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Abbey Allen

Dr. Jan

Critical Inquiry

February 9, 2010

Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work

Jean Anyon’s “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work” is a piece of writing

that will get anyone thinking about social class and education based on social class. As I was

reading the texts I had many questions and thoughts about what point she was trying to get

across. She starts out by talking about the different social classes in the US and what each one

looks and consists of. As I was reading I took many notes on what the differences are about each

social class and the education that goes along with the class.

In high school I did a paper about how the lower class areas don’t get the same type of

education that the upper class areas do. A lot of it has to do with social standard, money, and

where you live. The differences between the educations are significant. Anyon starts by talking

about the working-class. She talks about how in a Working-class school the “procedure is

usually mechanical, involving rote behavior and very little decision making of choice” (232). It

also talks about how the teachers just teach because they have to get through the curriculum and

don’t actually teach what the “idea is that lies behind the procedure” (232). Anyon talks about

how the curriculum is much different from the Middle-class schools where the teachers just teach

them how to find the correct answer and how to follow directions (236). Anyon observed and

found that in Affluent Professional schools students work independently and are taught how to

“express and apply ideas and concepts” (238). Finally, Anyon found that in Executive Elite

schools the teachers teach their students how to “develop one’s analytical intellectual powers”
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(242). They are taught how to problem solve and use that knowledge with any problem they


All of these curriculums should be the same. If we aren’t allowing the students in the

working-class to learn as much as students are in the executive-elite schools, then not every kid

has the same chance at going far with their education. I don’t think it’s fair if we punish children

for where they live and don’t give them the same opportunities in their education as the children

who live in the “rich” parts of the states. I learned a lot while I was writing my paper in high

school about the different educations and from our discussion about Anyon’s writing. Schools

get funds from taxes. If you live in a nicer area the taxes are higher. That means that the schools

in those areas are getting more money. I know it must be hard to find funding for the lower-class

schools, but every kid deserves a right to the same education as everyone else. I understand that

the private schools get a lot of money because they are expensive, but the public schools should

be teaching to similar curriculums so that all the students can get into college and make a career

with their lives.

While I was reading Anyon’s article, I wondered about the other influences that students’

have when going to school. What if the kids’ parents don’t care about their education so soon

enough the students won’t care about their education. Other factors like what goes on after

school before the kids go home might be an influence. Anyon states that, “One could attempt to

identify physical, educational, cultural, and interpersonal characteristics of the environment of

each school that might contribute to an empirical explanation of the events and interactions”

(246). I think Anyon is saying that there probably are other factors that need to be looked on

when looking at different schools in different social classes because other things could influence

the work in the schools. We talked in class about how the parents could influence their child to

either do their work or not do their work. The lower class schools usually are in areas where the
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parents don’t have the best job so they can’t afford a nicer place to live. The parents might not

have done well in school so they aren’t encouraging their children to try and do well in school. I

definitely think there are other factors that need to be considered when looking at the different


Even though she talks about how the different social class areas have different education

curriculums and that the students learn differently, it doesn’t mean that it is right that it’s that

why. I don’t think it should happen and Anyon even says, “Such research could have as a

product the further elucidation of complex but not readily apparent connections between

everyday activity in school and classrooms and the unequal structure of economic relationships

in which we work and live” (249).As I said in my critical inquiry, there needs to be more

research done to prove what she is saying in her article. She says that more research needs to be

done, but doesn’t really think anything will change with more research. It seems like she is

saying that what she says it right and that research doesn’t really actually think that there needs

to be more research.

Anyon wrote this about New Jersey and not about the entire country. A lot of this

information could be true about the entire country, but in order for us to know a person would

have to observe schools from each state all over the country. There is a lot of information that is

in the texts about 5 schools, but that is a small percentage of the schools in the country. In order

for something to change about the education based on social class, a larger study has to be done

to prove that there are significant differences in the educations. I’m not too fond of this article

because it seems like she has formed her own opinion about the social classes and doesn’t

actually want to do more research. What about those students who excel in the lower class

schools? There is nothing in the article about that and there are definitely students who excel in
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schools that are run down and in lower class areas. I believe that everyone should have an equal

chance at getting an education that they can use for the rest of their lives.

Self Assessment-

I feel like I did a really good job on this paper. Not all papers I can say I feel I did a good job, but

I worked really hard at revising my paper and listening to what people had to say about my

paper. While revising I made sure to clarify what Anyon was saying and what I was saying.

Sometimes what needs to be cited confused me so my group helped me out with what should be

cited. I put a lot of my opinion in this paper and how I feel and I think that’s why I like it so

much. I feel I did a good job at using quotes from the article and using those quotes to help me

get my point and opinion across. I am proud of this paper and I feel I did a good job writing it.

Works Cited:
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Anyon, Jean. "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work." Writing

Conventions. Eds. Lu and Horner. New York: Pearson, 2008. 225-51. Print.