers College in the first decade of the twentieth century. Sociology was established as the first social science discipline providing a basic framework for the study of education, complementing the long-established reliance on psychology.Over this period, the Sociology and Education Program has applied research findings to education and has examined basic issues in education from a sociological perspective. Although the program’s theory and research have emphasized schools and colleges, attention also has been given to education in other contexts.
The faculty for Sociology and Education includes sociologists from other programs at the College and the Department of Sociology of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Faculty strengths are in education and social stratification; the social organization and design of schools,classrooms, and other learning environments; urban education; school desegregation and school choice; education and the life course; and the social analysis of education policy. The program provides training and hands-on experience in evaluation methods and both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
The curriculum of the Sociology and Education program emphasizes issues in urban education, including the social organization of urban schools and school systems, and the success or failure of urban schools in meeting the educational needs of the diverse populations they serve. The program faculty are actively engaged in the analysis and evaluation of educational policies and programs designed to serve educationally disadvantaged populations.
The program in Sociology and Education also offers a Policy Studies Concentration for students in the M.A. and Ed.M. programs. For more information on this concentration, which is open to students throughout Teachers College, please contact Professor Aaron Pallas.