University of California, Riverside

UCR Newsroom



Study says values taught in public schools


Study says values taught in public schools

(July 10, 2001)

Education critics have often said that public schools no longer teach values. But a new study by Steven Brint, professor of sociology at the University of California, Riverside, found that traditional and contemporary values permeate public schooling.

Brint's findings will appear in the July edition of the journal "Sociology of Education." The article, co-authored with graduate students Mary F. Contreras and Michael T. Matthews, is titled "Socialization Messages in Primary Schools: An Organizational Analysis."

The study was based on interviews and observations in 64 classrooms at 10 elementary schools in Riverside, San Bernardino and eastern Los Angeles counties. It looked at five ways in which values are conveyed to students, Brint said. Schools transmitted values through face-to-face classroom instruction, through the lessons of the formal curriculum, through routine classroom practices, through school-wide programs, and through the use of public spaces.

Both face-to-face instruction and the curriculum mixed such traditional virtues as responsibility, honesty and fairness, with modern values such as cultural diversity, variety and choice, Brint said.

In face-to-face interaction with students, teachers emphasized practical values such as orderliness and hard work over either traditional or modern values. However, routine classroom practices tended to supplement traditional themes of individualism and achievement with more contemporary themes of group activity, variety and rewards, Brint found.

Brint concluded that the values emphasized by the schools are strongly influenced by their interest in maintaining order, emphasizing effort, and fostering a sense in all students of identification with their campus. Values such as citizenship and respect are often reinterpreted to fit these basic organizational interests of schools, Brint said.

In 1998, Brint authored a book that analyzed primary and secondary schools in various countries titled "Schools and Societies." He is currently directing a large-scale study of continuity and change in American higher education since 1970.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Media Relations
900 University Avenue
1156 Hinderaker Hall
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-6397 (951) UCR-NEWS
Fax: (951) 827-5008

Related Links

Footer