In his development of the conflict theory Karl Marx concluded that in order to explain human history one must study the conflicts between groups in society. The basic names for these two groups are the bourgeoisie, which is comprised of the group in power and the proletariat, the oppressed people. Recently the United States Senate rejected a bill establishing a school voucher program. From a functionalist s point of view the good and the bad weigh equally.
The manifest functions are numerous. First of all the vouchers would allow less fortunate parents to send their children to higher institutions of learning. As a result, this would lessen the overcrowding in today s public schools. Impovement would be forced upon the public school system in order to compete with the private schools. Another of the manifest functions is to relieve taxpayers of double taxation. Each parent that sends their children to a public school is essentially paying a double tax. The first is for the public schools and the second for the private schools, where they actually make use. It is inherently unfair for families to have to pay twice for a single service. The vouchers would rectify the situation by returning the tax money to parents for use in private schools. Another manifest function is that the overall moral of the nation s youth will improve. Public schools are morally degenerate, failing to provide our nation s youth with proper guidance. This is directly tied to the elimination of school prayer and Bible reading. Vouchers will allow less financially prosperous families to send their children to religious schools where children will enjoy religious freedom.
The unintended or latent functions would severely alter today s society. Each of the latent functions also serves in a dysfunctional way. Whatever the cost of private school education, voucher systems force the government to subsidize the cost of such education for students already attending private schools. That would cost the American taxpayers billions of extra dollars. In giving public school funding to private learning institutions, the public schools would be lacking in funding for improvement. The schools already lacking in funding would be put at even a larger disadvantage. Public schools will also become the waste land for the unwanted students. Private schools are free to pick and choose whomever they wish as students. On the other hand, public schools must allow all students attendance, including those with expensive physical or learning abilities, behavioral disorders, contagious diseases, or language deficiencies. Vouchers also sponsor discrimination. As mentioned above, private schools are free to discriminate at will, refusing or expelling and student they wish for any issue. The government and taxpayers should not finance this discrimination. Because private schools are not overseen by the government harmful institutions such as cults and hate groups could receive government funding by opening a private institute. The funding of some private schools is also a violation of the separation of church and state. Government funded programs cannot be in support of a single race or religion.
Conflict theorists would study this issue as a means of those who have and those who are without. The less fortunate are without the funding to gain a private education. The more fortunate wish to prevent their admission into their private, expensive world. The event is not functional for either group in the long run both groups would suffer in the restitution of allowing a school voucher program. The main conflict is over economic classes. The higher class is able to afford private education, which some people deem better than the government subsidized public schools. The lower economic brackets are unable to afford these private institutions.