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In suburban areas, on the other hand, the economic opportunities are diverse and the population is less dense. Here parents are motivated to educate their child and the child gets higher individual attention from the teachers than those in the urban areas where population density is very high (Broomhall and Johnson, 1994; and Hanson and Ginsburg, 1988). Since educational aspirations of parents, students and teachers differ by population density and location; therefore, achievement gap differs by population density and location.
It is clear to some scholars that educational aspirations of parents, students and teachers remain the most important determinant of whether and how much a student achieves (Alexander, Eckland, & Griffin, 1975; Astin & Karabel, 1975; Chapman, 1981; Conklin & Dailey, 1981; Geoffrey, 1998; Litten, 1982). For instance, Astin and Karabel (1975) have conducted a research and the regression analyses indicate that measured academic ability is a more powerful predictor of the quality of the school attended though social class has an independent impact. Chapman (1981) asserts that aptitude influences students' achievement and performance. Students tend to self-select institutions with enrolled students of similar aptitude as themselves because they do not want to be with others whose aptitude is very different than their own (p. 493). Furthermore, Chapman (1981) and Geoffrey (1998) found that students with good academic records receive more encouragement to continue their education from teachers, family, and friends. They are more apt to receive college advising from the guidance counselor. Litten (1982) notes that academic ability is also positively correlated with higher education intention and attendance. In the same line, Jackson (1982) uses sociological research to show that academic aspirations have the strongest correlation with students' educational achievements. Thus, students who do well in high school will tend to aspire to go to college.
Develop Relationships between Previous Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies
Previous studies in the area of educational funding disparity failed to study this subject in depth. They overlooked vital aspects by simply limiting their point-of-view to a few variables. This study will explore this subject by taking an in depth view that spans across many inter-related disciplines. To achieve this end, we have chosen Bronfenbrenner's bio-ecological theory. Bronfenbrenner's theory enables research to look not only at the individual and the immediate environment, but also at the interaction of the larger environment as well at a given time systematically. In contrast, before Bronfenbrenner, child psychologists studied the child, sociologists examined the family, anthropologists the society, economists the economic framework of the times, and political scientists the structure (Berk, 2000). Therefore, this theory serves as an appropriate theoretical framework for the study of educational achievements.
Bronfenbrenner's Bio-ecological Theory
Inspired by his own dissertation, Bronfenbrenner has developed an Ecological System Theory, viewing the person as developing within a complex system of relationships affected by multiple levels of surrounding environment (Bronfenbrenner, 1977, 1986, 1994). He expands this view by envisioning the environment as a series of nested structures that includes but extends beyond home, school, neighborhood, and work settings in which people spend their everyday lives. Each layer of the environment is viewed as having powerful impact on development. Changes or conflict in any one layer will ripple throughout other layers (Berk, 2000). Bronfenbrenner (1977, 1979, 1994) has proposed a conceptualization context of development in terms of a hierarchy of systems at four progressively more comprehensive levels, namely, microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem. In addition, his chronosystem refers to the temporal dimension of the ecological model.
This system involves the structures and processes taking place in an immediate setting containing the developing person (e.g. home, classroom, playground) (Bronfenbrenner, 1986). This is the layer closest to the developing person and contains the structures with which the developing person has direct contact. The microsystem encompasses the relationships and interactions a developing person has with his/her immediate surroundings (Berk, 2000). At this level, relationships have impact in two directions - both away from the developing person and toward the developing person. For example, a child's parents may affect his/her beliefs and behavior; however, the child also affects the behavior and beliefs of the parents. Bronfenbrenner (1977, 1994) calls these bi-directional influences, influences that occur among all levels of environment. The interaction of structures within a layer and interactions of structures between layers is key to this theory. Microsystems are dynamic contexts for development because of the bi-directional influences individuals impart on each other. Many micro-level determinants affecting a developing person's achievement have been investigated and proved to be significant. At this level, bi-directional influences are strongest and have the greatest impact on the child. However, interactions at outer levels can still impact the inner structures.
The mesosystem comprises the linkage and the processes taking place between two or more settings containing the developing person (e. g. The relationships between home and school, school and work place). In other words, a mesosystem is a system of microsystem (Bronfenbrenner & Ceci, 1994). Berk (2000) elaborates it as a layer that provides the connection between the structures of the child's microsystem, such as, the connection between the child's teacher and his parents, between his church and his neighborhood, etc. Mesosystems are the interrelationships among settings. The stronger and more diverse the links among settings, the more powerful an influence the resulting systems will be on the child's development. In these interrelationships, the initiatives of the child and the parents' involvement in linking the home and the school play roles in determining the quality of the child's meso-system.
The exosystem encompasses the linkage and processes between two or more settings, at least one of which does not ordinarily contain the developing person, but in which events occur that influence the processes within the immediate setting that does not contain that person (e.g. For a child, the relation between the home and the parent's work place; for a parent, the relation between the school and the neighborhood peer group) (Bronfenbrenner, 1994). This layer defines the larger social system in which the child does not function directly. However, the structures in this layer impact the child's development by interacting with some structure in his/her microsystem (Berk, 2000). Parent workplace schedules or community-based family resources are examples. The child may not be directly involved at this level, but he/she does feel the positive or negative force involved with the interaction with his/her own system. The quality of interrelationships among settings is influenced by forces in which the child does not participate, but which have a direct bearing on parents and other adults who interact with the child.
The macrosystem is defined as an overarching pattern of ideology and organization of the social institutions common to a particular culture or subculture. In other words, the macrosystem comprises the pattern of micro-, meso-, and exo-systems characteristics of a given society or segment thereof (Bronfenbrenner, 1994). This layer may be considered "blueprints" for interlocking social forces at the macro-level and their interrelationships in shaping human development. While not being a specific framework, this layer is comprised of cultural values, customs, and laws (Berk, 2000). They provide the broad ideological and organizational patterns within which the meso- and exo-systems reflect the ecology of human development. Macro-systems are not static, but might change through evolution and revolution. For example, economic recession, war, and technological changes may produce such changes. The effects of larger principles defined by the macrosystem have a cascading influence throughout the interactions of all other layers. For example, if it is the belief of the culture that parents should be solely responsible for raising their children, that culture is less likely to provide resources to help parents. This, in turn, affects the structures in which the parents function. The parents' ability or inability to carry out that responsibility toward their child within the context of the child's microsystem is likewise affected.
The chronosystem refers to the temporal dimension of the ecological model (Bronfenbrenner, 1994). Changes in life events can be imposed externally. Alternatively, they can arise from within the organism since individuals select, modify, and create many of their own settings and experiences (Berk, 2000). In other words, elements within this system can be either external, such as the timing of a parent's death, or internal, such as the physiological changes that occur with the aging of a child. As children get older, they may react differently to environmental changes and may be more able to determine more how that change will influence them. Bronfenbrenner (1994) believes these new conditions can affect a child's development. It is not just environmental types of changes that affect a child's development. A child can experience developmental changes due to internal changes.
To sum up, the microsystem and the exosystem are social settings, the mesosystem is the relationships between settings, and the macrosystem is a set of abstract rules emanating from values and ideologies that…[continue]
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