James Coleman


Dean Gotcher

"Rather than bringing the father back to play with his son, this strategy would recognize that society has changed, and attempt to improve those institutions designed to educate the adolescent toward adulthood." "Equality of Opportunity becomes ever greater with the weakening of family power. " "Mass media, and an ever-increasing range of personal experiences, gives an adolescent social sophistication at an early age, making him unfit for the obedient role of the child in the family." "One of the consequence of the increasing social liberation of adolescents is the increasing inability of parents to enforce norms, a greater and greater tendency for the adolescent community to disregard adult dictates, and to consider itself no longer subject to the demands of parents and teachers." "The old ‘levers' by which children are motivated--approval or disapproval of parents and teachers--are less efficient." "The family has little to offer the child in the way of training for his place in the community." "Strengthening the family to draw the adolescent back into it faces serious problems, as well as some questions about its desirability." (James Coleman, The Adolescent Society)

James Coleman, a socio-psychologist, earned his Doctorate at Columbia University, trained under the tutelage of the "Frankfurt School" Transformational Marxist Paul Lazarsfeld. He wrote Equality of Opportunity in 1966. It was used by the Supreme Court to help them solve educational issue. His books have had a major influence in our society, so a look at them is essential if we are to have an understanding of what has happened to our educational system. Our highest court has turned to men such as James Coleman for information and advice on re-education. Coleman's teacher was Paul Lazarsfeld, a Transformational Marxist (who merge Marx and Freud), i.e. a member of the Frankfurt School. The bussing issue (James Coleman, Equality of Opportunity), for example, as all educational issues resolved by the supreme court from the 50's on, was not to help the lower class children to become middle class adults, it was, under cover, actually an effort to destroy the middle class home through an artificially created and sustained adolescent society (generation gap) by the public school system (James Coleman, The Adolescent Society). To produce class consciousness (the "right" of the child, i.e. of man's carnal nature without Godly restraint) between traditional and transformational paradigms (between parents and children, i.e. between the Patriarchal and Heresiarchal paradigms), using "the race issue" as a cover.

In other words with dialogue all become equal. The very act (praxis), within the hierarchy of the home, weakens the home structure. In this way the parent must abdicate his patriarchal office to keep relationship between the rebellious child and himself in the hopes that dialogue will bring them to the truth. You preach and teach truth, i.e. certainty, you dialogue opinions, i.e. uncertainty. The Transformational Marxist Theodor Adorno (a member of the Frankfurt School) put it this way (regarding the types of tests children are taking in the classroom): "One of the primary functions of these [matter‑of‑fact] questions [how do you feel or what do you think] was to encourage the subject to talk freely. This was attempted by indicating, for example, that critical remarks about parents were perfectly in place, thus reducing defenses as well as feelings of guilt and anxiety." (Theodor Adorno, The Authoritarian Personality)

"In the traditional society each child is at the mercy of his parents. The ‘natural processes' by which they socialize him makes him a replica of them." (James Coleman, The Adolescent Society The procedure was to start with the child, i.e., with the "positive," i.e., with the child's feelings and thoughts, i.e., with the process of dialoguing opinions, rather than with the father's authority, i.e. with the "negative," i.e., with the preaching and teaching of commands and rules to be obeyed and facts and truth to be accepted as is, i.e. by faith. "Thinking through the process it is dialectically faulty to start with the negative, with anxiety [with the parent's or God's authority and commands]. The problem is to name the dynamic factor provoking anxiety to emerge [the "intrusive" command of the father]. Anxiety is a function of spontaneity [the child's carnal nature seeking 'liberation' from the father's authority]. Spontaneity can be defined as the adequate response to a new situation, or the novel response to an old situation. With decrease of spontaneity anxiety increases [when you realize you can't have your carnal way, anxiety rises up to set you up against that which restrains or blocks you]. With entire lose of spontaneity anxiety reaches its maximum, the point of panic [revolution]." (J. L. Moreno, Who Shall Survive) As Coleman put it: "Common public judgments" must triumph over "'private' points of view." (James Coleman, The Adolescent Society) The idea being: why not negate the father's authority it in the classroom (through "education," i.e., through psychoanalysis) instead of in the streets (through violence).

As Warren Bennis wrote: "Any non-family-based collectivity [the community, through discourse, seeking equality in "justified" stimulation of dopamine emancipation—if it is common to human nature (the pursuit of homeostasis with the environment i.e. pleasure, holism i.e. nature drawing us to unity with it or wholism, God in nature, in the "planetary society," drawing us to unity with him/it, known as pantheism, general systems, etc., thus finding peace, nirvana, etc.), and is good for the "purpose" of uniting humanity (does not lead to social cacophony, the "exploding" of civilization), it is thus justifiable to negate or weaken any institution which interferes with natures evolutionary progression toward unity and equality; "for equality to take place the family as a unite must be weakened" James Coleman] that intervenes between parent and child and attempts to regulate and modify the parent-child relationship will have a democratizing [injurious to a top-down, patriarchal paradigm] impact on that relationship." "...any intervention between parent and child tend to produce familial democracy regardless of its intent. The consequences of family democratization take a long time to make themselves felt—but it would be difficult to reverse the process once begun. … once the parent can in any way imagine his own orientation to be a possible liability to the child in the world approaching … once uncertainty is created in the parent how best to prepare the child for the future, the authoritarian family is moribund, regardless of whatever countermeasures may be taken. The state, by its very interference in the life of its citizens, must necessarily undermine a parental authority which it attempts to restore." (Warren Bennis, The Temporary Society)

In 1957 Coleman wrote Community Conflict, a book on how conflicts arise in communities and how to control them in favor of a particular (socialist) outcome. Controversies in a community, says Coleman, need "(1) the existence in the community of a few extreme activists, who gain moral support, and sometimes information, leaflets, etc., from national sources; (2) the existence of a national climate of fear and suspicion concerning internal subversion; (3) the lack of close and continued relations between school administration and community organizations representing conservative as well as liberal segments of the population." If any one of these is missing, controversy will be modified and controllable.

Without directly admitting that ‘progressive education' is tantamount to Communism, Coleman writes "In school controversies, the issue of Communist subversion in the schools is one-sided; as long as it occupies the attention of the community, it is to the advantage of school critics. In contrast, the issue ‘progressive education vs. traditional education' offers not differential advantage to either side (unless, of course, progressive education can be identified by its opponents as ‘Communistic')…" Coleman equated the strong mayor-council form of government as "dictatorial control (whether benevolent or tyrannical)" in favor of his "democratic" style of government-transformational Marxism.

From the classroom (The Adolescent Society) to the school system itself (Public School-Private School) to politics (Equality of Opportunity), James Coleman, a student of transformational Marxist Kurt Lewin and Ralph Tyler, has played a major role in the restructuring of America, bringing it into the New World Order.

In his book The Adolescent Society, a book by the way which Benjamin Bloom uses to build his educational Taxonomies (Cognitive and Affective), Coleman writes: "In the traditional society each child is at the mercy of his parents. The ‘natural processes' by which they socialize him makes him a replica of them." "Strengthening the family to draw the adolescent back into it faces serious problems, as well as some questions about its desirability." "Equality of Opportunity becomes ever greater with the weakening of family power." "Rather than bringing the father back to play with his son, this strategy would recognize that society has changed, and attempt to improve those institutions designed to educate the adolescent toward adulthood." "In order to [improve those institutions], one must know how adolescent societies function, and beyond that, how their directions may be changed." "The family has little to offer the child in the way of training for his place in the community."

In Public School-Private School, Coleman writes: "Public schools represent an orientation that sees the school as an instrument of the society to free the child from constraints imposed by accident of birth." Coleman "sees schools as society's instrument for releasing a child from the blinders imposed by accident of birth into this family or that family." "Schools transcend the limitations of the parents' disparate [different, dissimilar, diverse] cultural backgrounds." "They have been a major element in social mobility, freeing children from the poverty of their parents and the low status of their social origins. They have been means of stripping away identities of ethnicity and social origin and implanting a common American identity." "The young are seriously at risk because of the decline in strength of the family and those institutions that spring from it. It is important that government policy by made in full recognition of this risk and of potential ways of reducing it." [A National At Risk].

The reason children are at risk today, according to Coleman's reasoning, is because they are still under the influence of traditional-minded parents and teachers who "isolating" their children from the "community." "Social capital" is missing in the home with parent's still 1) preaching commands and rules to be obeyed as give and teaching facts and truth to be accepted as is (by faith), 2) blessing or rewarding the children who do what is right or obey, 3) chastening or correcting the child who does things wrong or disobeys, discussing (at the parent's discretion) what the child did or might do wrong or clarifying any questions that he might have, and 4) casting out the child who challenges his commands and rules and questions his facts and truth, disrespecting his authority. Not until the parent's 'change' their way of communicating with their children, dialoguing their opinions with their children and allowing their children to dialogue their opinions with them, 'liberated' from parental authority, to a consensus, i.e., to a "feelings" of oneness, will social capital become a part of the home (and community). Until then, the parent's, with governmental, i.e., psychological assistance, will need counseling, until they come into compliance—what the "Health Care Package" is all about. "In Loco Parentis" takes on a whole new meaning in James Coleman's vocabulary, with the family (and parent's) finding their identity in the "community," instead of the "community" being influenced by them, i.e., by their commands, rules, facts, and truth.

Coleman's values are not traditional but rather transformational. Equality of Opportunity, Social Class, and Social Mobility were the concerns of his mentor, Ralph Tyler. These are the goals of transformational Outcome Based Education, the Outcome being a socialist society—transformational Marxism on a global scale. To achieve the goals of globalism (universalism) the parent's standards and authority (which divide the children of the "community") must be superseded by what all children have in common, their own personal "self interest," engendered from the 'immediate' situation at hand, i.e. their natural inclination to approach pleasure, including the pleasure of approval from others (who approve of what they are having pleasure in). In loco parentis simple means that the learning environment is subjugated to the parent's interest, I.e. their parochial or religious interest, which restrain or block the child's self interest, preventing social 'change,' i.e. community-global unity. Only by identifying those associations parent's have with those outside the family, i.e. crossing (transcending, i.e. compromising) their principles of restraint (which they hold their children to) can community become a reality. Coleman knew that education (the classroom) provided this arena of exchange which could be used to liberate' the children from the standards and values of their parents by "helping" them 'discover' what they all have in common, i.e. their love of pleasure, including the pleasure of approval from others and their hate of restraint, including standards and principles which inhibit or block them from having relationship with those they find pleasure in being around (associating with).

Coleman worked hard to identify how a traditional-minded community seeks to protect its values. He is instrumental in helping to identify forces of resistance and methods of neutralizing them. So when his protégées (facilitators) come up to you, smiling and saying, "Trust us we are here to help you," beware, your freedom is at risk.

"Meyers in his study emphasizing group think, Higher Horizons 1961, stated that 'to develop attitudes and values toward learning which are not shared by the parents and guardians or by the peer group in the neighborhood' produces 'conflict and tension between parents and children, between students, and peer groups who are not participating in the special opportunities." "… objectives can best be attained where the individual is separated from earlier environmental conditions and when he is in association with a group of peers who are changing in much the same direction and who thus tend to reinforce each other." "… Coleman (1961) demonstrates very clearly that during the adolescent periods, under some conditions, the peer group has a greater effect on the students than do teachers and, perhaps, parents." Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Book II Affective Domain 1964, p 83, 84, 82

"Parents are 'out of touch with the times,' and unable to understand, much less inculcate, the standards of a social order that has changed since they were young." (James Coleman, The Adolescent Society: the Social Life of the Teenager and its Impact on Education)

The Impact of Communities
James S. Coleman

"the schools as a means of emancipation from the family"
"releasing a child from the blinders imposed by
[the] family."

"Public schools represent an orientation that sees the school as an instrument of the society to free the child from constraints imposed by accident of birth." "Private schools represent an orientation that sees the school as an agent not of the society but of the family, with authority vested in loco parentis, an extension of the parent's will, but with greater resources."


1. The first sees the school not directly as an agent of the family but rather as an agent of the religious community of which the family is a part. The school is an institution of this community, the family is a part of the community, and the child attends the school as a part of this functional community.

2. The second, the orientation on which independent private schools are based, sees the school as the direct agent of the family in a very individualistic sense.


1. The school as agent of the larger society or the state;

2. The school as agent of the community; religion is not intrinsic to the orientation; the school is an outgrowth not of the individual family, but of a community of families.

3. The school as an agent of the individual family. If the school does not meet expectations, [parents] attempt to intervene, or more likely, move the child to another school.


Two orientations have created a dilemma for educational policy. A direct confrontation of these orientations can be a step toward resolving the dilemma in a way that will benefit America and its children.


The first orientation sees schools as society's instrument for releasing a child from the blinders imposed by accident of birth into this family or that family. Schools transcend the limitations of the parent's disparate [different, dissimilar, diverse] cultural backgrounds. They have been a major element in social mobility, freeing children from the poverty of their parents and the low status of their social origins. They have been means of stripping away identities of ethnicity and social origin and implanting a common American identity.


The second orientation to schooling sees a school as an extension of the family, reinforcing the family's values. The school is in loco parentis, vested with the authority of the parent to carry out the parent's will. The school is, in this orientation, an efficient means for transmitting the culture of the community from the older generation to the younger. It helps create the next generation in the image of the preceding one.


When the community is an extension of the family, when the society is a homogeneous nation that is an extension of the communities within it, and when the state expresses the aims of the homogeneous nation, then these two orientations coincide for most families. But when one or more of these conditions does not hold, a conflict arises.


United States was homogeneous
Protestant, English origin population

conflict created

Irish Catholic immigrants--Catholic schools
German immigration--(transformed during WW1 nationalism)

Conflict: (Separate but equal)

Southern white dominated, segregationalist [families and communities] conflict with the egalitarian, color blind orientations of the nation as a whole.


US Supreme Court in 1954
Brown v. Board of Education.


In the late 1960's was a period of great value conflict between the dominant traditional values of the generation in control and values extolling freedom for youth and release from the narrow views of the past.


In the 1970's and 1980's, a number of conservative Christian schools and evangelical Christian schools have been established by parents concerned about the values transmitted by the public schools, secular and in opposition to Christian virtues as they perceive them.


These schools represent attempts to recreate a cultural and value homogeneity for the children that insulates them from the values which permeate the larger society. These examples of conflict between the functioning family and the schools as a means of emancipation from the family shows the diverse setting in which the conflict arises, as well as its fundamental character.


higher survival from private schools strongly related to
academic performance
amount of homework done
weakly related to behavior problems

If private sector policies have an impact on survival in college, it is more through the academic preparation they provide and study habits they inculcate than it is to shaping behavior patterns.


Success in work is also related to grades in high school but is more highly related to discipline related behavior than is survival in college.

Implications--social context of school:

1. the kinds of families whose children are in the school

2. the kinds of social structures in which family and school are embedded.






Physical capital is created by working with materials to create tools that facilitate production . . . can include human capital.

Human capital is created by working with persons to produce in them skills and capabilities that make them more productive. Schools constitute a central institution for the creation of human capital.

Social capital exists in the relations between persons. Trust is a form of social capital.


The social capital of the family is the relations between children and parents.

It is irrelevant to the child's educational growth that the parent has a great deal, or a small amount of human capital, if the human capital possessed by parents is not complemented by social capital.


Structural-Functional Deficiencies

The situation in which many children of well educated parents find themselves today is that human capital exists in the family, but social capital does not. [bourgeoisie]

It is the absence of social capital within the family that we have labeled ‘deficiencies' in the family .

Structural deficiency is the physical absence of family members:

single parent families and families in which the mother worked before the child entered elementary school.

The nuclear family itself can be seen as structurally deficient, lacking the social capital which comes with the presence of grandparents or aunts and uncles in or near the household.

Functional deficiency in the family is the absence of strong relations between children and parents despite their physical presence in the household and opportunity for strong relations. The child does not profit from [the parents' human capital] because the social capital is missing.

The social capital that has value for a young person's development does not reside merely in the set of common values held by parents who choose to send their children to the same private school.


Social capital resides in the functional community.

the actual social relationships that exist among parents and in their relations with the institutions of the community.

Part of that social capital is the norms that develop in communities with a high degree of closure.

relations between one child and the parent of another.


. . . when students relate with one another in school and the parents are not in a position to discuss their children's activities, to develop common evaluations of these activities, and to exercise sanctions that guide and constrain these activities.

It is the absence of intergenerational closure that prevents the human capital that exists among the adults from playing any role in the lives of the youth.

This lack of intergenerational closure constitutes missing social capital.

Social capital once existed for many public schools, when they served a clientele in which

mothers worked in the home, and

everyday contacts were largely with neighbors.

But neither in most modern public schools nor in most nonreligiously based private schools does that intergenerational closure now exist.

The evidence presented in this book indicates that the absence of this social capital represents a real resource loss for young persons growing up.

Physical capital is ordinarily a private good--proper rights.

Human capital, produced in schools, reaps its benefits, in the form of higher paying jobs, more satisfying or higher work status, or even the pleasure of greater understanding of the surrounding world.

Social capital as a public good.
Social capital that does not exist for physical capital and human capital threatens the social, psychological, and cognitive growth of young persons in the United States and, indeed, throughout Western society.


The decision to move from a community may be entirely correct from the point of view of [a] family, but because social capital consists of relations between persons, other persons may experience extensive losses by the severance of those relations, a severance over which they had not control . . . [ie.] the weakening of norms and sanctions that aid the school in its task.

For each family, the total cost it experiences as a consequence of the decisions it and other families make may outweigh the benefits of those few decisions it has control over.


Dropout [from school] was least in those which were grounded in a religious body and served a religiously homogeneous set of students. . . . emphasize(ing) the importance of the embeddedness of young persons in the enclaves of adults most proximate to them, first and most prominently the family and second, a surrounding community of adults.

The decreased strength of the family and the local community

deficiencies are growing rather rapidly
rise in proportions of women working outside the household
follows that of the man (from an agricultural environment).

. . . the household progressively denuded of its adult members. . .

. . . the declining number of adults in the household of the average American child

the extended family vanish

one of the parents vanishing

decline of adult social capital available to children in the community outside the family

the decreased embeddedness of children and youth in family and community

. . . increasing psychic involvement of the youth with the mass media.

attention directed to these media is attention directed away from the adults who have traditionally constituted the social support for education and social development of the youth. fn p. 230

. . . because of the declines of family and community the youth with strong psycho social foundations are decreasing in numbers.

The former institutions supported and strengthened the formal educational institution in which children and youth are placed

the goals of schools become increasingly difficult to attain, as the social base that supports them comes to be less and less important in the lives of children and youth

. . . something must give, and the most likely direction would appear to be a radical transformation of the institutions into which children are placed.


intergenerational closure constitute social capital that is widespread value for young persons in high school

social capital is particularly valuable for young persons from families in which the social capital or the human capital of the parents is especially weak.

students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and perhaps those from deficient families, would do less well in schools surrounded by strong functional communities.

‘Expectation theory' or its close relative in sociology, ‘labeling theory,' asserts that persons live up or down to others' expectations of them or to the labels attached to them by others.

According to this theory and research, higher expectations and standards will be held by teachers for those students from families with high status, while those students from low status families will be stigmatized with the reputations of their parents, low expectations for their achievement will be held by teachers, and adult members of the community outside the school will treat them differently.


intergenerational inheritance of status

The best know of these is Elmstown's Youth (Hollingshead 1949), based on research in a small Illinois town.

Hollingshead's evidence was suggestive and illustrative rather than conclusive

. . . a graphic portrayal of how a functional community can strengthen the advantages of the already advantaged and block the opportunities of the disadvantaged.

theoretical positions, expectation theory and labeling theory, lead to the general prediction that those private schools based on a functional community will confer more benefits on those students from advantaged backgrounds relative to those from disadvantaged backgrounds than is true for public schools, or for those private schools not based on a functional community.

based on the single dimension of religious association encompasses all arenas of social and economic life.


Given the changes that have reduced the social capital outside the school, what can be done to increase the social capital available to children?


Intergenerational Close

. . . a private school may destroy some of the remaining social capital that can still be found in residential neighborhoods.


. . . when the decisions made by one person have extensive consequences for others . . . [decisions] that affect social relationships which provide resources for schools.


. . . build and strengthen relations among parents of children in the school, as well as relations between parents and the school


The young are seriously at risk because of the decline in strength of the family and those institutions that spring from it.

It is important that government policy be made in
full recognition of this risk and of potential ways of reducing it.

© Institution for Authority Research, Dean Gotcher 2006-2016