For to change the norms, the very foci of attention, of a cultural system is a difficult task - far more complex than that of changing an individual's attitudes and interests.
There are many examples in high schools which show something about the effects such competition might have.
The results indicate that heterogeneity of race and heterogeneity of family educational background can increase the achievement of children from weak educational backgrounds with no adverse effect on children from strong educational backgrounds.
If we refuse to accept as inevitable the irresponsibility and educational unconcern of the adolescent culture, then this poses a serious challenge.
The educational resources provided by a child's fellow students are more important for his achievement than are the resources provided by the school board.
Cultural dominance of middle-class norms prevail in middle-class schools with a teacher teaching toward those standards and with students striving to maintain those standards.
Schools are successful only insofar as they reduce the dependence of a child's opportunities upon his social origins.
The higher the social class of other students the higher any given student's achievement.
As an example, one of the schools I have been studying is too small to compete effectively in most sports, but participates with vigor each year in the state music contests.
In every school, more boys wanted to be remembered as a star athlete than as a brilliant student.
The present structure of rewards in high schools produces a response on the part of an adolescent social system which effectively impedes the process of education.
Children from a given family background, when put in schools of different social compositions, will achieve at quite different levels.
I'd propose that each central-city child should have an entitlement from the state to attend any school in the metropolitan area outside his own district - with per pupil funds going with him.
In a high school, the norms act to hold down the achievements of those who are above average, so that the school's demands will be at a level easily maintained by the majority.
It is clear from all these data that the interests of teenagers are not focused around studies, and that scholastic achievement is at most of minor importance in giving status or prestige to an adolescent in the eyes of other adolescents.
Particular individuals who might never consider dropping out if they were in a different high school might decide to drop out if they attended a school where many boys and girls did so.
A child's learning is a function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher.
Grades are almost completely relative, in effect ranking students relative to others in their class. Thus extra achievement by one student not only raises his position, but in effect lowers the position of others.
It is one thing to take as a given that approximately 70 percent of an entering high school freshman class will not attend college, but to assign a particular child to a curriculum designed for that 70 percent closes off for that child the opportunity to attend college.