Han, Siqi (2020). Reproducing the Working Class? Incongruence between the Valuation of Social-Emotional Skills in School and in the Labor Market. Sociological Perspectives.
The power of social-emotional skills to improve student achievement has been hailed in recent literature. Yet foundational work in sociology of education indicates that these skills may benefit the status attainment of middle-class students more than lower-class students, as schools cultivate class-specific social-emotional skills appropriate to a student?s perceived future occupation, reproducing the class structure in the labor market. Drawing on a high school student sample from Add Health, I examine the GPA and career rewards for two types of social-emotional skills, engagement with teachers and with peers. Results suggest that engagement with teachers benefit students? educational achievement and occupational status, and engagement with peers benefit their income, but a distinct class-based effect heterogeneity of engagement with teachers is only seen in school: middle-class students benefit from it more than lower-class students. I discuss the implications of these findings for research on social-emotional skills and social stratification.