Something I have always known since I was a little kid is that the educational system in this country is a complete fraud. American schools claim to live by the ideal of No Child Left Behind, but millions of students get cast aside each and every year. In schools these days, it is obvious which students are the elite—those that are raised up and motivated to go to college—and the ordinary student— those that are somewhat ignored throughout their schooling and are lucky if they even earn a GED. As a recent graduate of high school, and a product of this country’s educational system, I have had the opportunity to develop my own opinions regarding the myth of education in our society. Based upon my observations going through the school system, and the various arguments posed by several authors in “Rereading America”, I strongly believe that schooling in this society caters solely to students in the elite category while ostracizing students that do not live up to the elitist ideal.
When my family first moved to Las Vegas in 2003, location was the biggest factor in choosing what part of town our new home would be in. My mother was no fool and knew that the area a school was located in played a huge role in the type of education to be received. In her essay “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work,” Jean Anyon compares and contrasts how schools in different social-class communities produce different kinds of students. Even though I attended middle school in a nice area of Las Vegas, the environment definitely mirrored a working-class school by Anyon’s definition. Anyon describes work in such school as
…usually mechanical, involving rote behavior and very little decision making or choice. The teachers rarely explain why the work is being assigned, how it might connect to other assignments, or what the idea is that lies behind the procedure or gives it coherence and perhaps meaning or significance.
What I distinctly remember learning during my time in middle school was the art of parroting. I learned to absorb whatever teachers taught me so that I could just regurgitate it later on their command. I never really had to think for myself or form opinions because my teachers formed the opinions for me. Because I learned how to tell teachers exactly what they wanted to hear, I earned phenomenal marks in all my classes. John Taylor Gatto expresses his belief that the primary objective of schooling in this country is to teach students conformity and obedience. Gatto asserts in his article “Against School”
We so eagerly adopted one of the very worst aspects of Prussian culture: an educational system deliberately designed to produce mediocre intellects, to hamstring the inner life, to deny students appreciable leadership skills, and to ensure docile, and incomplete citizens—all in order to render the populace “manageable.”
During my middle school years, I definitely felt the pressure to conform and obey. If one wanted to succeed in that...