Professor John Snider
7 June 2015
The Value of Education in the U.S.
“A modern historian looking to chronicle the destruction of the America we all once knew could do no better than to deconstruct the U.S. education system today” (Opdyke). There is no way around the harsh reality that the system of education used in our country is flawed. We as a country are under educating our youth and not providing them the adequate education they need to prosper in society today. There are many factors involved when discussing the dilemma that is education today, such as culpability, politics, student and teacher qualifications, school rules, and discrimination. ...view middle of the document...
All children and their own individual growth need be acknowledged when regarding education. Unfortunately, politics of education are not at all black and white.
There is a large gray area in our educational system, one of those being the No Child Left Behind Act. In the last 13 years since the act was put into effect, there has been arguments over whether the act has helped students academically or not. Studies say there were gains in the levels of achievements in mathematics for varied 4th - 8th graders, some scores being 2 levels higher than before the act was passed. However, the evidence that it is not making a positive impact is indisputable. Many students are struggling because of increasingly harder standardized testing as well as the constant raising of the bar on what they need to maintain to avoid being “failures”. The variety of topics taught in school can be commended as well as criticized. John Dewey that the way we regard skill, training, and access to information in education is ineffective. (Dewey 558). He also wrote about how we are not teaching our students to think or act, which helps them learn about themselves as well as the world, and without that, the information taught is “dead, a mind-crushing load” (Dewey 558-559). What I interpreted of this is that students are taught only what teachers feel they need to be taught, not what will benefit the children.
Teachers teach to their tests. Most of what children are taught lacks application, exploration, thought, and relation to real life problems. “There must be more actual material, more stuff, more appliances, and more opportunities for doing things…” (Dewey 561). Carter Woodson wrote, “The conditions of today have been determined by what has taken place in the past…” (Woodson 594), yet we seem to not have gotten the memo. In the early ages of our country, people learned trades and succeeded in those trades because it was what they needed to do to support their family. Children learned the trade of the farm, or the mercantile, or of the blacksmith and learned from their parents or grandparents. “In old times, men studied for their own sake…” (Tzu 550). Tzu also said that if you put forth much effort into one things, you will become the master of it (Tzu 549). In today’s age, children are made to learn many different things when “they need not study every art form nor every historical event” (Gardner 625). Trying to learn two things at once will lead to mastering neither (Tzu 548), and our knowledge will not grow. Students are not being taught the skills for lifelong learning. “No one has ever explained why children are so full of questions outside of school, and the conspicuous absence of display of curiosity about the subject matter of school lessons” (Dewey 561). “It behooves us to think of what may happen to the spirit of the child who is condemned to grow in conditions so artificial that his very bones may become deformed” (Montessori 579). Is it a...