Monday, December 07, 2009

What Is the Purpose of School?

There is always hand-wringing about our schools, "Our schools are failing," "What will it take for our schools to succeed?" All this, of course, begs the question exactly what is it they are succeeding or failing in doing? To simply say "to educate children" doesn't answer the question, but pushes it back. Educate them about what?

the "No Child Left Behind" standardized testing approach presumes that education is about memorizing certain facts, knowing how to carry out certain processes, and how to solve certain well-delineated types of problems. But, surely, education is more than that. It is also about socialization, learning how to learn, and how to follow directions.

So, what are schools for? Creating workers? Creating citizens? Creating intellectuals? Training children how to live in today's world? Creating leaders who will take us beyond today's world? Molding the next generation of docile plastic people to buy the worthless garbage they are told they need to be fulfilled? What is/ought to be the point of schooling?