American Public Education - Obsessed with Being Average
A country's educational system is typically influenced by a variety of factors. Racial and ethnic attitudes, for example, can play an important role in policy formation and school administration. Language is a significant factor as well. Political and religious ideologies also are potent influences on the educational system. An average student’s registration into the educational system may be affected by such factors. What is the definition of an average student? What constitutes such a student to receive an “average” education? Mike Rose’s article “Tracking”, focused on the educational system and its effects on both normal and abnormal students.
One student affected by this system was Ken Harvey. He was placed in the vocational track due to the labeling of the educational system. Ken Harvey’s statement, “I just wanna be average”, was a desperate call for help. No doubt, his placement in the educational system had a negative effect on his life. “Ken Harvey was gasping for air”. As brought out in the article, “school can be a tremendously disorienting place.” Certain beliefs and assumptions one grew up with may be challenged by the educational system. The author summarized Harvey’s situation. He was first thrown in with all kinds of kids from all kinds of backgrounds, which was upsetting. He saw students excel in courses that only average students have access to. These include French, physics, and trigonometry. Being a working-class kid in the vocational track, Harvey’s options in dealing with the situation were constrained in certain ways. He was defined by his school as “slow”. He was placed in a curriculum that was not designed to liberate but occupy him.
Other kids became familiar with Harvey’s placement and began to interact with him in certain ways. These may have had a negative impact on the development of Harvey. His mental abilities to perform may have been affected....