PUBLIC EDUCATION: EQUAL OPPORTUNITY OR SAVAGE INEQUALITY?
POTENTIAL RESEARCH QUESTION(S):
Can the public school system in the United States be characterized as the great equalizer, or does it systematically perpetuate inequalities? How are schools in the city of Los Angeles similar or different than those in the surrounding suburbs? How do the city schools compare with others nationally? What effect does the institution of education have on the mobility (or immobility) of different groups in society?
Use of Supplementary Materials
I strongly suggest that you read the following book before you begin collecting data as they will help you to better conceputalize your project:
Kozol, Jonathan. 1991. Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools. New York: Crown Pub.
This will depend on the specific research question you, or your group decides to adopt. Remember, an hypothesis is a speculative statement about the relationship between two variables. If you frame your research question as descriptive, you need not formulate formal hypotheses.
You may want to set up dueling hypothesis (if appropriate to your question) such as:
Hypothesis 1: Schools eradicate social inequalities
Hypothesis 2: Schools perpetuate social inequalities
METHODS AND DATA COLLECTION:
You will use existing resources such as the U.S. Census data, CAT test scores, ect...
You should address the following four issues in your data analysis: 1) how are public schools funded in the United States? 2) how are school in the L.A. Metro area funded?, 3) does school funding make any systematic difference in the quality and/or outcome of public education, and 4) how does your data support either the hypothesis that public schools equalize inequalities, or the hypothesis that public education systematically perpetuates inequalities.
This will be determined by the previous step in the research process.