They believe that the education system works against the ideas of the working classes. In their correspondence theory they argued that there was a correspondence between social relationships in the classroom and the work place. By this, they meant that the hierarchies, certificates, and discipline systems that can be found in schools are actually very similar to the world of work. In school you are paid with certificates, where as on the other hand in work you are paid with wages. Marxists also argue that education has a cultural reproduction role.
Bourdieu has argued that schools, along with the staff that work in them are generally middle-class institutions. Working class children simply do not posses the cultural capital, which are things like the ideas, tastes, values and lifestyle associated with a particular class required for success in establishments. This means that middle-class children will generally do better than working class children. This makes school an institution that ensures middle-class dominance from one generation to the next.
A sociologist that illustrates this view is, Marxist, Tomlinson says that differences in class are more important than differences in ethnicity in explaining educational attainment. So it is clear that education looks at classes and allocates where each student goes in the hierarchy. It recreates the education system by teaching children what society wants them to learn through the hidden curriculum, as well as teaching them to accept their roles and place in society, this relates to the class system as it ranks the middle class on top of working class.
Functionalists say the class system in education should change as they believe in the education system being meritocratic as they say that the harder you work the better off you will be. Because the curriculum is based on westernized cultures, there is conflict between classes in education. Interactionists would say that there are many other stereotypes in the education system which puts the middle class in advantage to the working class to which the education system mostly benefits the middle class rather than then the working class.
So, on the whole, the education system allocates students through meritocracy, reflecting their class in society. The well off- middle-class are better off, with more resources, cultural capital etc, and so can work their way up easily, and as we know education success is rewarded with cultural capital. On the other hand, the working class dont have that many benefits, so they do not achieve a lot. Education reinforces the roles the classes have to play in society and re-creates the class system.