In this essay I am going to assess the Marxist view on the education system. Ill firstly explain what Marxism is, follow by writing about how it views the role of education and finish with what functionalists and feminists say to oppose it.
Marxists are very negative about the society we live in. They see the bad in most things. They believe that society is dominated by the ruling class. Marxists also believe that society is based on conflict.
Marxists and feminists argue that education acts as an ideological tool. Other Marxists views on education are that students are manipulated to think in certain ways and have certain values, ‘hidden curriculum’ transmits values like respect for authority and obedience etc. and that capitalism is a positive thing. Marxists agree with functionalists in that education performs a socialisation function but they disagree that it benefits all. Marxists would argue that education is a part of society’s superstructure.
Bowles and Gintis conducted a study on schooling in capitalist America in 1976 and found that school mirrors the workplace and that school and work are based on a strict hierarchy that both emphasise the external rewards like good grades or rise in pay and that share values like punctuality and attendance. They also found that meritocracy is a myth, as is the idea of social mobility- working class blamed for their own failure. A criticism of Bowles and Gintis is that they over-emphasise class whilst ignoring ethnic and gender inequalities.
Paul Willis conducted a study called learning to labour in 1977. He accepts that the Marxist view on education is linked to the needs of capitalism. Willis studied 12 working class boys during their last year at school and their first months at work. The boys had rejected school by not paying attention, misbehaviour etc and by doing this at school, they ended up in the most exploitive jobs capitalism has to offer. A criticism of Paul...