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Education performs an important role in society. In its broadest sense, education is simply one as- pect of socialization : it involves the acquisition of knowledge and the learning skills. Marxist believes that school is the preparation for the future jobs. For Marxist, education is the exploitation of population by ruling class. This essay will evaluate the Marxist theory of education in a Contemporary society. First, it will explain the Marxist theory of education, then it will criticism the Marxism and compare with the Functionalist theory, finally it will introduced the New Rights.

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According to Marxists, modern societies are Capitalist and are structured along class-lines, and such societies are divided into two major classes. The Bourgeois elite who own and control the means of production who exploit the Proletariat by extracting surplus values from them. The Marxist perception on education performs three functions for elites: First reproduces class inequality, then legitimates class inequality and it works in the interests of capitalist employers. We can see class inequality in school, the wealthier pupils use their power to get the best education and then have middle-class jobs. Meanwhile, working-class children do not have this power, so they end up in working-class jobs because they have a standard education. Moreover, for the Legitimation of class inequality, Marxists argue that money determines how good an education you get. For example, in school, we learn that we all have an equal chance to succeed and that our grades de- pend on our effort and ability. If we fail, we believe it is our own fault, we think it is fair when in reality it is not. It is the « myth of meritocracy ». Then, Bowles and Gintis suggest in “Schooling in Capitalist America” (1976) that there is a correspondence between values learnt at school and the way in which the workplace operates. The values, they suggested, are taught at the school and the way in which the workplace operates. The values are taught through the “Hidden Curriculum”. In other words, pupils learn through the experience rather than the main curriculum subjects taught at school. For example, the passive subservience of pupils to teachers corresponds to the passive subservience of workers of managers. Education is controlled by the elite class, they have the power to control the working classes not with force but with ideas, know as “false conscious-

There is an overwhelming wealth of evidence that schools do reproduce class inequality because the middle classes do much better in education because they have more cultural capital and be- cause the 1988 Education Act benefited them. This act established a national curriculum for all state schools in England and Wales, based on a system of testing and assessment. The main role of education in a capitalist society for Louis Althusser (1971) was the ‘reproduction of an efficient and obedient workforce’. He argues education is an ideological state appa- ratus which helps pass on ruling class ideology in order to justify the capitalist system.
However, the Traditional Marxist Perspective on Education has been criticized as being too deterministic by Henry Giroux. He argues that working-class pupils are not entirely moulded by the capitalist system, and do not accept everything that they are taught. In an important and discussed study, Paul Willis (1977) developed a distinctive, Neo-Marxist approach to education. Like Henry Giroux, Willis recognizes the existence of conflict within an edu- cation system. Willis focuses on the way that education prepares the workforce. He argues that education can have unintended consequences for students; consequences which may not be completely beneficial to capitalism.

Willis studied a Midlands school in England in the 1970s. Willis’ research involved visiting one school and observing and interviewing twelve working class rebellious boys about their attitude to school during their last eighteen months at school. He used a variety of methods: ‘observation and participant observation in class, around the school and during leisure activities, regular recorded group discussions, informal interviews and diaries’. In the course of research, Willis tried to understand the experience of schooling from the perspective of the students. However, Willis argues that not all pupils are brainwashed into the Hidden Curriculum. Willis believes that pupils do not have values and norms naturally. However, Willis still believes that this counter-school culture still produces workers who are easily exploited by their future employers. Willis described the friendship between these twelves boys, called the ‘Lads’ as a counter-school culture. Their value system were not the same of the school. ‘During film in the hall, they tie the projector leads into impossible knots, make animal figures or obscene shapes on the screen with their fingers, and gratuitously dig and jab the backs of the ‘ear’oles’ in front of them’ (Willis 1977). According to Willis, the Lads were anxious to leave school at the earliest possible moment, and they looked forward to their first full-time jobs. Willis believes that the Lads were well prepared for the work that they would do. It was their very rejection of school which made them suitable for male, unskilled or semi-skilled manual work.
for male, unskilled or semi-skilled manual work.

Marxist theory on education can be compared with the other theory, which is the Functionalist. Functionalists focus on the positive functions performed by the education system. There are four positive functions that educations perform. The first one is creating social solidarity, which means that we have social solidarity when we feel as if we are part of something bigger. This is done through the learning of subjects such as History and English. Emile Durkheim argued that “school is a society in miniature” preparing us for the society. For example, in school and at work we have to cooperate with people during the group works, which get us ready for dealing with people at work in later life. The second positive functions are learning specialist skills at work. At school, individuals learn the diverse skills. For example, we may learn the same subjects, but later we are going to do different jobs. Then, Parsons argues that education acts as the ‘focal socializing agency’ in modern society. The secondary socialization is school. The last positive functions are the role allocation and meritocracy. In other words, education  guides people to a job that suits them best. This is seen to be fair because there is equality of opportunity, everyone has a chance of success and it is the ablest who succeed through their own efforts; this knows as the meritocracy.

Emile Durkheim was concerned about social inequality, but he also believed that the role of soci- ology was to describe the society without aiming to change it. Functionalist approaches to educa- tion have therefore been portrayed by their critics as being rather conservative: analyzing the functions of education in maintaining a stable social order.
Finally, the New Rights is a new theory about education, sim- ilar in many ways to functionalist. The New Rights believe some are naturally more talented than others; education system based on meritocratic principles and education should socialize pupils into shared values. The marketization of education , is a new system; that competition between schools would bring greater diversity, choice and efficiency to schools. For example, we can ob- serve two different kinds of schools. First, Harrow school is an independent boarding school for boys in England, founded in 1572. It is a privileged school that selects its students to form elites. Not everyone can enter into this school. The other school is Summerhill school, founded in 1921, is « free » school. The system that Summerhill employs is not only about education; it is also about problems experienced by modern families. However, the New Rights is criticized because the private schools deliver higher quality education because the customers paid for that and schools fail to produce students
with right skills. Marketization reproduces and legitimates inequality; schools in demand are more selective for high achievers.

To conclude, Education encourages people to accept hierarchy and to be obedient. This is good for capitalism as it creates students who will later become good workers. Also, schools emphasis high achievement and high flying jobs; implicitly mean highly paid jobs, better profits for company owners and more exploitation for the workers. Schools also encourage the idea people get what they deserve in education, when in reality educational achievement is primarily a result of the chance circumstances of your birth. 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.