SOC 211 AB #2
EDUCATION 2 What is education? Is it knowledge in basic skills, academics, technical disciplines, citizenship…or is it something else? Education is a social institution that transmits attitudes, knowledge, beliefs, values, norms, and skills to its members through formal, systematic training. Our formal education system says only the academic basics are important, emphasizing the collection of knowledge without understanding its value. What about the processing of knowledge—using inspiration, visionary ambitions, creativity, risk, motivation and the ability to bounce back from failure? These skills are associated with understanding the value of knowledge, but many education institutions don’t consider these skills. There is a huge, disconnected gap, which is a problem for high school students in particular. Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and many other super achievers never finished grade school. They succeeded because they knew how to research, collect information for a selected project and process knowledge. Classroom environment does not work that way, it focuses on the collection of knowledge without a clear purpose, other than high class grades. If the purpose does not motivate, other than to please the teacher, then there is nothing to process outside of memorizing answers for test. The typical student is academic challenged while being motivation starved. Lack of motivation is lack of knowledge processing skills. The typical college graduate will have a professional skill that supplies life’s basic needs, that’s all. What is education? The answer is, all elements in the opening paragraph and more, relate to education and all should be considered. This would be ideal and sounds good, but "all" is not possible where performance must be measured. Only what can be measured will be selected and the measuring tool is the written test. Anyone who does not have the ability to put clear thoughts on paper is labeled a failure. All natural skills, including knowledge processing, does not count. The fact is, what is exercised grows stronger, what is ignored stays dormant. The classroom exercises the collection of academics leaving all other natural skills in the closet.
Test does not measure intelligence or ability, it does not measure how the mind processes information, how motivating experiences develop persistence, or how the mind sorts out instincts, opinions, evaluations, possibilities, alternatives. Knowledge by itself has no value, it is like a dictionary filled with words. Words by themselves have no value, it is the process of stringing them together that gives them value. How they are strung together determines the level of value. Now our education system is becoming a system that memorizes the dictionary. When students have memorized selected knowledge, then they will be given a one-day test, based on dictionary knowledge, which will influence employment opportunity for the rest of their life. Natural skills are not considered. Is this how America became the worlds' economic leader? Why no it wasn’t. Knowledge only has value when used with a process and process in an artificial environment is not predictable or measurable. Achievers in life use inspiration and motivation to overcome barriers. Teaching to the test does not inspire or motivate anyone, memorizing does not inspire a love to learn, in fact, it does just the opposite, it turns off the desire to learn. Education’s goal should be to develop a love to learn that stays with students throughout a lifetime. Education should be a lifetime experience, not limited to the youth years.
Educators are switching to test because there is a crisis in education of their own making and society wants measurable results. This pressure is passed on to political leaders who base political decisions on what is measurable, which is