Functionalists And Marxists Perspectives

Social Class and Educational Inequality

According to Sleeter (2010), social inequalities in the context of education; is founded on the threshold of two main perceptions namely the Marxists and the functionalists. To commence with, the functionalists hold the view that the structure of education is embedded on the premise of meritocracy. Such that individuals who pursue educational merits to elevated pedestals are awarded with better jobs and other honorary awards . Neece, Green and Baker, (2012) argues that education is an essential unifying factor which bonds societal members together.

Means (2017) also suggestively, says education is an avenue of acquiring particular skills, knowledge and perceptions that are vital in doing various assignments. And yet other various scholars maintain that education is a lifelong process that prepares the young generations into future roles as adults (Wexler, 2017). However, those who share in the precepts of functionalists are criticized in the sense that various groups do not merit in schools thus insinuating that there are unequal opportunities in education. The functionalists are accused, that because of the particular underachievement of students, there is elemental ineffectiveness in role allocation amongst stakeholders in an education setting.

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The Marxists maintain that education system is functioning as an ideological component. According to MacVeigh (2012) schools are meant to induce preparedness to learners for job opportunities. The kind of education under disposal should thus; be relevant and need-specific to enable learners to tackle their jobs effectively. Additional; he shares the opinion that education in its nature not only manipulates learners but also brainwashes them. Strand (2014) criticizes Parson’s Role Allocation Model while postulating that people who attain high academic prowess and top job rankings do so because they are industrious and loyal to their bosses (Kraus, Piff and Keltner, 2011). The scholars in their work found out that people the system awards those with high grades as they are deemed to exhibit qualities that are equal the task.

According to sociological research conducted in the past years and the governmental statistics; the person’s social class critically defines his/her educational merits. For instance, statistics convey that the London students residing along the Westminster area achieve higher grades as compared to the students living towards the Newham region. The discrepancies observed are typically founded on social class. Arguably, it is also notable that a parent’s social position has an effect on a child’s performance (Inckle, 2018). The empirical studies conducted by the University of London’s Institute demonstrated that parents who held white collar jobs had children who were ahead than unemployed parents.

Sociologist maintains that economically deprived students encounter difficulties in meeting basic educational needs such as books and tuition fees which then affect them all along. Social class subcultures; including values and norms display discrepancies in educational attainment; according to some sociologists. Ball, (2010) viewed that the working class is already contented with whatever possessions they have and therefore do not strive to achieve much. The working class households tend to be gratified with the existing conditions and thus tend not to work hard to turn over the deprived conditions.

Brown (2013) states that that the elevated position exhibited by the economically empowered people forms a basis to control cultural dominance. The culture controlled is termed superior, with the ability to control educational systems of the day. The children born into high-class parents, therefore, encounter an education culture at home which provides them with an opportunity to do better. The cultural dominance is perceived as a cultural capital since it is reduced into material rewards, including high wages and high job status. Education is thus a social and cultural production as its system presents a dominant culture which gives birth to the class system. By so doing, education failure or success is created which justifies the stand of those at the bottom and top (Hartley, 2017).

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References

  • Ball, S.J., 2010. New class inequalities in education: Why education policy may be looking in the wrong place! Education policy, civil society and social class. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 30(3/4), pp.155-166.
  • Brown, P., 2013. Education, opportunity and the prospects for social mobility. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 34(5-6), pp.678-700.
  • Inckle, K., 2018. Irrational Perspectives and Untenable Positions: Sociology, Madness and Disability. In Subcultures, Bodies and Spaces: Essays on Alternativity and Marginalization (pp. 169-188). Emerald Publishing Limited.
  • Kraus, M.W., Piff, P.K. and Keltner, D., 2011. Social class as culture: The convergence of resources and rank in the social realm. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(4), pp.246-250.
  • MacVeigh, T., 2012. Can a Meritocratic Education System Deliver Equality?. Irish Marxist Review, 1(4), pp.27-36.
  • Means, A.J., 2017. Generational precarity, education, and the crisis of capitalism: Conventional, neo-Keynesian, and Marxian perspectives. Critical Sociology, 43(3), pp.339-354.
  • Sleeter, C., 2010. Why is there learning disabilities? A critical analysis of the birth of the field in its social context. Disability Studies Quarterly, 30(2). Strand, S., 2014. Ethnicity, gender, social class and achievement gaps at age 16: Intersectionality and ‘Getting it’for the white working class. Research Papers in Education, 29(2), pp.131-171. Wexler, P., 2017. Social analysis of education: After the new sociology. Routledge.

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