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'Education is a tool of the ruling class'- Discuss.

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'Education is a tool of the ruling class'- Discuss In this essay I am going to be exploring the various ideas surrounding the above statement in particular ideas of the theories of social class in relation to education. I will be looking at both sides of this statement using both the Marxist perspective and the Functionalist one. When looking at each of these theories I will be relating them to the 3 universally agreed broad functions that education is stated to hold in society: socialising young people into cultural values, teaching the skills required by a developing economy and allocating people to the most appropriate job. Each of the theories differs on their opinions of these roles and therefore hold opposing views in the statement that 'education is a tool of the ruling class. I am going to initially look at Marxism as this theory looks at the concept of class domination very closely and thus it relates to this title most suitably. By examining the foundations, criticisms and different case studies in relation to these theories I will be able to conclude whether I believe 'education is a tool of the ruling class' or not. ...read more.


Bowles and Gintis stated that there is a correspondence between what goes on in schools and what goes on in factories. The boring routines that are emplaced upon pupils, mirror that of a factory workforce. Also the acceptance of authority and hierarchies that is taught in schools and the motivation from external rewards, good exam results, smile from teacher, reflect that of which goes on in the workplace, bonuses etc. In 1977 Paul Willis did a case study in Birmingham to analyse cultural reproduction within schools, the aim of his study, in his own words, was to see 'Why working class kids get working class jobs.' After studying a group of working class 'lads' during there last 1 1/2 years of school and their first few months of work he was able to relate their time spent and interaction within the education system to the wider social structure. Willis concluded his study with a link, like Bowles and Gintis, between school and work. However, unlike them he did not find the lads to be the obedient, passive pupils that B + G evaluated. He stated that the lads weren't shaped by the education system and that the correspondence was produced by their rejection of school. ...read more.


This is how they believe that education is a meritocracy in which people are rewarded simply on the bases of intelligence, ability and effort. Having explored both angles of the statement 'Education is a tool of the ruling class' I have come to see that education, like both perspectives believed, teaches learning in a social sense essentially more than it does in a cognitive sense. I agree with the Marxist perspective when stating that education is not a meritocracy. When surrounded by the universal idea, league tables etc, that private, fee paying, schooling is better in the teaching of the curriculum knowledge, which is the knowledge necessary to get the qualifications that are so important in this society and the statistics that more pupils who attend these institutions gain higher paying more powerful jobs, it is hard to believe otherwise. Education has always been selective since its very beginning where it was only open to those with the money to afford it and in sense those with the money, namely not the working class, but the dominant class are still able to buy the best education and therefore secure their place of power where they are able to shapes the society around them and use whatever tools available to them, whether it be education or the religion or the workplace or the government, for whatever means they wish. ...read more.

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