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Neoliberalism and the New Right

Chubb and Moe - Consumer choice - they argue that state run education has failed because it has not created equal opportunities and has failed the needs of the disadvantaged groups, it is inefficient because it fails to produce pupils with the skills needed by the economy, and because they are not answerable to paying customers like private schools. They did research on 60,000 pupils from low income families in 1015 state and private schools, and they found that children in private schools consistently did 5% better in private schools. Based on their research, they call for the introduction of a market system in education system, in which parents would 'pay' for their children's education through the use of vouchers given to them by the state, and these would be the schools primary source of income. This would promote competition between schools, and would motivate them to work harder to win over parents.

New Right ideas are similar to functionalist ideas in multiple ways. For example, they both believe that some people are naturally more talented than others. They both also favour an education system run on meritocratic principles. 

In the New Right view, there remain two important roles for the state: it imposes a framework on schools within which they have to compete. For example, Ofsted league tables allow parents to make an informed decision. Also, the state ensures that school transmits a shared culture, for example the National Curriculum ensures children are socialised into a single heritage.

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Evaluation of the New Right perspective

  • Gewritz and Ball both argue that competition between schools benefits the middle class, who can use their cultural and economic capital to gain access to the more desirable schools.
  • Critics argue that the real cause of low educational standards is not state control but social inequality and inadequate funding of state schools.
  • Marxists argue that the education system does not impose a shared National Curriculum, as the New Right claim, but imposes the culture of a dominant minority ruling class and devalues the culture of the working class and ethnic minorities.
  • There is a contradiction between the New Right's support for parental choice on the one hand, and the state imposing a national curriculum on all its schools on the other.

Evaluation of Marketisation

  • Shilt sifiting
  • Cream skimming
  • Schools may close if not enough people want to attend
  • Over subscription
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