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Marxism and Education Essay

The Marxist perspective of education in society can be very questionable because Marxist theorists such as; Louis Althusser, Bowles and Gintis, David Reynolds and Willis all seem to disagree with one another. The first thing I will write about are the strengths. The strengths about the Marxist view are it points out how ideology is transmitted within school via the hidden curriculum, how education legitimises class inequality, it points out the inequalities of both opportunity and outcome on the system and it exposes the myth of meritocracy. From these points I can tell that it tries to believe that teachers are a kind of agent who are trying to wrong the children. Louis Althusser believed that education is an ideological apparatus designed to control children by brainwashing them.

Applying this idea allows the hidden curriculum to transmit values which are not intentionally designed to happen. With class inequality it shows that schools are planting a job title on children which will link to their background. For example, a kid from the working class may get a job working at a car manufactures, while a kid from upper class may get a job as a lawyer. But, this really exposes the idea of meritocracy where if you do well at school you will get a good job as a reward. Now, I will write about the weaknesses. The weaknesses are that many working class children do succeed in the education system. It overemphasises class and ignores other structural inequalities: ethnicity and gender, post-modernists would argue that education reproduces diversity not inequality and Marxists can’t seem to agree with each other at all.

From these points I can tell that Marxists believe that working class children are a lot less smarter than upper class people but actually this isn’t true because you don’t need to be a higher class to be smarter than anyone else it takes the person to be determined to do it themselves. Also, the teacher could show a lot more favouritism to a specific gender in the class like girls or just as easily be based on the colour of their skin. So, you could be the smartest person in the class but you may be a black girl and I may not pick on you.

Post-modernists on the other hand also argue that education reproduces diversity meaning people may not be picked on because of their disability etc. Finally, my last point is that none of the Marxist theorists can’t agree with each other because each theorist believes that their theory is correct and go out trying to criticise everyone else. For example, Bowles and Gintis were criticised by Willis stating that their research wasn’t in depth enough but he could easily be criticised for only researching 12 boys.


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