[Functionalists argue that all societies require that their members perform different tasks.] Examined through the functionalist framework, the formal education system acts as a sorting mechanism by which to initiate the advanced division of labor. While traditional societies relied on ascribed characteristics to determine an individual’s role in society, modern societies use the education system as a means to sort individuals on the basis of achievement, using measures such as grades, test scores, and work ethic to guide high-achieving students into jobs that recognize and utilize their skills, and low-achieving students into jobs that are less skill-demanding. For example, a high-school student wit...
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...he meritocratic role differentiation system described above, form the prerequisites for technological and economic development.
While the functionalist perspective argues that education serves as a mechanism by which to fulfill society’s larger industrial needs through meritocratic role differentiation and socialization, the Marxist perspective argues that education serves the needs of a capitalist society by producing an efficient and obedient workforce. Education reflects not , but serves as an indicator of the power of the ruling class and acts as an instrument by which to create and reproduce social control. The education system serves as a mechanism by which the bourgeoisie ruling class can assert its dominance and control over the proletariat through a) the transmission of ruling class ideology, and b) the justification of capitalism as just and reasonable.
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