Both of these perceptions of schooling constitute only a few out of the other diverse perspectives of the essence of education. It is important to note, however, the major difference between the two: the former assumes that it is the society which is responsible for the school’s make-up simply by comparing it with other institutions of the community, while the latter presupposes that the school and its educational structure primarily affects what the society would be like. Which among the two or the other views of education and schooling would be true is something relative to the interpretation of different people with different stake on education itself. Nevertheless, it is relevant to take into consideration the role of a variety of factors and the interplay of these elements that influence the manner by which people would interpret education. It is because such inclusion to the analysis of the nature and scope of education could perhaps account for the dichotomized, or even disparate, perceptions of schooling. Further explanations and details regarding this perceptual divide in aspect of schooling would be given specific focus under the discussion of the political dynamics in education found in the succeeding paragraphs.
On the other hand, to shed light on the true nature of education and schooling, objective analysis of the functions and the structure of formal education must be taken into account. Reitman (1981) coined the term “traditional ‘manifest’ functions” to refer to the functions of schools, particularly American schools, which are demanded by the society. These purposes that tend to serve the social order include the following: (1) selecting and sorting people out for adult roles, considered the most significant manifest function of schools by which students are classified according to academic merits which in turn became the basis for their ability to be qualified in the preexisting economic and social positions; (2) building and maintaining nationalism and citizenship, contextualized during colonial and revolutionary days schools have the duty to establish, inculcate and uphold into student’s mind allegiance to the national state; (3) transmitting traditional culture, as already mentioned in the previous paragraph, cultural transmission is a relevant obligation of schools that is realized through formal teaching of history and literature; (4) socialization, this, on the other hand, is concerned with the introduction of customs and traditions that are uniformly accepted by the society to the students; (5) propagating religious faith, this applies more to the function of schools in times of colonial period when widespread religious teachings were necessitated to establish colonization; (6) teaching basic skills, reflective of the life-styles and cultural patterns of the society; (7) vocational training, for the mitigation of unemployment in one’s economy; and (8) character education, many argued that this purpose is more vital than the first one since this incorporates moral and ethical norms of society which often change overtime (Reitman, 1981, pp. 36-39).
Aside from these traditional functions are the emerging school purposes which Reitman (1981) deemed “newer” and “controversial” in a sense that they incite deviance from the fundamental and traditional assumptions of education functions. Here are the additional eight functions schools are expected to follow: (1) personal and social problem solving, as manifested in social studies curriculum, schools must be able to adapt to the changing degree of complexity of the society by which individuals and groups are able to solve problems concerning their personal lives and their social environment in which they are part of; (2) social competence in a secondary society, recognizing alterations in the society’s operating contexts, one must be able to be adjust to meet new realizations imposed by the new society; (3) diffusion of new knowledge, innovations in technologies resulted to new discoveries that must be taught for students to learn how to cope with a new society different from that of their parent’s; (4) providing equality of opportunity for a social position, provision of educational opportunities that are accessible to everyone regardless of race, are, gender or economic/social status so as to promote equal competition in the economic marketplace; (5) sex and family life education, the issue of whether schools should involve participation of family and church institutions in teaching such topics which are of immense concern to both; (6) increased functional literacy, the introduction of modern communication aids like visual media put pressure on schools to redesign the “basic skills” component of their curriculum to integrate latest advancement in technology; (7) development of cosmopolitan attitudes, Reitman (1981) identified vis-à-vis the idea of cosmopolitanism the role of schools to educate their students to “live in such an urbanized, secular, global community” (8) existential creativity, development of the “free school” movement and the thought of “open classroom”, which perhaps paved the way for the modern idea of “academic freedom”, provide sufficient grounds for personal expressions of students (Reitman, 1981, pp. 39-43)