ENG 101 TTh 8:00am
8 March 2015
The Failing American Educational System I remember when I was back in grade school, it was such a good time. I didn’t have a care in the world it seemed like. I didn’t have to work to support myself, have any car payment and I definitely didn’t have to do my own laundry. Little did I know, the school in which I was attending would be slowly molding me, training me to become a working class individual. This is significant because what if a child could grow to become something else or could aspire to be something greater? My purpose in writing this essay is to look at the problems and some possible solutions in the American educational system today. First of all, let me say that the educational facilities where I attended were all private schools with exception to my junior and senior years of high school. Looking back, I’d have to say that I received a very decent education. I had teachers (some better than others) that guided me in the right direction and influenced me to be the person I am today. At the same time, I’ve also experienced the stinging wrath of a teacher who seemed “in over their head”. As I navigated my way through junior high and high school, I now find myself in the clutches of a junior college system called Santiago Canyon College. A very nice campus compared to the previous junior college I attended. Now is an interesting time because I’m currently going through exactly what this essay will be about; The American educational system. According to the 1848 document “Report of the Massachusetts Board of Education” by Horace Mann, “the common school” should be the centerpiece of the approach to democratic education. A “common school” in the time of Horace Mann is the same as a public school today. He received this idea by conducting research on Prussian school systems in 1843. (Rereading America pg. 110) Mann states, “Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, – the balance wheel of the social machinery.” Mann believes that allowing each child equal educational rights, regardless of economic income or social class, would give each child the best opportunity to grow and become a valuable member of their given society. Mann stresses the importance of physical, intellectual, political, religious and moral education. This is very similar to Puritan views because the Puritans also believed in having a set curriculum for their children that we still use today somewhat. Horace Mann would lay the groundwork for the American educational system today way back in the colonial era. Next, let’s examine the differences between “education” and “schooling”. In John Taylor Gatto’s writing, “Against School”, he states, “If we wanted to we could easily and inexpensively jettison the old, stupid structures and help kids take an education rather than merely receive a schooling.” (Rereading America pg. 142) It’s interesting how Mr. Gatto separates the terms “education” and “schooling”. To some people, these two terms might mean the same thing. Not to John Taylor Gatto. Education is the type of training that will last a pupil’s entire lifetime, not constricted by walls of a classroom, and will directly assimilate to real life situations. It may involve taking risk every now and then, but it is essential to becoming a critical thinker. School trains children to be employees and consumers instead of leaders; to obey reflexively instead of critically and independently. Well-schooled kids have a low threshold for boredom. Well-schooled people are conditioned to dread being alone, and they seek constant companionship through the TV, the computer, the cell phone, and through shallow friendships quickly acquired and quickly abandoned. Your children should have a more meaningful life, and they can. (Rereading America pg. 149) This answers the question to why people are so bored with school.