Professor Gary Breegle
December 15, 2008
There are many perspectives of education that attempt to explain the primary purpose and function of our educational system. Our education system has many functions and responsibilities. One of the major functions is to instruct students with knowledge and skills to help them become respectable citizens. In this assignment I will attempt to compare and contrast the functionalist theory, the conflict theory, and the symbolic interactionist theory.
The functionalist perspective focuses on the many ways that education serves the needs of our society. Functionalist' believe that education is to provide basic knowledge and skills to each generation. The perspective of the functionalist theory is that education is required to have a systematic society. In this attempt it is also understood that the functionalist theory feels that, “the school is to preserve a common set of values that foster social unity and maintain social order”(Webb, Metha & Jordan, 2007). Functionalists see education as a beneficial contribution to a regulated society as with conflict theorist they see the education system as regularly reminding the lower class of their status in our society. In addition, functionalists believe that education performs very important roles for individuals, the economy and the wider social structure while also developing moral character. According to functionalists, education also plays a major part in our economic growth and development of our society.
Conflict theory seems to think that the purpose of education is to maintain the social inequality and preserving the power of those who dominate society. The perspective of this theory is that the education system is continuing the disparity in our society. Conflict theorists feel that the educational system “serve the wealthy and...