The Educational System in the United States
The three sociological theories that we have studied in this class, the functionalist theory, conflict theory, and the interactionist theory have affected the educational system in the United States. Each theory has a major roll in our educational system. The functionalist role has included teaching our youth how to work together for the good of the entire society. The conflict perspective has taught us that the more powerful people in society are more apt to flourish. The interactionist perspective shows us that, without really realizing what we are doing, we are separating children into different groups at the earliest stages of their lives. I would like to take this opportunity to show the pieces of these perspectives that should not be deemed acceptable in our society. We have created a society where the wealthy and intelligent prosper while the economically challenged, whether intelligent or not, have been required to work twice as hard to accomplish the same goals. For society to work together as a whole we need to stop teaching our youth that it is acceptable to treat people of different backgrounds differently.
“According to the functionalist perspective, society is made up of a number of interrelated and interdependent elements, each performing a function that contributes to the operation of the whole.” (Merton, 1968: Parsons, 1951; Turner & Maryanski, 1979) (Sullivan, 2007, p. 13) Education is one of the functions that contributes enormously to the whole of society. According to functionalists, schooling is necessary to teach the values and norms that are needed to be successful in society. Children start school at the age of five and begin to acquire the skills needed to get along in society. Not only are we teaching children how to read and write which are necessary within society, we are also teaching them how to behave appropriately to get along in society. We...