Educational Reform In A Pluralistic Society Essay

, Research Paper

My personal philosophy of education is that every child has the right to an

education. This education should be such that every student has the equal opportunity

to succeed and learn at the highest level they are capable.

I believe that the purpose of education is to educate people who are well-rounded

individuals. By well-rounded, I am referring to graduates who will be able to apply their

education to numerous aspects of life. This includes people who are going to college

and people who will be entering the work force directly from high school. Every person

should have a wide base of knowledge to draw from and add to throughout their life.

This type of education allows those who wish to pursue a higher education to draw upon

their education in a more intellectual way, and those that choose to work can draw upon

their education in a more “practical” way. Those people who do not pursue education

further will still have a knowledge base that allows them to view many aspects of life with

an open mind.

A second reason I believe that education should be geared toward creating

well-rounded individuals is that I think this will greatly improve the state of our nation. A

majority of our most productive, happy citizens are those ho have had a wide variety of

experiences and have a broad knowledge base. Being able to accept many differences

that occur throughout the human race occurs more readily among those with a broad

educational background.

When deciding what level of government should be responsible for education, I

believe that the primary responsibility should rest on the federal government. The role

of the federal government should be to regulate the standards of education. This should

include monitoring every school in the United States of America to make sure that all

students are receiving comparable education. As a result, curriculum standards should

be set at a national level. The federal government should keep a establish a national

council to decide the standards for each subject area. Representatives from each state

would be appointed to monitor their own state’s progress.

At the state level, state appointed committees would oversee the progress of the

national curriculum. State committees should decide which textbooks will be adopted.

By letting states adopt their own textbooks, this keeps some local control.

On a local level, each school district would be responsible for deciding how the

federal curriculum standards should be implemented.

I believe that every school should strive for both excellence and equality in public

education. Considering ‘excellence’ as students who are working at the highest level

they are capable of at the current time, and ‘’equality’ as an equal opportunity for each

student to learn. (equality does not necessarily mean that each student learns the same

information, but that they are learning under the conditions that suit them the best)

One of the best ways to create an environment that combines equality and

excellence is to use a system similar to Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory.

This theory is an excellent example of combining excellence and equality. Equality is

created because the activities and teaching methods focus on everyone’s strengths. An

education would not be considered equal by my standards if teachers repeatedly teach

in ways that certain students cannot comprehend.

Examples of excellence can also be found in the multiple intelligence theory. By

finding the way that each student learns, each child will be able to do their best work.

When implementing these ideas, the role of the student is the most important.

While teachers are extremely important to the learning process, the students ultimately

have control over whether or not they learn anything. The success of equality and

excellence depends upon what kind of commitment the student is willing to make to

being the best student possible.

After the role of the student and the teacher have been defined, I believe that

education should seek to develop critical thinking skills, not supply students with a

reservoir of factual data. Factual data is important, but the ability to know that the Battle

of Bull was fought on July 21, 1861 is not going to help in a problem solving situation,

which is one of the most important skills to have in life.

I do not believe that meaningful educational reform is possible in a pluralistic,

democratic society. There are too many differences among Americans to be able to

decide on what educational reforms are necessary. Today, the public is convinced that

our country’s educational system is not at the level it should be. Most people agree that

reforms are necessary. Problems arise, however, when the questions of what to reform

and how to reform education are asked. I do not believe that truly beneficial decisions

could be made.

Of all the philosophers that we have studied I would place myself among the

philosophers who advocate experience and wide range of base knowledge. Above all

others, I have discovered myself agreeing most with the ideas of Rousseau.

Some of Rousseau’s ideas that have stood out include his belief that children

must learn by experience, and that learning is more meaningful when it is “owned”.

It is hard to find an elementary school teacher who does not believe that

experience is the best way to learn. Yet even though it is pretty much assumed in

today’s classrooms, I still keep experiences at the top of my priority list. Just as Emile

learned quickly from his experiences in the garden, children in school learn quickly from

experiences. This type of learning lasts a lifetime.

I also agree with Rousseau’s idea that creating a sense of ownership will make

learning more meaningful. This can be applied across many aspects of education -

including discipline, academics, moral education, etc… In Emile, Rousseau comments

that if he makes the student feel that he has put hi time, his labor, and his effort into

projects (the garden) than the student will take care of the garden more carefully than if

the garden was planted by someone else and the student simply had to tend to it.

These ideas can also be applied to discipline in the classroom. If children are

held responsible for their actions, than they are much more likely to control themselves

in potentially disruptive situations.

These ideas are the basis of my philosophy. I believe that even the students who

have lower academic abilities should have an opportunity to receive a comparable

education to those students who will eventually receive their Ph.D., because every

student will eventually contribute to our society, and an education helps determine

whether this contribution will be positive or negative.


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