Bowles and Gintis Education and Inequality

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In Samuel Bowel’s and Herbert Gintis’ Education and Inequality, Bowels and Gintis investigate how education in the United States is unequal, especially to those indivduals who are financially unstable. In today’s extremely judgmental society, many are at a disadvantage based solely on their class, race, sex, etc. The quality of one’s education is compromised for a number of unfair reasons having to do with artificial inequalities.

Bowles and Gintis felt it was important to write this article, because they believe that the politics of education are better understood in terms of the need for social control in an unequal and rapidly changing economic order. This point is illustrated on page 396 when the authors say, “The unequal contest between social control and social justice is evident in the total functioning of U.S. education.” Through much research of educational history, the authors determined that the founders of the modern U.S. school system understood that the capitalist economy produces great extremes of wealth and poverty, of social elevation and degradation. Bowles and Gintis did plenty of research and went as far back to the late 1700s. They talk about how the wealthy have unfair advantages while disturbing the aspirations and needs of the working people of the U.S.

The main purpose of this article was to inform people that that schools have a function not to teach content, but rather to shape the form of the student, the way the person is in the world in such a way that he or she fits into the economic niche in which they are expected and needed. An example the authors use is from page 396, “In 1779, he (Jefferson) proposed a two-track educational system which would prepare individuals for adulthood in one of the 2 classes of society: the “laboring and the learned”.

The key questions Bowles and Gintis are addressing relate to how inequalities are what keep some people uneducated and others on top. They address that...
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