American Public Education
Maddie Mellor College Writing 24-102 Dr. Boggs American Public Education Today, education enables us to enlarge our knowledge and open doors for opportunities to the path of having a good future. In the five readings, each written by a different author, there was a lesson learned and something to take away from each one. Reading through the passages by Mann, Moore, Malcolm X, Gatto, Rose, and Anyon, each author contributed his or her point of view on general public education. This topic can be very argumentative depending on the quality of education people receive.
Education today is the single most important mean for individuals to achieve their personal goals in the workforce. In Horace Mann’s “Report of the Massachusetts Board of Education,” he gives his opinion about all the different sorts of education. Examples such as, physical, intellectual, political, moral, and religious education all play a part in who we grow up to be. This is why quality education is so important. Horace Mann makes a point that public schools follow strict rules and curriculum, which transforms all students to become the same person.
He asks the question, “Does education empower us? Or does it stifle personal growth by squeezing us into prefabricated cultural molds? ” (Mann, page 123). The type of education we receive can critically shape and enhance our identities either in a negative or positive way. One example of a negative view would be the story written by Michael Moore. He explains how our country is simply a bunch of “idiots. ” In the passage entitled “Idiot Nation” written by Michael Moore, he discusses his opinion on Americans today and our lack of knowledge.
He feels like we live in a nation of idiots. Moore believes that although there is a large number of unintelligent people in our country, we all have the capability to be very smart and expand our minds to more things than we realize. He referenced high school seniors and said that they are trained to live the same routine every day of their lives as students. Teachers tell them, “Don’t do this, don’t do that, tuck your shirt in, wipe that smile off your face, where’s your hall pass, and DETENTION” (Moore, page 134).
Mostly every student today is treated like this and it is all they have ever known when it comes to discipline. Every student today has the same responsibilities and the same consequences if you do not fulfill them. I, as a former high school student, completely agree with what Moore discusses in this story because every student is looked upon the same way, and if a student wanted respect from faculty, he or she had to earn it. However, Moore’s credibility does not reflect much on his strong opinions about public schooling.
Considering he was a college dropout over something as silly as not being able to find a parking spot doesn’t seem acceptable for us to care for what he has to prove about education. Being a responsible student and providing yourself the best education is partially up to the student themselves and each child in a public school has the capability to teach themselves anything they want to learn if they just put their mind to it. “Learning to Read” written by Malcolm X tells a story about himself and how he taught himself to read.
Personally, I thought this was the most interesting to read about because it proves just how far one can actually come if he or she is driven and determined to accomplish something. Malcolm X was motivated by the knowledge he was surrounded with and wanted to be able to communicate. He was inspired by everything he had never known and said, “I was because of my letters that I happened to stumble upon starting to acquire some kind of a homemade education” (X page 210). At that point in his life, he was determined to do something no one has ever tried before, and that was to teach himself how to read.
He said that, “the best thing I could do was get hold of a dictionary to study and learn some words” (X, page 211). Before long, Malcolm X was a fluent speaker and a very successful writer. He had a wide knowledge for speech and vocabulary because of the time he spent devoted to learning. However, there are things one can learn on their own just by going out into the real world. John Taylor Gatto wrote about the topic of boredom in his story “Against School. ” He was an award-winning educator, so most believed his statements about education to be true because he was such a credible source.
Gatto discusses his belief of having children learn more of what they will need to live on their own in the real world. He wants students to take their education with them out into the world instead of learning pointless material in public school that will never be applied to the real world. Gatto references this to boredom and uses it as an example of why some children do not enjoy school. Material that is required to be taught bores students easily, and does not expand their minds to subjects they are interested in. He asks, “Do we really need school?
I don’t mean education, just forced schooling: six classes a day, five days a week, nine months a year, for twelve years” (Gatto, page 148-149). Students are trained to become addicts of everyday school and it strips them of responsibility and independence. Eventually, once we can understand the tricks and traps of public schooling, we can avoid them. In “I Just Wanna Be Average,” Mike Rose goes back to his years in school, in which he also referred to them as bottom level classes. Throughout his schooling, he was placed in low-ranking classes by accident, but decided to move on to the more academically advanced track.
Rose goes in depth about each and every one of his teachers, and describes his classmates he was around during the time being during the time he was in the low classes. The students Mike Rose has class with were discouraging for him to be around and he mentioned that “the vocational track he was on, is most often a place for those who are just not making it, a dumping ground for the disaffected” (Rose, par. 159). He explains that his teachers acted like they could care less about teaching their students and instead use physical violence or a lack of lesson plans to control them.
I personally believe that teachers today do not act this way. As a former high school student, teachers are encouraged to help their students with anything they might need. That is their job and what they are supposed to do is teach. If a teacher is not able to assist you in something, they simply are not doing their job correctly. Education is looked upon as a very important part of someone’s life and determines ones future. This simply shows that if students are driven enough to further their education and improve their lives, teachers are there to help guide them.
In the last passage “From Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work,” Jean Anyon proposes that certain aspects of teaching show that there is possibly a hidden curriculum in schools based on the performance of the students as well as their social status. She investigated details of each school’s curriculum from different areas and in most people’s opinion, schools are ranked by their socioeconomic status as whole. Implying that the quality of education is worst for working class schools and best for the more elite schools, there are strategies to go above and beyond.
Though she does not necessarily agree with this opinion, she does define the purpose of schoolwork, and she says, “Schoolwork helps one to achieve, to excel, to prepare for life” (Anyon, page 172). Between every twist and turn that is found through education. We are all here to achieve the same goal, simply because we want to be successful. It’s obvious that education has improved over time and more people have been taking advantage of the opportunity to gain knowledge and better themselves.
Each one of these authors proves important points to consider about education and to form your own opinion. There is a lesson learned and something to take away from each one. Each author contributed his or her point of view on general public education. This topic can be very argumentative depending on the quality of education people receive, however, education enables us to enlarge our knowledge and open doors for opportunities to the path of having a good future. Education today is the single most important means for individuals to achieve their personal goals and be successful. Mann, Horace. Report of the Massachusetts Board of Education. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford St Martins, 2012. * Moore, Michael. Idiot Nation. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford St Martins, 2012. 134. * Malcolm X, . Learning to Read. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford St Martins, 2012. 210-211. * Gatto, John Taylor. Against School. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford St Martins, 2012. 148-149. * Rose, Mike. I Just Wanna Be Average. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford St Martins, 2012. 159. * Anyon, Jean. From Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford St Martins, 2012. 172.