Education and the Family: Passing Success Across the Generations, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Education and the Family

Passing Success Across the Generations, 1st Edition

By Leon Feinstein, Kathryn Duckworth, Ricardo Sabates


222 pages

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pub: 2008-06-25
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Why it is that success, deprivation or disadvantage are so often passed down intergenerationally? What part does education play?

The educational achievement of parents is often reflected in that of their children and there are many underlying causes for such a relationship. Education and the Family argues that government policy has an important role to play in addressing this inequality even though many of the causes lie within the home. Although each child should be supported to achieve his or her objectives, differences in the willingness or capabilities of families to take advantage of educational opportunities exacerbate social class differences and limit actual equality of opportunity for many. Understanding the causes of this transmission is key to tackling both social class inequality and to expanding the skill base of the economy.

By providing an overview of academic and policy thinking in relation to the role of the family, this book explores the educational success of children. It focuses on the education of the parents but also considers how the family - compared to wider, external influences such as schools - is a driver of differences in educational outcomes. It concludes with a consideration of what policy-makers are attempting to do about this key issue and why, and how this will impact on schools and teachers.

This book will interest researchers and academics in education and social policy, as well as teachers and other education and social policy practitioners.


"…A clear and simple theoretical framework is the book’s strength. Applying human ecological theory (which addresses human development and the interaction of individuals with their social environments) Feinstein et al. have thought carefully about many factors that could link parents’ education to children’s outcomes and the various pathways through which these factors may have their effects… sociologists interested in educational attainment and/or intergenerational mobility (especially class reproduction) would likely profit from this short book. The book is also intended for members of the public policy community, who will welcome the authors’ sensitivity to their concerns."--Mark McKerrow, Canadian Journal of Sociology (2009), 34(2).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Part 1: Understanding and Conceptualising the Importance of Education 2. Understanding the Importance of Education 3. Conceptualising the Influence of Parents’ Education: A Framework for Analysis Part 2: The Influence of Parents’ Education: A Review of the Evidence 4. The Importance of WhatGgoes on in the Family 5. Internal Features of the Family Environment 6. Distal Family Factors 7. The Importance of other Developmental Contexts Part 3: Policy and the Wider Responsibilities of Education: Early Preventive Action 8. A Framework for Supporting Resilience in Childhood 9. Implications of the Ecological Model of Home/School Interaction for Policy Development

About the Authors

Leon Feinstein is Professor of Education Social Policy and Director, Kathryn Duckworth is Research Officer and Ricardo Sabates is Senior Research Officer, all at the Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning, Institute of Education, University of London, UK.

About the Series

Foundations and Futures of Education

Foundations and Futures of Education focuses on key emerging issues in education as well as continuing debates within the field. The series is inter-disciplinary, and includes historical, philosophical, sociological, psychological and comparative perspectives on the purposes and nature of education; increasing interdisciplinarity within the field; and the theory-practice divide.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects