Bowles and Gintis Marxist view is that the hidden curriculum shapes the future workforce in the following ways. It provides a subservient workforce by penalising creativity, aggressiveness and independence and rewarding perseverance consistency, dependability and punctuality. It also encourages acceptance of hierarchy. Students obey teachers, and this is reflected in the workplace where they obey their employers. At school students are encouraged by external reward just as a workforce in a capitalist society is rewarded by external rewards. School promotes fragmentation of the curriculum, this is reflected in the workplace where different people carry out specific tasks. Further more education makes society feel fair and just. The workers are socialised to believe that equality of opportunity exists and that the system is meritocratic, this is called the legitimisation of inequality.
Marxists such as Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis would argue that the education system is meritocratic, and deny that this can become so with a capitalist framework. They reject the view that we all compete on equal terms and claim that the children of the wealthy and powerful tend to obtain highly rewarding jobs, irrespective of their abilities. The education system disguises this with its myth of meritocracy. Those who are denied success blame themselves and not the system. If one perceives Bowles and Gintis to be correct, then the education system is a myth and it creates and propagates the following myths; Educational attainment is based on merit, occupational reward is based on merit and education is the route to success in the world. They concluded that those at the top deserve their power and privilege. They have achieved their status on merit and those at the bottom have themselves to blame. The education system efficiently disguises that economic success runs in the family and therefore rejects the Functionalists view between education and stratification.
In conclusion Functionalists and Marxist have similar and also differential ideas towards education. Functionalists such as Parsons believe that schools operate on meritocratic principles. They believe that status is achieved on the basis of merit and that it’s fair and equal for all. However Bowles and Gintis reject that education can be meritocratic within a capitalist framework because they believe that class background is the most important factor influencing levels of attainment. Bowles and Gintis also claim that children of the wealthy and powerful have a higher chance of obtaining a higher and better-paid job. This rejects the Functionalist view by Parson that everyone has equal chances and this is disguised through the myth of meritocracy.
Both groups state that education has different purposes. The Functionalists perspective states that schools’ transmits society's norms and values. Bowles and Gintis Marxist view states that education's major role as the production of labour power. They agree that education transmits norms and values but of the workplace and through the hidden curriculum.
There are elements in both arguments that can be interpreted as being right. I agree that a school transmits societies norms and values but I also believe that family and friends play an important part in transmitting values to the individual. I also reject the Functionalists view that school is meritocratic because not everyone has an equal chance and not everyone will achieve the same even if they have the same ability. Children of the ruling class always have greater chances and opportunities to develop and the structure of society ensures their continued opportunities.
Tutor : Chris Youle