New Right theorists agree with Functionalists that industrial societies should ideally be organised as capitalist societies and that education systems should operate to meet the needs of capitalism but these New Right theorists also argued in the 1970s and 1980s that in practice state education systems were organised inefficiently and that both their formal and hidden curricula were not geared to meeting the needs of industry.
New Right theorists argued therefore in favour of education policies which would enable effective schools to expand at the expense of ineffective schools as a means of improving overall standards, in favour of increased emphasis within the formal curriculum on the transmission of knowledge and skills specifically relevant to the needs of industry and commerce, and against " liberal progressive" social ideas and teaching methods.
According to New Right theorists these reforms would enable formal education systems to fulfil their economic functions more effectively. There have ,however been several criticisms of the New Vocationalism. It has been claimed that a significant divide has been created between academic and vocational courses and that schools in any case are not suited or resourced for the teaching of business- related courses.
It is also claimed in relation to training schemes that they aimed to shift the blame for youth unemployment from government policy onto the education system; that training schemes were a means of reducing the official unemployment figures; that little real training was given; that the schemes reinforced traditional gender roles; that the training was at the expense of a more valuable general education and that the purpose of the schemes was often to encourage passivity and acceptance of low wages among young people.
However, supporters of the schemes have argued correctly that some useful training was given which increased the employability of the trainees concerned. Nevertheless, more generally, after 18 years of Conservative government, there were still great concerns that the economic competitiveness of the UK economy was declining because the UK workforce was on average less skilled than the workforces of our major competitors, a problem which subsequent Labour governments have also failed to solve.
The new right view believe that the current education system isn’t functioning because it is run by the state. In state education systems, politicians use their powers to influence what children should study. For example they encourage compulsory studying of history and also they chose what kind of school we should have ignoring the needs of individuals. This is using the ‘one size fits all’ rule leaving the consumers with no say or choice.
Therefore some schools run inefficiently leading to a waste of money as they get poor results. This lowers the standards of achievement for children, which may lead to a less qualified workforce therefore the country’s economy in the future, will be a less prosperous one. The new right view believes that there is a solution for these problems. This is that schools should be part of a marketing business. The ‘education market’ should create competition between schools resulting in meeting the needs of the consumers.
In addition Chubb and Moe believe that the education system has failed to create equal opportunities, teach pupils skills needed for the economy and deliver high quality education like the private schools. They also came up with an solution to these problems. They propose a system in which each family gets a voucher to spend on education/schooling. This would encourage schools to improve and meet the expectations of the consumers, as the vouchers will be their only income. This would also create competition in order to attract customers.
In summary it is clear that there are important linkages between education systems and the economy but these linkages can be analysed from different perspectives. Functionalists claim that educational systems operate to increase economic efficiency so as to benefit all members of society . New Right theorists have argued that Functionalists may have been complacent in their beliefs that education systems were meeting the needs of industry effectively and proposed schemes such as those embodied in the New Vocationalism to increase the relevance of education to the needs of industry.