Is education really educating? Or has main-stream education fallen more into a results-driven machine with the goal of producing test scores, college rankings, and the like? Though my last post had ‘college’ in the title, I’m considering the broader institutions that society entrusts to develop the emerging or young adult population which spans from high school through graduate institutions.
One high school teacher replied to me, “I can’t agree more that there are a lot of students who seem overwhelmingly stressed. I don’t think that school necessarily prepares students for life as much now – it prepares them academically, but there is a whole host of other issues that young people need help dealing with.” He described other issues such as work habits, ethics, perseverance, communication skills, values, true critical thinking, and dealing with failure and setbacks. “Society has worked to strip those other things from school,” he laments while indicating the school system does not even allow him the time to really get to know his students because he is forced to cater towards results and not true learning. And he works in one of the better public high school systems in the nation.
To quote another friend of mine, “one generation actually molds another through its ideas about education.”
“Schools have been designed by adults and are staffed by adults. They are the formal means by which American adults pass on their collective wisdom to subsequent generations. The schools’ strengths and failings are thus the product of how several generations of adults have structured their worlds.”
Will we shape more of what we have or something different?