The functionalist theory is the most effective approach to elucidate our education system. According to the school of thought, society encompasses various functions to which diverse tasks are assigned. For example, a typical community comprises a system of authority, family, religious institutions, media, and businesses. These aspects are substantially interdependent and must work together for society to thrive.
Barkan (2017) appeals to the functionalist theory by viewing learners as not only the subjects of various societal issues but also key stakeholders in addressing them. The author suggests different strategies and efforts that students can employ to address vital social issues. In essence, education acts as a foundation for delineating and resolving the challenges facing society and poses an obligation that children shoulder as they grow (Barkan, 2017). Learners, therefore, are participants and crucial functional units in society.
In like manner, education sets the framework for explicating and devising new social actions required to fight social ills. According to Leon-Guerrero (2014), it takes every critical facet of society—notable of which is education—to address current and future social problems fully. For example, exposing learners to social issues and approaches to modeling and controlling them is a significant step towards ensuring social justice.
Notably, education is also a model by which some social inequalities are manifested (Leon-Guerrero, 2014). Discrimination, for instance, is observable in the education system, institutionalized through discriminatory policies and regulations. Thus, learning institutions are functional units by which social injustices are exhibited. Overall, the functionalist theory is ideal for understanding and externalizing the modern education system. Learning establishments are critical societal units through which issues and their solutions are conceived.
Barkan, S. E. (2017). Social problems: Continuity and change. University of Minnesota Press.
Leon-Guerrero, A. (2014). Social problems: Community, policy, and social action (4th ed.). Sage.