Functionalist View Marxist View Education Benefits Sociology Essay

Education was not always free for everyone in Britain, nor should it look like it'll remain free, at least in regards to to higher education in Britain. Until relatively lately (1871 Forster Take action) education was only open to those who could find the money for it, the top class and a portion of the middle category. Public colleges (those that you payed for) were one of the few types of schooling. The working course child received an extremely short and simple education, usually in a religious run school, a Church institution. Then with industrialization, education was little by little extended to all or any. It had been argued that in order for Britain to achieve success, that is, stay at the forefront of the worlds economies it had to have a literate and numerate labor force. Education for any happened because the capitalist professional system required certain talents amongst the workforce and because the capitalist class was broadly supportive of it.

The Ideological Functions of Education

For many Marxists education sometimes appears as the ideological apparatus of the state, that is, it disseminates ruling-class ideology. It is a misconception making machine, its very existence appears to foster the most absurd beliefs. This is very much the argument of the France Marxist and philosopher Louis Althusser. According to Althusser no category can hold ability indefinitely solely based on the use or threat of force. THE AUTHORITIES, Military and the Prisons can only just restrain the tide but not a tidal influx. Ideology provides the most effective means of control, by handling what others think you control what they do. It is the most complete form of control.

Althusser is convinced that the training system has bought out from the Chapel as the primary agent of ideological transition essential to the maintenance of the capitalist economic system. For instance, in the past most people accepted their positions in life, no matter how intolerable, because they believed it was Gods will. These were poor because God wished it so, these were starving because God wished it so, these were powerless because God wished it so. Such beliefs are actually in decline, although many still carry them, much more common is the belief that everything boils down to the great God of education. Those who are smart and hardworking prosper in education and gain educational qualifications and subsequently do well in the wonderful world of work. Those who find themselves unemployed and working in low paid careers didn't gain educational qualifications and were most likely not academically gifted. This is, however, an ideological notion as it has been shown that the higher your parents cultural class therefore the higher your educational qualifications and duration put in in education. School still decides where you finish up in nearly all cases. The education system propagates the view, however, that success is all down to intelligence and effort.

Schools directly transfer the ideological belief that capitalism is reasonable and just. For example, you might learn about free market economies and exactly how their competitive character creates great prosperity for every North american. You might learn about how precisely companies compete in the market place, which in turn means that they make an effort to under-cut rivals which in turn means constant advancement in efficiency and value for the general public etc.

A good example, one which I read while travelling on the train, is provided by those who go to the local elite college. I happened to overhear, much to my astonishment, a woman of about 13 or 14 years old actually advertising stocks in her "school business". Her plus some fellow pupils experienced set up their little business, at the bequest of these teachers, and were now busy selling shares to their fellow pupils. She described it was a reasonable investment. Her fellow pupils, equally enthusiastic, purchased the shares with greedy hands. The very fact that their educators suggested and encouraged such activity would seem to claim that those students involved with it, and around it, would come to start to see the private venture system as a just and reasonable system. The conception of the role of the professor is, after all, one of fairness and equality.

Schools are also ideological for the reason that they foster certain beliefs which function to ensure the continuance of the capitalist system and perform certain other functions. Ideology is made up not only of certain values that distort simple fact but also of prices which function to preserve the existing communal order. One of these values, especially widespread in societies such as America and Britain, is that of competition. The institution is an area of competition, the educators the judges and instigators. The use of certain sports in institutions is part of this ideological function. For instance, the using of competitive games such as sports, rugby, cricket etc. where there are two opposing factors, one side will be winners the other losers. One aspect must compete keenly against the other, they must make an effort to outscore their competitors. The winners, and the ones who perform best, are afforded prestige (the Jocks) while those who do not are openly mocked by instructor and student alike. Pupils are educated to compete rather than to help one another to each others mutual benefit. It really is this type of value connection which is instrumental to the survival of capitalism and its own "smooth" functioning. Putting it simple, if the working school decided that rather than fighting for the limited variety of jobs that exist at any moment, thus ensuring that some haven't any jobs, that they would band together and demand full occupation then capitalism, and with it the capitalist course, might be overthrown.

The education system also plays an ideological role for the reason that it is through the school that much of our stock of knowledge, whether it be ideological or elsewhere, about the globe is gained. The school is one of the primary agents of socialization. Only certain things are, however, educated in schools. This isn't so much because professors are reactionary middle-class types, although many are, but more because what they are permitted to teach is governed by the curriculum. What they instruct is dictated by the their state. They may well wish to train students about things such as Socialism, Anarchy and the evils of the free business system however they dare not. For example, I learnt about Russian background without ever recalling hearing what Karl Marx or hearing a single notion of Marx expressed in category. If someone experienced said Marx to me at era 15 I would have replied Groucho Marx? You are trained a sanitized view of history, one where class conflict does not figure. Background is taught as if history were nothing more than the product of certain charismatic individuals. You will also learn about "democracy" but never about the alternatives to "democracy", that is, socialist democracy. When you are told of socialism you are advised of the Communist regimes of Russia, further perpetuating the ideological opinion these societies are socialist when it's evident they are not.

Bowles and Gintis

"Schooling in Capitalist America"

Bowles and Gintis, in among the finest known Marxist accounts of the training system, argue that there is a detailed correspondence between your social relationships which exist in the classroom and the ones of the work area. This correspondence is essential for the duplication of another generation of employees appropriately schooled to accept their roles and position in modern culture. Without this correspondence capitalism would not function quite so easily. There would be continuous "rebellion" within the work environment and even many who thought a new cultural order was necessary to realise full human potential.


One of the things that university and the place of work have as a common factor (aside from being boring and monotonous) is they are both hierarchically organised. A hierarchy essentially means they are organised in a way that is analogous to a wedding cake. There are different tiers each one resting after the other, each one smaller than the other, with each one in turn having more vitality or specialist than the main one below. In the bottom of the institution cake rests the base of the pupils while at the very top sits the pretty little cherry of the headmaster or headmistess, then above them there is another hierarchy. Pupils have little control over what they learn so when they learn it and exactly how they learn it. This is decided in part by the educator and partly by the curriculum. This corresponds to their later connection with work, which like school is organised in a hierarchy. Karl Marx details the workplace as follows:

Masses of labourers, congested into the factory, are organised like soldiers. As privates of the professional army they may be put under the demand of any perfect hierarchy officials and sergeants. . . (Communist Maniefsto)

In college pupils are inspired, through various sanctions, both negative and positive, to comply with the prevailing hierarchy. Schools reward punctuality, hard work and compliance and discourage creativity and critical awareness. You could think but only about how better to execute a given process (instrumental reasoning), Don't ever before think about the merits of the duty itself. Such characteristics, which college fosters in the majority of pupils, are what employers require and desire. They don't want personnel who question power or who come to work five minutes later part of the or spend their time thinking about how better the economical system could be organised so that all may talk about the wealth it generates.

The Jug and the Mug

Schools also correspond to work in that classes offer little satisfaction or enjoyment to the pupil. In most of pupils school is a uninteresting monotonous place, somewhere which takes away their free time and prevents them doing what they want. Learning is conducted on the jug and the mug process. The teachers will be the jugs filled with knowledge the pupils will be the mugs prepared to be filled up with knowledge. The instructor pours their knowledge day after day in the same dreary fashion in to the pupil. The pupil is urged to look towards other things such as educational certification as the purpose of their analysis. Such educational certification, they are told, will mean more income in later life. They should work through exterior rewards. Again this directly corresponds to are work will for a large proportion be extremely monotonous and monotonous in the extreme. They'll either be standing at a stock line duplicating the same job every single day or sitting in an office completing the same task every single day. If education was itself interesting, stimulating and give a feeling of satisfaction then pupils may then expect the same from work, they would be bitterly disappointed. They could even quit the whole idea of income slavery, imagine that!

Inequality is Justified by the Education System

Capitalist societies are societies in which exists inequalities, especially of wealth, power and opportunity. If such inequality was to be significantly questioned, in all its manifestations, then it could, business lead to the erosion and replacement unit of the free market market or capitalism. One way in which this example is avoided is by advertising of the ideological notion that such inequalities are justified. Inequalities are to put it simply, right. Education makes inequality more socially satisfactory by broadcasting the myth that it offers every student an equal chance. Nowadays in societies such as Britain and America all children are entitled to condition education. The argument is that those who achieve top qualifications go on to top careers and that they deserve their success because they are smarter and even more hard working then their fellow class mates. The training system helps bring about this misconception and leads visitors to think along such lines by just its life. Bowles and Gintis, however, explain that your likelihood of educational success are closely related to the class of your parents. The bigger the social category of your parents therefore the greater the length of time of your stay in education and the higher your certification.

But how about the evidence that implies a relationship between educational success and brains. Various studies show that those who achieve educational success, higher education skills, have higher IQs than average. They are really putting it simple, shiny. Bowles and Ginits do, however, attempt to counter this debate. They claim that the relationship between both of these variables is not really a causal one. Cleverness does not determine educational success. If this was true then you would expect people with approximately the same IQ to possess approximately the same educational success. Ginits and Bowles examined the educational attainment of these with about similar IQs and found broadly different educational attainment levels. They claim that the higher than average IQ of these who have obtained higher educational qualifications is a by product of their longer duration in education. Their higher IQs are a result not a cause of their educational attainment. Certainly the data would appear to claim that this is indeed correct.

The Misconception of Education

(Some Personal Observations)

Part of the prominent ideology of most capitalist societies seems to be the belief that intelligence plus devotion equals educational success which means success in the workplace. We can represent this chain of thought by the next equation:

Intelligence/Commitment =/+ Educational Success = Monetary Success

Material Resources

I will now package with the first part of the equation, that cleverness and devotion equals educational success. This is simply not true. Bowles and Gintis claim that by contrast educational success is set much more by the communal school of the students parents. This isn't to say that all those from a working-class backdrop won't achieve educational success or that those from higher or middle income backgrounds will achieve educational success. Ralph Miliband ("THEIR STATE in capitalist Modern culture") puts it as follows: "It may well not be essential, in order to achieve materials or professional success, to be created of wealthy or even of well-to-do parents: but that is definitely an enormous gain, rather like getting started with a select golf club, membership which offers unrivalled opportunities for the loan consolidation and advancements of advantages which it in any case confers. " Being born of well-to-do parents provides certain benefits, a few of which are based on the better materials circumstances of the family. But how is money translated into educational success? There are a number of ways in which this is translated.

Money can't buy you like but it can buy an Education

Material riches allows parents to provide certain resources which in turn help their kid gain educational success. They can for case pay to send their children to general public schools (price paying universities) where no matter how undeserving the scholar they are probably assured educational success. In Britain rumour constantly circulates that the "Toffs" get their exams marked easier than their status institution counterparts. Whatever the truth of such rumours the surroundings and standard of coaching is certainly of a higher standard than an interior city comprehensive, poorly funded with demoralised staff.

Even if parents are not sufficiently off to send their children to open public institutions (ones that you purchase) you may still find other ways in which material physical condition can help. Parents might not be able to find the money for to buy their children an education but they might be able to manage to send their children to private tutors to subsidize their status education. They are able to manage to pay the fees for private tuition over a someone to one basis, which can make the difference between a pass and a fail. Such tuition done on the someone to one basis, conducted over a substantial time frame, could make the difference between educational success and failure. Also, the more you pays so, in general, the better standard of tuition you will get. In North Ireland you might pay just as much as 30+ one hour for such tution from a specialist body.

Lastly, parents can also afford to buy other resources that may raise the students likelihood of educational success. They are able to afford to pay for such things as extra textbooks, a resource which is significantly expensive. They can also afford to buy children one of the very most essential tools of the educational careers, a significant computer with a computer printer and internet connection. Despite what instructors may say to the contrary, plus they say it frequently, presentation is merely as important as content. Your content may be great but if demonstration is poor then your marks are affected. Those with computers and printers have no such problems. They can even run spell inspections and grammar assessments at the touch of a button. Their handwriting may be considered a scrawl but if you print your work no-one need ever before know. The internet is perhaps one of the most important factors in this component of educational success. Access to the internet is not equally spread throughout societies and the entire world. There are those who are connected and those who are not connected. Those who find themselves not connected don't have access to the vast levels of information that are stored on the servers of the internet. Even when there is a connection in college it is not a replacement for a home interconnection. Normally it takes literally hours to find the information you want, most universities have time boundaries.

Ideational Resources

Relations In the Classroom

What are ideational resources I hear you ask. The word Ideational resources is simply one other way of saying ethnical resources. Classes (groupings of people who occupy a typical relatiohsip to the means of production)as you already know (don't you?) have their own, more or less distinct, sub-cultures. That's, they may have different norms, beliefs, beliefs, companies of knowledge, means of speaking, customs or even to said simply means of life. The average working class male or female will not speak and respond in the same way as the average upper class English person. This may lead to certain biases (certain things will happen)within the class which in turn lead to certain types of students being less successful than others.

Basil Bernstein has conducted use regard to what might be termed ideational resources. Bernstein is enthusiastic about speech patterns. We should understand that speaking is not something that comes automatically, conversation is very much cultural not biological. Also, we should understand that certain ways of speaking, such as "speaking posh", are also learnt. Folks are not created with marbles in their mouths others must put them there. Berstein identified two kinds of talk code, : the elaborated form and the restricted form. The restricted speech code can take the form of short hands speech. Such talk is usually short and will not comply with common grammar. The meanings are also hard to understand for those not part of the particular cultural group using the terms. The elaborated code on the other hand uses fully produced sentences with general meanings. Such a conversation code is context free, it can be understood by those who know it whether friends of the speaker or not.

Bernstein also noticed that the proper execution of speech code used mainly in the school room was the elaborated speech code. The elaborated conversation code was the way the teacher expressed him or her do it yourself and it was the terminology where the text reserve was written. The middle-class child to some extent learns and is fluent in both types of speech, both restricted (which they use with parents and friends) and elaborated (which they use within the framework of the school room). The working-class child in comparison only discovers and feels at home with the restricted conversation code. This may imply that during lessons, which are trained in the elaborated conversation code, they lose keep tabs on and cannot understand what is being communicated to them. They will be misunderstood and will subsequently misunderstand what's taught. Hardly a recipe for educational success.

There are different ways where ideational resources also play a role. The classroom can be an arena of interpretation, just like communal life generally. People add meanings (beliefs, purposes, motives etc. ) to items, events and actions. They define the situation and act regarding to this meaning whether true or phony. The class is presided over by the professor who is by virtue of their occupation "middle class". The teacher is a member of an community and can because of this internalised many of the prejudices, both positive and hegative, of that community. This stock of knowledge (prejudices)enables them to use certain brands to pupils. There exists an ideal learner and a disruptive pupil, an "intelligent" learner and a "stupid" pupil. Research has shown that teachers are more likely to label middle income children as students more likely to succeed while they will label working category children as failures or disruptive. This can lead to a home fulfilling prophecy. As the teacher believes a student is destined to are unsuccessful they fail. It is because they may spend less time detailing what to the student and may also let them away with poor work, maybe even with doing no work.

Knowledge and the training System

(Pushers of Rubbish)

Its a commonsesnse assumption that schools do quite similar thing, that is, they educate. But this is only area of the story. What the student learns within the school, be it area of the curriculum or not, will vary with school. To put it simply, those who go to "elite" colleges, classes for the well-to-do and the "intelligent", learn various things to the people who go to "normal" schools. Also, there is certainly even a distinction, in Northern Ireland at least, between status schools. You can find Grammar universities and technical universities. The elite academic institutions, and to a smaller extent the grammar schools, instruct students how to be market leaders. They are allocated positions of expert, they be a part of games requiring leadership, they can be groomed for leadership. They are also taught the mysteries of the free organization system. They find out about "business", these are even given working experience of owning a business. Those who go to the Technical schools, almost all whom are from wroking category homes, are taught to be "doers". They are to be the hands for the thinkers, those who will lead them, their colleagues in the top notch schools. They can be chanelled by professors, and by "career advisors" (pushers of rubbish) to follow certain paths, but practically never prompted to decrease the academic route. The academic way is those from elite schools. How will you ever enroll in the capitalist course or even the many elites of capitalist population if you lack the data of how the system works? How will you become, even if you wanted to, an entrepureneur when all you need ever been taught is usually to be an employee.

The very knowledge that is passed down to children across the generation may have an effect on their chances of educational success. Classes instruct pupils, they try to instill them with knowledge. They don't educate them any knowledge, only certain things. For example, in the top notch schools become familiar with about things such as traditional music, literature, artwork etc. or "high culture" as it is known. To a smaller amount this "high culture" is also within the wider education system, its just diluted. The kid from the top or middle income has already internalised a lot of this sort of knowledge, it is part of their sub-culture. The working school child in addition has internalised certain knowledge however, not of the same sort out. They could know a lot about basketball or films or pop music but they do not really know what the middle course child is aware of.

Perhaps the best exemplory case of this is the TV programme University or college Challenge (shown in Britain). In this particular poor excuse for entertainment two opposing university or college clubs answer questions, the majority of which can be about "high Culture". The victors are universally thought to be "very smart" nonetheless they are smart since they know about "high culture", because they can regurgitate a lot of facts that form part of their daily living, their culture. Putting it simple the student who is able to recite a Shakespearean sonnet is known as a "genius", the pupil who recites the lyrics from a Rage Against THE DEVICE song is an idiot who has squandered their time (Ya Gotta A Kuc*in Bullet in Ya Brain).

The Second Area of the Equation

So far we've only examined why the first part of the equation is incorrect but what about the next part. Will educational success really identical materials and/or professional success?

Not all working school children fail miserably in terms of these education. Some go on to help expand education and gain degree level qualifications, some will even go on to create the rates of the service school. They will be doctors, teachers, journalists, legal professionals some could even become captains of industry. The percentage of those who do achieve this is, however, very small relative to how big is the working class. Across the decades the middle class tends to reproduce itself, middle income parents have children who in turn go on to get middle class jobs and in turn have middle class children and so on. That there is token mobility will not mean that category is not important, indeed such token flexibility may strengthen the existing sociable order. If the prevailing order is thought as just and fair there exists less potential for its overthrow from below.

Middle school children are not only successful because they gain qualifications, this is merely part of the story. Middle income children, and those from the top class especially, are successful in part not because of what they know but because of who they know, or who their parents know. They have got connections, systems of "friends". Suppose there are two people who go for the same job, that of an accountant, one of them is from a working-class record, the other is from a middle class background. The center class job applicant has a dad who is undoubtedly a person in the same Chapel, same Masonic lodge, same DRIVER as the Supervisor of the stock. Exactly who do you think will get the work? The working-class job applicant whose Daddy is a refuge collector or the job applicant whose parents are middle class and form part of the network of "friends", or even to put it just a bit different, have cable connections? Qualifications are important but they are just part of the story, contacts are much more important.

In North Ireland nepotism (presenting favours to family anf friends) has always been rife although it has declined just a bit since Direct Rule. Mainland Britain also, however, has its own form of nepotism or pattern of bias in terms of the labour market hierarchy. In Britain it remains the situation that the elite positions in practically every institutional sector, whether it be in private industry, their state, the church, the Military etc. have been monopolized by folks from a certain track record writing certain educational characteristics in keeping. Many sociologists indicate the existence of an "old Guys network". The British isles sociologist Anthony Giddens argued that in britain there is absolutely no major institutional sector where not even half of those in top positions are of general population school (private funded institution) background. For example the following percentages were found in regards to to the varying institutions:

Percentage who went to public institution.

Anglican Bishops 80%+

Army officers over ranking of major-general 80%+

Top Judges 80%+

Conservative MPs 76%

Senior Civil Servants 60%

Directors of commercial corporations 73%

Directors of financial businesses 80%

Labour Get together 26%(It has probably increased)

As we can see there is a certain pattern with regard to people who occupy the top positions in organisations, be they the armed forces or the business boardroom. Area of the reason behind this style is right down to relationships, the old youngster networks. Those that occupy top positions have been around in many conditions to the same institution, perhaps at exactly the same time. They may have frequented in the same circles, gone to the same Universities (Oxford and Cambridge), and are customers of the same societies etc. They feel a common sense of identity with those who are like them, those people who have had an elite education. If you are an Eton man then you must be fine.

Part of the real reason for this routine of bias in regards to to the educational history is to be within the networks that exist but also in part as a result of higher prestige that attaches itself to certain educational establishments. Whether rightly or wrongly certain educational institutions, such as Eton general population college and Oxford and Cambridge colleges, have much higher prestige when compared to a past Polytechnic in Manchester or a comprehensive in inner city London. This reality turns the complete argument of equality within education upon its head. Degrees are not seen as equal however the same work goes into a diploma from Oxford or Cambridge as in any of the "lesser" colleges. How can their be equality of opportunity when even those people who have equal certification are judged in a different way depending on where they gained such skills?


I have attempted to show that education is something of your myth making machine. All of the education on the globe may not gain you entry to the rates of the capitalist school. You'll want the connections to make your education do the job. Also, the materials disadvantages coupled with cultural drawbacks all conspire to help make the chances of the kid from an operating class background getting a good education significantly less. I myself would see material resources by paramount importance when it comes to educational success. Other factors also come into play, like the standard of enclosure and diet of the scholar, which are towards the middle class child. We ought to not, however, overlook the role that ideational or social resources play in deciding educational success or failure either. Lastly, even when the working school child is successful in conditions of education this in no way is translated into success in the labour market as observed by the good sized quantities of folks with degrees and other higher skills who "underachieve" as it pertains to paid career. ("Two decades of schooling and they put you on your day alter" Bob Dylan). In conclusion it isn't very much what you understand that holds the main element to professional and economic success but who you know. Marxists would argue that true equality of opportunity, whether it is educational or otherwise, can only just be created in a socialist culture in which inequalities acquired ceased to can be found. Raymond Boudon writes: "For inequality of educational possibility to be elimanted, either a modern culture must be unstratified or its university system must be completely undifferentiated. "

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