Marxism: Everything You Need to Know

Marxism is an ideology that believes the class system has an unfair influence over the realms of politics, education, and society. Marxism believes that to understand the world, one must study the economic consequences of the existence of the class system.  The Marxist movement suggests that an educational system is a tool that’s used by the dominant classes to maintain their control over the oppressed classes.

Today, it’s the capitalist class that primarily determines what’s taught, to whom, and how. This is in line with what Marx once said about the ruling class that rules the society and even its intellectual force.

According to traditional Marxists, the education system works in favor of the interests of ruling class elites. These people believe the education system executes three functions for these elites, namely:

·         replicating class inequality

·         legitimizing class inequality

·         working to meet the interests of capitalist employers

In today’s education system, class inequalities are replicated or carried from one generation to the next. By using their material and cultural capital, middle-class parents make sure to enroll their children in the best schools. Consequently, the wealthier students are likely to get the best education and then get recruited into middle-class jobs. In contrast, working-class students tend to get a poorer standard of education. As a result, they end up doing menial working-class jobs. Thus, class inequality gets reproduced.

According to Marxism, it’s money that decides how good an education an individual gets. Yet, people don’t recognize this due to the schools spreading the ‘myth of meritocracy,’ where every student is touted to have an equal chance to succeed, and it’s said that grades depend on the students’ ability and effort. This way, failure is typically attributed to a student’s fault, which legitimizes or justifies the system because people consider it fair, though it isn’t. The myth of a fair system helps control the working classes. Since the students grow up thinking they were given a fair chance, they’re less prone to rebel and attempt to change society.  

Marxism also suggests a link between the values students learn at school and the way the workplace functions. The values are taught through the ‘hidden curriculum.’ Such curriculum involves those things that students learn through the experience of attending school rather than the core curriculum subjects the school teaches. This way, students are made to learn those values that are essential for them to toe the line in tedious manual jobs.

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