chapter  3
16 Pages

Structural Functional Epistemology

WithColleen A. Capper

This chapter considers how educators grounded in a structural functionalist epistemology react to diversity, difference, and equity. Educators from structural functional epistemologies tend to view the existing social order and its institutions as legitimate and desirable. The structural frame considers the structure of an organization, how tasks and people are allocated and integrated, and can lead to a host of structural issues and dilemmas. A structural functionalist epistemology does so by creating a system based on white, middle-class culture, and then, when students do not assimilate to this culture, students are negatively labeled and segregated into separate programs. For educational leaders who come from a structural functional epistemology, whether at the district or school level, students labeled with disabilities are viewed as someone else's responsibility – that someone else is responsible for "those kids." Related to social class, from a structural functional epistemology, poverty is viewed as the problem of the person in poverty.