CULTURAL CAPITAL TRANSMISSION MECHANISMS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

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2007-10-03

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Though Coleman (1966) claimed many school factors do not matter for students' educational outcomes, the role of extracurricular activities are not well understood. This study explores whether numbers and types of extracurricular activities in public schools are linked to the proportion of graduating seniors who go on to four year college. School-level data from 129 traditional public high schools in Maryland was examined in an elaboration model with proportion of students going on to four year college as a dependent variable, socioeconomic status (SES) as the category variable and number of different extracurricular activities available as the core independent variable. The higher SES schools showed a positive relationship between extracurricular activities and college attendance while the lower SES schools did not. A rough content analysis also revealed that in general, schools in higher SES areas offered activities with greater cultural value. Theoretical connections and policy implications are discussed.

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