Society is based on a system of separate parts that are held together by their shared culture and each perform a function to help maintain society as a whole.
Functionalist - Durkheim
- Education creates social solidarity by transmitting the norms and values of the shared culture to the younger generation. Without solidarity, co-operation would be impossible and individuals would become selfish.
- School teaches children interpersonal skills that apply in wider society and prepare children for it.
- Education teaches specialist skills and knowledge that are needed for individuals to play their part in the social division of labour.
Functionalist - Parsons
- Education is the bridge between the family and wider society.
- Particularistic Standards (the rules for each child)
- Universalistic Standards (the rules which apply to everyone)
- Ascribed Status (fixed from birth)
- Achieved Status (working hard to gain status)
- School/society is based on meritocractic principles.
- Schools allocate pupils to their future work roles by assessing their abilities.
Functionalist - Davis and Moore
- Selection and Role Allocation.
- Inequality ensures that the most important roles of society are filled by the most talented people, which encourages competition.
- New Vocationalism aims to provide society with a skilled workforce by creating schemes that prepare students for work (GNVQ and NVQ)
Functionalist - Evaluation
- Marxists - Schemes benefit capitalist companies who benefit from cheap labour. Lowers aspirations of young children by giving them low-skilled jobs.
- Criticised for idealising education. In reality, the system is not equal and is influenced by class, gender and ethnicity.
- Marxists - School transmit the ideology of the ruling class and suppress the working class.
- New Right - Education fails to prepare students for work as education doesn't encourage efficiency, competition and choice.
- Conservative political perspective.
- State can't meet people's needs.
- People are left best in a free market.
- Some people are naturally more talented than others.
- Education should socialise children into shared values such as competition.
- The state uses a 'one size fits all' approach and current education system is failing because of this and ignores local needs - causes lower achievement of pupils and a less qualified workforce for the future.
- Solution - Marketisation of education by creating an education market. Competition between schools will bring greater diversity, choice and efficiency.
New Right - Chubb and Moe
- American school system failed as the state didn't create equality and didn't develop pupils into effective workers.
- Private schools outperform state schools as they are answerable to parents.
- Studied 60,000 pupils from 1015 schools and found that low income students do 5% better in private schools.
- Parents should be given vouchers to spend on schools of their choice. Schools are then forced to appeal to parents wishes.
- State provides a framework for school's competition by having OFSTED inspections, results published and exam boards. Also ensures shared values through National Curriculum.
New Right - Chubb and Moe (Criticisms)
- Education is failing because the state doesn't receive enough funding.
- Marketisation only benefits the middle class as they use their cultural capital to get into good schools.
- Marxists - schools instil the values of the upper class to control the working class.
- Education is based on class division and capitalist exploitation.
- Education prevents the working class from succeeding.
- State encourages the ruling class to maintain their position.
Marxist - Althusser
Two state apparatuses which keep the bourgeoisie in power:
- Repressive State Apparatus (maintain the power by force such as the police, army and courts.
- Ideological State Apparatus (controls people's ideas, values and beliefs - religion, media and education)
Marxists - Bowles and Gintis
- Education maintains class inequalities by disguising the truth.
- Capitalism requires a workforce who is suited to the role of exploited hard workers and accept low pay.
- Role of education is to produce an obedient workforce who accepts inequality.
- Used questionnaires to study 237 high school students and found that schools reward obedient workers and punish deviant behaviour.
- Correspondence Principle works through the Hidden Curriculum.
- Myth of Meritocracy as the system reproduces class and racial inequalities.
- Willis - school serves capitalism. Studied 12 working class boys who moved from school to work, and ended up in low jobs because school is unfulfilling and boring so they have little expectations from work.
- Post Fordism - education reproduces diversity and equality.
- Willis - students don't always accept capitalism and can develop an anti school attitude.
- Feminists - Marxists over-emphasise class inequality in schools and ignore patriarchal inequalities such as girls being taught to be odedient where boys are encouraged to express dominance.
- Fordism (capitalism requires large numbers of low-skilled workers who are willing to put up with alienation, repetitive work and mass production.
- Marxist view is outdated.
- Society is now post modern.
- Education reproduces class equality as class division of labour influences society.
- Society is now more fragmented and diverse.
- Economy is based on flexible specialisation where production is customised for specialist markets.
- Want an education system which encourages self-motivation, self supervision, creativity and provides life long training so people can adapt to changes in their work environment.
- Education is more responsive to the needs of individuals and groups.
- Correspondence Principle no longer exists.