Education- the role of education in society


Education- the functionalist perspective on educat

What is social solidarity?

The idea that societies members must feel themselves to be part of a single body or community. 

How does the education system help to create social solidarity?

It helps to create social solidarity by transmitting societies culture, for example its shared beliefs and values from one generation to the next. For example, the teaching of the countries history  instis  in children a sense of a shared heritage and commitment to the wider social group. 

School also acts as society in minatur preparing us for life in wider society. For example in school and in work, we have to cooperate with people who are neither family nor friends- teachers and pupils at school. Both at school and at work we also have to iinteract with others accordiing to a set of impersonal rules which apply to everyone.

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Education- the functionalist perspective on educat

How does the education system give people specialis skills?

Modern industrial economies have complex divisions of labour where the production of any one thing involves the cooperatiion of many different specialists. Therfore each individual  must have specialist knowlege and skills to perform their role. The education system teachers individuals the specialist knowledge and sskills needed to play their part in the social division of labour.

How is the school is the focal socialising agency, according to Parsons?

In modern society school acts as a bridge between the famiyl and wider society, this bridge is needed because the family and society operate on different principles, so children need to learn a new way of living so they are able to cope in the wider world.

In the family children are judged by particularistic standards, what are these?

Rules which only apply to a particular child.

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Education- the functionalist perspective on educat

In the family status is ascribed, what does this mean?

Status is fiixed by birth, for example an elder son and younger daughter may be given diifferent rights and duties because of age and sex.

What standards do school and society judge us by?

Universalistic and impersonal standards, e.g. in society the same laws apply to everyone.

In school and society how does status come about?

Status is achieved, for exampe at work we gain promotions and at school we pass or fail.

What role does Parsons see the school as performing?

The school prepare us for the move from the family to society, as both the school and wider society are based on meritocratic principles.

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Education- the functionalist perspective on educat

What other role to fuunctionalists see the education system as performing?

Selecting and allocating children for their futuure work roles. By assessing individuals aptitudes and abilities, schools help to match them to the job they are most suited to. 

How do Davis and Moore see education as a device for selection and role allocation?

They argue inequality is necessary to ensure the most important roles in society are filled by the most talented individuals. For example it would be insufficent to have a less able person filling the roles of a doctor or pilot. Not all individuals are equally talented so society offers higher rewards for jobs which require a high ability. This will encourage people to compete for these jobs and society can then select the most talented individuals to fill these positions. Education is the place where individuals show their ability, it sifts and sorts people according to ability, the most able gain the highest qualifications which them gives them entry too the most important positions.

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Education- the functionalist perspective on educat

How can functionalists be criticised?

  • The education system does not teach specialist skills adequately,
  • Marxists argue that education in a capitalist society onlt transmits the ideoogy of the miinority- the ruling class.
  • The new right argue that the sttate education system fails to prepare the young adequately for work.
  • Tumin ciritcises Davis and Moore for having a circular argument.
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education- the new right perspective on education-

What is the core principle of new right thinking?

The idea that the state cannot meet people needss and ppeople are best left to meet their own needs through the free market.

What similarities are there between the new right and functionalist view?

  • Both believe some people are naturally more talented than others.
  • Both favour an education system run on meriotcratic principles of open competition, and one that serves the needs of the econonmy by preparing young people for work.
  • Both belueve the education system should socialise pupils into shared values, such as competition.

What is a key difference between the new right and functionalist view?

The new right do not believe that the current education system is achieveing the goals set out above, this is because it is run by the state.

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education- the new right perspective on education-

What do the new right argue about the education system?

They argue that the state education system takes a one size fits all approach, imposing unformity and disregarding local needs. Local consumers such as pupils and parents have no say, therefore  state education is unresponsive and inefficent. Schools that waste mone or get poor results are not answerable to their consumers, this means pupils have a lower standard of achievemment for pupils and a less qualified workforce. 

How do the new right belive the problems with the education system should be solved?

The marketisation of education- creating an education market. 

According to Chubb and Moe why has the education system in the US failed?

  • It has not created equal opportunity and had failed the needs of disadvantaged groups.
  • It is inefficient because it fails to produce pupils with the skills needed for the economy.
  • Private schools do better because unlike state schoools they are answerable to paying consumers.
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education- the new right perspective on education-

Why do Chubb and Moe call for a indtroduuction of a market system in state education?

As it would put control in the hands of the consumers. They argue that this would allow consumers to shape schools to meet their own needs and would improve quuality and efficency. 

How would we introduce a market into state education?

Each family would be given a voucher to spend on buying education from the school of their choice. This wouuld force schools to become more responsive to parents wishes, since the vouchers would be the schools main source of income, schools would have to compete to attract customers by improving their service.

What two roles does the state have according to new right thinkers?

  • The state must impose a framework on schools within which they have to compete. For example by publishing league tables parents can make an informed choice about schools.
  • The state must ensure that schools transmit a shared culture, by imposing a single national curriculum.  
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education- the new right perspective on education-

How can the new right be criticised?

  • Gerwitz and Ball argue that competition between schools benefits the middle clas who can use theiir cultural and economic capital to gain access to more desirable schools.
  • The real cause of low eduucational standards is not state control but social inequality and inadequate funding.
  • There is a contradicition between parental choice and the compolsory national curriculum.
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Education- the Marxist perspective on education- c

How do Marxists see the state?

They see the state as the means by which the capital class dominate their position. 

According to Althusser which 2 apparatuses serve to keep the capitalists in power?

  • The repressive state apparatus- which maintain the rule of the bourgeosie by force, or the threat of it. This incluudes, police, courts and the army.
  • The ideological state apparatus- which maintains the rule of the bourgeoisie by controlling peoples ideas, values and beliefs. This incluudes, relgion, the media and the education system.

According to Althusser what 2 functions does the education system perform?

  • Education reporoduces calss inequality, by transmitting it from generationto generation, failing each working class pupil in turn.
  • Education legitamises class inequality by producing ideologies that disgusie its true cause. The function of an ideology is to persaue worers to accpet that inequality is inevitablle and that they deserve the subordinate place in society- meaning a revolution is less likely.
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Education- the Marxist perspective on education- c

According to Bowles and Gintis what is the role of the education system in capitalise society?

To reproduce an obediant workforce that will accept inequality as inevitable.

What do Bowles and Gintis conclude from their study of 237 New york high school students?

Schools reward the kind of personality traits that make a submissive, compliant worker. For example, students who showed creativity got low grades, while those who showed chracterisitics of punctuality and discipline tended to gain higher grades. They argue that this ecidence shows that schoooling helps  to produce the obediant workers which capitalism needs. They believe educattion stunts and disorts pupil development.

According to Bowles and Gintis what are the close parallels between education and society?

Both education and workplaces have hierachies, with head teachers or bosses at the top making decisions and giving orders, and workers or pupils at the bottom obeying. 

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Education- the Marxist perspective on education- c

What do Bowles and Gintis call these close parallels?

The correspondence principle- the relationships and structures found in education which mirror or correspond those found in work. 

How does the correspondence principle operate?

Through the hidden curriculum- the lesons learnt in school without being directly taught them. For example through the everday workings of  the school pupils become accustomed to heirachy  and competition.

How does the correspondence principle serve the needs of capitalism?

They prepare pupilss for the role as the exploited worker in the future, reproducing the workforce capitalism needs and perpetuating class inequaity from generation to generation.

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Education- the Marxist perspective on education- c

What is the myth of meritocracy?

Meritocracy means everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve, rewards are based on ability and effort, and that those who gain the highest rewards deserve them because they are the most able and harrdworking. Bowles and Gintis argue meritocracy does not exist, family background actually effects income. 

What does the myth of meritocracy serve to do?

It served to justify the privileges of the higher class making it seem that tehy gained them through suceeding in a fair competition at school. This presuades the working class to accept inequality as legitimate, anf males it less likely that they will overthrow capitalism.  

What else does the education system justify?

Poverty through what Bowles and Gintis describe as the poor are dumb theory. 

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Education- the Marxist perspective on education- c

What did Willis study?

Using qualitive research methods such as participant observtions and unstructured inteviews, Willis studied the counter-school culture of the lads- a group of 12 working class boys, as they make the transition from school to work.

What is the lads counter-culture?

A distinct counter culture opposed to the school. They are scornful of the conformist boys who tehey call earoles as uunlike the lads they listen to the teachers.The lads take the **** out of the earoles and girls. They find school boring and meaningless and ignore its rules and values, for example playing truant. These acts of defiance are a way of resisting the school. 

What similarity does Willis note between the anti-school counter-culture and the shopfloor of male manual workers?

Both cultures see manual work as superior and intellectual work as inferior and effeminate. The lads identify strongly with manual work, explaing why they see themselves as superior to the earoles and girls.

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Education- the Marxist perspective on education- c

How does the counter-culture benefit the boys?

It helps them to slot into jobs which capitalism needs them to perform.

Why does the lads counter-culture meet the needs of capitalism?

  • Having been accustomed to boredom at school and finding ways to amuse themselves, theey do not expect satisfaction from wotk and are good at finding diversions to deal with the boredom.
  • Their acts of rebeliion guaruntee they will end up in unskilled jobs, by ensuring their failure to gain qualifications.
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Education- the Marxist perspective on education- c

How can the marxist approach be evaluated?

  • Postmodernists criticse Bowles and Gintis as the psot-fordist economu requires schoos to prouce a very different labour force from the one described by capitalism- education now reproduces diversity rather than inequality.
  • Critics argues that Willis's account of the lads romanticises them, protraying them as woking-class heroes desite their anti-social behaiour and sexist attitudes.
  • Postmodernsits see non-class inequalities such as ethnicity, gender and sexuality as equally important yet marxists ignore these.
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