tools necessary for our intellectual workshop are achieved by
schooling. I suspect that our best tools are realized rather
automatically, but if there is to be outside influence, then, best it
is done early, as the human mind matures all too rapidly.
Children are not
consumed with anxiety to learn anything; least of all has it ever
crossed their minds that they must learn English. How shall we teach
it to them, when the few of us who have begun to know what it is know
it to be a issue of accommodations, a thing with which order, method,
and all that the developing mind first apprehends and rests upon have
nothing to do with a single word. A kind of miraculous flowering of
man’s still unconscious wisdom, preserved to us as a compensation
for our many blunderings, as a reward for our patience in confusion
and our fundamental faith in life.
be defined as a social process by which, skills and beliefs,
attitudes and ideas of the previous generations are passed to the new
generation; it is a process, which is necessary for the maintenance,
achievement and development of man in society. Gerstner States, ?in
the public schools we have clung tenaciously to the ideas and
techniques of earlier decades and even previous centuries,? proving
that each generation depends on the preceding generation. This
definition assumes a biological view of society, one that grows and
evolves with each new generation depending on the growth of previous
We all come into
this world uniform, and, from the start, we are obliged to turn to
others; and while we need a lot of help when we are young, nature has
compensated by building into the young a susceptibility to learning.
So, no matter what one’s view is of what an educational system
should be, most will agree, best to start in while young. What is the
first lesson to be? What each individual needs to know is the
difference between what is naturally right and what is naturally
wrong. The second lesson to be learned, is, that the individual is
better off doing what is naturally right. How does one teach morals?
This is an old dilemma, the teaching of virtue. It is a dilemma
largely because virtue is immeasurable. Virtue is instilled likely by
repeated actions, a process of trial and error, beginning at the
mother’s knee and to be continued by all those with whom the child
has close connections, and this would certainly include the child’s
It takes a
“good” teacher, one full of great skills and a glow for
presentation of the subject; it is particularly difficult when the
subject is morals or virtue. We, adult and child alike, find
ourselves in a vast market where the “Culture Standardizers”
provide an immediate and sensual gratification to all comers.
before us is, what is the importance of education? One goal, as
Spring states in his book American Education, is to produce
reasonable citizens, ones that ?commonly hold a political creed or
else society is doomed to political strife or chaos?
be the essential method of building humane, free, and democratic
societies. The aims of education are many: the transmission of
knowledge; training for occupations, careers, and democratic
citizenship; and the encouragement of moral growth. Dewey states,
?the subject matter of education consists of bodies of information
and of skills that have been worked out in the past; therefore, the
chief business of the school is to transmit them to the next
generation.? Among its vital purposes should also be an attempt to
develop the capacity for critical intelligence in both the individual
and the community.
the schools today are being increasingly replaced by the mass media
as the primary institutions of public information and education.
Although the electronic media provide unparalleled opportunities for
extending cultural enrichment and enjoyment, there has been a serious
misdirection of their purposes. In some societies, the media serve as
the vehicle of propaganda and indoctrination. In democratic society
television, radio, films, and mass publishing too often cater to the
lowest common denominator and have become dull wastelands. We need to
believe that television directors and producers have an obligation to
remedy the balance and revise their programming.
answer to any question usually comes out of its definition.
Considering the definition set out at the first of this section,
then, we might say that essentially that education is a socialization
process. Is this best achieved by public education? By private
education? , Or by a combination of both, with one being favored over
What are the
arguments for putting education into public hands? If not the
impossible goal that every one should be educated, then, at least,
the goal of equal educational opportunity for all, or, another way of
putting it, to make education readily available to all. As stated by
Spring, ?all people are given an equal chance to receive an education
or, in other words, equality of educational opportunity?
has been that if the state does not make “free” education readily
available, many of our young will not be educated, an assumption that
may not hold up in these modern times. A further assumption is that
with “free” public education that our children will be educated,
an assumption that is not being born out by the statistics. Parents,
at least those who possess a sense of parental responsibility, would
like to see that their children get the educational basics, whatever
they may be. If children were to get more than just the basics would
depend on whether the parents had the time, the money, and the
interest, interest being the most important commodity. Berliner and
Biddle say, ?Students who care more for their fellow citizens and
their social and physical environment, should ultimately produce a
higher standard of living for us all than one obtained by educating
only the advantaged members of society to score high on all the tests
that accompany the new standards.? Having a lack of interest in
education, parent or student, but more the student is the single
greatest prohibition to our educational standards.
reasons might be stated in support of public education might be
stated as follows: to insure that the education of our young takes
place in an atmosphere which is conducive to learning; that only the
best teachers be employed in the education of our young; and to see
that education takes place in safe surroundings. Anyone might agree,
in respect to our young, that these are necessary goals for any
educational system; the question is which system comes the closest to
meeting these goals? Is it a public school system? Assuming for the
moment, that it is only a public school system, which provides a
mechanism for all to have input (school boards have only recently
become elected bodies), do people reward themselves of such a
The fact of the
matter is that most all of us, including parents, have handed off our
individual responsibilities to make decisions in regards to
education. We as humans feel the need for our responsibilities,
Rogers states, ?personal freedom and responsibility have a crucial
significance, that one cannot live a complete life without such
personal freedom and responsibility.? Are we to just stand by and let
someone else assume our responsibility? The public does not run the
public school system; bureaucrats who are continually trying to seek
a consensus run it. That which is done in the public school system is
done because it has been watered down to the lowest common
description describe our education system here in West Virginia? I do
not know, but the cost and, sadly, the results of our educational
system could certainly be used to support the reform. The proof is in
Biddle: issue #10 Have public schools failed
164-168 Taking Sides 10thed. Noll,J.W. Dushkin 1999.
Issue #1 Should schooling be based on social
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