Marxist Perspective on Education
The Marxists have a conflicting view of the education system, believing that it reproduces inequality and sorts individuals into existing positions in the stratification system which maintains expliotation and privilege in a capitalist society. They believe education sorts students by social class, ensuring proletariat have jobs with low pay and that children of the rich maintain a high status and prestige.
Louis Althusser was a Marxist who researched the role of education in a capitalist society and went on to conclude that the education system was an ideological state apparatus. His theory said that education had replaced the role of the church, which origionally was the main agency for ideological control. This may be due to secularisation and the increasing urge from the nation for more and a better education for children. Althusser said that the ruling class can not control ...view middle of the document...
In 1969 he wrote the book ‘For Marx’ on the otherhand, writing about the education system, showing that he had keen interest and had put more research into his theory and suggests much knowledge around the subject.
Another theory of the role of education in a capitalist society was by Bowles and Ginitis, where they rearched into the hidden curriculum in schools. They argued that there is a close correspondence between the way students are treated in school and in the workplace to prepare them for future explotation, this is achieved by the hidden curriculum where they are taught to behave politely and suppress implulses so that they can become great workers. The teachers maintaining power over the children teaches them to submit to authority and to become a docile workforce in the future who will never challenge capitalism. The fragmantation of the school day also corresponds to the work day to help set an organised, routined life. By keeping the workers busy and unaware of the overall running of the business, they can not complain and use the knowledge to set up another business as competition, as Karl Marx said, ‘Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and you ruin a great business oppurtunity.’ This suggests that we should not educate all students to the finest as there needs to be a clear ruling class that can over power the proletariat and expolit them un be known.
This research was conducted in a study based on 237 members of a senior year in a New York high school. This is makes the study biased as its only in one year of one school and may not account for every other school, also the education system in America may be a different case for schools in England and all around the world. It also showed that truency rates and behavioural issues were not supporting that children were docile and unquestioning.
These theories both help support that education sorts individuals into existing positions in jobs which maintains expliotation and privilege in a capitalist society by socialising the proletariat to accept their future exploitation, by legitimising inequlaity and rewarding obedience and conformity to help transmit the ideological state apparatus.