Has anyone ever read any of Bowles and Gintis' theory on education? Remember doing them in sociology and being absolutely enthralled by what they had to say
They described how capitalism needed an obedient, hard working and docile work force that was too fragmented to challenge its authority and that school was the arena in which the socialisation needed for such a system took place.
Their studies found that pupils who attained lower grades tended to be aggressive, independent and creative and that for a pupil to be succesful it was necessary to have good punctuality, do as the teacher says, have the ability to remember and replicate what they were told and in general be obedient to a hierachy of power and knowledge. Now this is pretty obvious, the best way to learn is, of course, to follow the information and guidance of someone who knows better, thats why we have the SWP.
They later go on to say that an acceptance of hierachy is created and matured through schooling, if a student is to do well he or she will follow instructions, obey orders and stay in line, it is essential that authority is defered to the teacher, the teacher is in effect the boss or the line manager.
The children are motivated by external rewards, they may be pressure from parents or simply the attainment or Grades. These are necessary because the actual work undertaken, as in life, is often boring and monotonous. The Grade is a compensation for the fact that they have little or no say in the information they are being filled with and the passive acceptance of authority that must acompany this learning process if they are to be 'succesful'.
For Bowles and Gintis the division of subjects and roles in school is similar to the division of labour, subjects are compartmentalised and divided up, the pupil studies subjects which are completely seperate from each other, without connection. Different specialists teach different subjects, just as a different boss may supervise one workforce thats condition and actions are completely seperated from another workforce whose tasks differ in their process and technicalities.
They also believe that education helps develop the myth of equal opportunity and the idea that if you work hard and do as your told the 'world can be your oyster'. This myth quickly comes crashing down for many once they leave the confines of education and sell themselves on the market, for others it persists and they spend their whole lives sitting in line so in order to one day be able to have the pleasure of making others sit in that line and thus wield the power of perpetuation in their turn.
In short Bowles and Gintis believe that school is essential to capitalism as without it it would not be able to produce obedient, punctual, subservient workers who are compelled to immerse themselves in work that is monotonous, boring, and often without logic, in order to be able to pay the bills and put food on the table.