Essay about Unattainable Success

Submitted By hsdenison
Words: 1408
Pages: 6

Ever since the 1950’s this country has exploded with the desire to break the mold and celebrate individuality. So why then does the educational system still punish us for not fitting in? Both John Taylor Gatto and Reg Weaver feature this question in their writings, but each have their own strategies for fixing the dilemma. Gatto focuses more on getting the reader to realize that the system is solely set up with the desire to make society easier to manage. Weaver on the other hand, talks more about the increased emphasis on standardized testing. Both agree though that the system is too broad, and set up much too similar to a factory line. According to these two authors, celebrating individuality is the key to effectively educating the youth such that they will actually learn to break the mold and get a chance to acquire success. In Gatto’s essay, Against School, he brings to his readers’ attentions what he thinks are the utmost problems with our educational system. He believes more than anything that there is too much structure, and not enough freedom. He says that instead of forced schooling, maybe homeschooling has the right idea. Students should be able to focus more on what they want to do instead of having a set list of core requirements to attend to throughout their educational career. He also brings up another major point when he says, “We have been taught in this country to think of ‘success’ as synonymous with, or at least dependent upon, ‘schooling’” (Gatto 25). Why should success be determined by how much schooling we have had and how many years of education we have survived? Gatto thinks that the quantity of schooling a child has gone through is not an appropriate way to determine our achievements. Lots of people around the world have made it big without even stepping foot in a public school. According to Collins World English Dictionary the definition of success is, “the favorable outcome of something attempted” (“Collins”). So why is it that we focus all of our attention to grades and everything else that comes with forced schooling? Why don’t we just celebrate a student’s desire to learn more? According to Gatto, the educational system should encourage students to focus on subjects that interest them, so that they have a better chance of success. Weaver’s essay focuses on the problems with the “one-size-fits all approach” that the system prides itself in. The biggest issue he addresses is standardized testing and how the system focuses the majority of its attention on it. He can not stand that schools are taking away all of the things he thinks are the most important for students to learn to make way for more and more testing. On top of that they expect every student to have the exact same style and pace to learning, and if you do not make the cut then you are not as successful as the others. He backs his feelings up when he says, “An astonishing 155 elementary and middle schools and 88 high schools were identified as ‘in need of improvement’ under the federal law” (Weaver 8). How can it be that the majority is in jeopardy of failure according to the system? Is that not direct proof that something has to be wrong? Everyone develops at their own pace, and not everyone can reach the goals of the government at the rate that they expect. Weaver thinks we need to follow the progress of individuals rather than simply grouping people by age. Both writers agree that the system needs to be fixed, and that most of all there should be more of an emphasis on the individual throughout the school system in America. The two agree that a student’s success should not be determined on how much schooling they have had because everyone is unique. The whole reasoning behind the problem, is that the way the system was set up in the first place was meant for a completely different time and set of people. The educational system was originally designed to make the people manageable, rather than encouraging true success within