Back to class: Capitalism and the school system

12:00pm Saturday 24 August

About this session

When Scott Morrison tried to scold high school students striking for climate action by saying “[w]hat we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools”, he summarised the intended function of the school system under capitalism. The school system does not exist to challenge the operation of capitalism, but to prepare future generations for their place within it. Elite schools train the ruling class for a life of power and privilege while poorer public schools prepare workers for a life of being told what to do and being disciplined for stepping out of line. The school system is an arena where battles over the nature of education are waged. Should it be an increasingly privatised institution or one that remains publicly run? Should it be a tool of industry with strict curriculums and standardised testing to produce the workers of tomorrow? Or should it be an institution run collaboratively by teachers and students with the goal of personal growth and development? What would education look like in a society unrestrained by the limits of the capitalist system and what is the role of both teachers and students in these struggles? This session will explore these questions and more.

Recommended Reading