Schooling in the US

“The topics examined in this course include the following:  (a) history and philosophy of schooling in the U.S.; (b) public purposes of schooling, including development of civic and democratic virtues and of preparation for the nation’s workforce; (c) issues critical to today’s schools, including the standards and assessment movement and school and teacher accountability; and (d) topics related to becoming a teacher in the state of Colorado.

Upon completion of this course, students will understand and explain historic and political influences on public schools’ curricula, educational governance, and accountability.  They will analyze future trends and needs related to schools including career paths in education. Additionally, they will demonstrate the use of the following  technology skills: word-processing; email for communication, including sending attached documents; and the world wide web to explore resources and seek information related to schooling.”
-From the Colorado State University School of Education

The following assignments demonstrate learning from this course:

Kaylen Sather EDUC 275 Inquiry Paper 1

Kaylen Sather EDUC 275 Inquiry Paper 2

EDUC275 Lesson Plan

Kaylen Sather EDUC 275 Final Paper



 

As a future educator, the importance of studying the school system is crucial to developing an effective teaching style. Schooling in the US has taken on a transformation from what it used to be but it still has changes that need to be made. As the school systems change from day to day, from standards to the diversity within the classroom it is important to learn how to adjust to the changes. From studying the past issues, present issues, as well as possible future issues I have learned many vital skills to help me teach to the best of my ability. Through the semester we have studied: What was, is, and should be the purpose of schooling in the United States, what is your role as a future teacher in fulfilling that purpose, how does schooling continue the existing order and how can schooling transform the existing order? I am now able to offer solid answers to these questions.

Schooling, since the beginning of time has been a tool to further one in society. In the past, schooling has only been available to a select group of Americans, those who could afford it, mostly rich, white males. While we have come a long way in terms of offering education to all there is still a difference in the quality of education. Brantmeier described “The focus of most schools and universities is on the development of marketable skills.”(Brantmeier, Lin, & Miller, 2010) I feel as if this is the current state of education. Schools seem to focus on the get you the skills to get a job and make money, many students are left behind in this mentality however. Schooling should be a focus on the development of the student as a whole, mind, body, spirit, socially, and more. Miller wrote about the need for a holistic teaching approach. This means that:

The focus of holistic education is on relationships: the relation between linear thinking and intuition, the relationship between mind and body, the relationships among various domains of knowledge, the relationship between the individual and community, the relationship to the earth, and our relationship to our souls. (Miller, 2007)

With this sort of teaching approach the students achieve an education focused on the individual and not the outcome. Without the transformation to this teaching approach, students may, in my opinion, become unhappy work oriented individuals. No transformation of self would occur in teaching environments other than the latter.

As a future educator it is important that I not only focus on the material being taught but how I am teaching it in order to meet the needs of all individuals. Educators must be prepared to create well-rounded individuals aware of the world around them. Cushner had said that “it is the business of schools to prepare students for life in larger societies.” (Cushner, McClelland, & Safford, 2003) Educators must “empower their students with knowledge skills to be more effective with their international counterparts” so they can understand all and be able to therefore, interact in peace and understanding and not in ignorance (Cushner, et. al 2003). This idea is to be brought in the classroom as well, not just in preparation for their futures. It is crucial that as a future educator, I be able to create an open and understanding, accepting classroom. Fernandez-Balboa and Marshall discussed in the article, Dialogical Pedagogy in Teacher Education, the importance of establishing this sort of environment. It was stated in this article that the struggle with traditional teaching is that, “students look for the right answer to the teacher’s questions instead of developing their own ideas and sharing them with others.” (Fernandez-Balboa, Marshall, 1994) In regards to public education it is very difficult to create an environment where students offer opinions openly and develop a regularly used thought process, instead of memorization.

The existing order in the US is that the white, rich are the successful and the other races fall behind. Schooling as it is now, perpetuates this order. Schools struggle to cater the needs of all individuals and teach to the easiest, the white population. As a result the poor, minority, groups struggle to receive the education necessary to help them out of the existing order. The gap between the rich and the poor is significant and will become increasingly prominent if we continue the path we are currently on. The rich, predominately white, receive the best education while the poor struggle on day to day life and find it difficult to succeed in school. Schools in urban areas struggle to receive funding necessary to give the best education even furthering the gap between the haves and have-nots. In White Privlege, Peggy McIntosh states, “privilege is like an invisible backpack of unearned assets” and we need to learn to acknowledge it in order to defeat it (McIntosh, Plous, 2003). Throughout the semester we have discussed that the problem with the existing order is that many fail to acknowledge that it exists.

As educators we must challenge ourselves to transform the existing order. To achieve this, it’s crucial to meet the needs of all individuals. We must establish a classroom free of judgment and accepting of all individuals. A classroom such as the one established this semester allowed for students to take hold of their education and establish a voice. It’s important to create a class where no student is left behind because of home struggles and assistance for things outside of the simple education experience are openly offered (to a reasonable extent). To transform the existing order, every student must be pushed to succeed and achieve and no one student should receive an education experience far superior to another.

It’s crucial to look at what is necessary as a future educator in order to offer students the most valuable education possible. By answering what was, is, and should be the purpose of schooling in the United States, what is your role as a future teacher in fulfilling that purpose, how does schooling continue the existing order and how can schooling transform the existing order I am able to be confident in my actions as a future educator. While there are still fundamental errors in the operation of the schooling systems, there are clear strides being taken forward. With the steps forward of the education system, we may soon see society as a whole take steps forward as well.

 

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