Functionalism and education

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  • theories of education- New Right perspective.
    • similar to the functionalist perspective
      • some are naturally more talented than others- meritocratic system.
    • Chubb and Moe
      • American state education had failed. they make the case for opening it up to market forces of supply and demand.
        • disadvantaged groups- lower classes, ethnic and religious minorities- badly served by the state education.
        • state education is inefficient, it fails to give pupils the skills needed by the economy.
        • private schools deliver high quality education as they are answerable to paying consumers.
      • base their arguments on a comparison of achievements of 60,000 people from low-income families.
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      • people from low-income families do around 5% better in private schools.
      • call for the introduction of a market system in education, allowing customers to shape schools to meet their own needs.
        • propose a system where each family member is given a voucher to spend on buying education from a school.
        • schools have to compete to attract 'customers' by improving their product.
          • schools received money based on the number of pupils on the school register.
    • stress the importance of market forces in education, this does not mean thet see no role at all for the state.
      • the state imposes a framework on schools within which they have to compete. eg. publish inspection reports and league tables for exams.
        • they give parents information with which to make a more informed choice between schools.
          • the state ensures schools transmit a shared culture by imposing a single national curriculum.
            • this seeks to guarantee that schools socialise pupils into a single cultural heritage.
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    • believes that education should affirm the national identity.
      • this is to integrate pupils into a single set of traditions and cultural values.
        • oppose multi-cultural education that reflects the cultures of different ethnic minorities.
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    • A02- evaluation
      • Gewirtz & Ball argue the middle class can use cultural and economical capital to gain access to more desirable schools.
      • those who are already advantaged gain greater benefits.
      • the real cause of low education standards is social inequality and inadequate funding of state schools.
      • marxists argue education imposes the culture of a dominant minority ruling class.
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