Pages 677 - 678 of William Little's Introduction to Sociology
) includes the following text which directly counters the structural functionalist perspective:
do not believe that public schools reduce social inequality. Rather, they believe that the educational system reinforces and perpetuates social inequalities arising from differences in class, gender, race, and ethnicity. Where functionalists see education as serving a beneficial role, critical sociologists view it more critically. To them, it is important to examine how educational systems preserve the status quo and guide people of lower status into subordinate positions in society.
The fulfillment of one’s education is closely linked to social class. Students of low socioeconomic status are generally not afforded the same opportunities as students of higher status, no matter how great their academic ability or desire to learn…Barriers like the cost of higher education, but also more subtle cultural cues, undermine the promise of education as a means of providing equality of opportunity."
The concerns of critical sociologists are directly reflected in the chart on the "Educational Equity"
topic page. If the structural functionalist perspective was accurate and the critical sociological perspective was inaccurate, we would expect to see no differences in the educational attainment of Black and non-Black Canadians or males and females. Educational attainment would be solely based on merit (i.e., achieved characteristics). Yet clear differences are evident in the separated out race and gender data, lending credence to the critical sociological viewpoint.