Sociologists analyze social phenomena at different levels and from different perspectives; from basic interpretations to s generalizations of society and social behavior. Sociologists study everything. There are three perspectives/theories that are relative to education. They are Functionalist perspective, Conflict theory, and Interactionism perspective. According to the functionalist perspective, each aspect of society is interdependent and contributes to society's functioning as a whole. The functionalist felt that it was the role of the school to preserve and enforce a certain set of common values that foster social unity and maintain social order. They purpose of the school was to teach the economic, political and cultural practices within a norm of the dominating society. It was here that the students were able to obtain the most valued knowledge and skills necessary to be responsible and productive members of society. The main focus is on educating in terms of nations global standing and the attention is given to the maximum achievement of American students in other countries.
The functionalist point out that is not the larger society or the employer that enjoys the benefits of educating our young, but that the education also pays off richly for the individual. They also believe that schools play an important role in developing moral character. This was a large expectation of the schools throughout much of this country’s history.
The conflict perspective, which originated primarily out of Karl Marx's writings on class struggles, presents society in a different light than do the functionalist and symbolic interactionism perspectives. The Conflict Theory Perspective points out that the school is a tool to be used for success. These theoretical geniuses are basing their views on the conflict between social classes, the workers and the wealthy. It’s a simple case of the “haves” and “have not’s” in the minds of these theorist.