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Evaluate the Marxist Perspective on the role of education.

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Introduction

Evaluate the Marxist Perspective on the role of education. Marxist perspectives place stress upon the role the schools play in preparing children for their future working role in terms of both skill and values. The crucial factor is that Marxists see education as a means of exploitation of the population by the ruling class. Bowles and Gintis examine the values, which they claim underlie the subjects taught in schools. They suggest that the prime purpose is to produce a willing, subservient workforce, which will continue to help make profits for the ruling class and not challenge their dominance in society. In Schooling in Capitalist America, they argue two reasons for this. One reason is through the 'hidden curriculum' of schooling and the correspondence, or very close similarity, the between the social relationships at school and at work (long shadow of work). ...read more.

Middle

Education legitimises social class inequality by persuading working-class individuals to accept that their lack of power and control at work and in society generally is due to their lack of academic ability, effort and achievement. Bowles & Gintis made a lot of research however their work is poor, and they made assumptions about the existence of the hidden curriculum rather than proving its existence. In addition the formal curriculum of the school does not necessarily reflect an attempt to create a subservient workforce. An alternative approach is that of Willis. He studied 12 working-class boys over their final year and half at school, and briefly into employment. Willis concluded that the education system does not automatically produce in children the values and gradings in of ability, as claimed by Bowles & Gintis, but that there are a wide variety of responses, one of which was that of the 'lads'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Finally Willis can be accused of value bias in that he starts from the assumption that the working class are exploited, and that the responses of the boys are responses to capital society. The Marxist perspective could be criticized because it gives too much emphasis to the role of education in forming students' identity, and they pay too little attention to the influences of other agencies of socialization. Furthermore they don't fully consider the ways students react to schooling in ways that aren't necessarily functional for the social system or capitalism. Lastly they see too tight a link between education and economy, and exaggerate the extent to which schools provide a ready, willing and qualified labour force. The new vocationalism and pressure to drive up school standards was a direct response to employers who criticized schools for not providing a suitably disciplined and qualified labour force. ...read more.

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