Education Reform in American Schools
Frederick Douglass was, and still is, a golden example of why education is so important to
a human being’s life. Douglass spent the first part of his life in ignorance. However, his
life of a seemingly endless servitude and ignorance was completely shattered by the fact
that he learned to read. Once he learned to read, his life was forever changed. He
escaped slavery and tyranny and became an icon even to this day.
Douglass’s story more than adequately shows that a quality education is perhaps
the most important thing a person can receive in their life. Without his education, he
would not have realized the shame and inadequacy his slavery, and unfortunate acceptance
of that slavery, held him in. At least he would have had the chance to choose his fate
whereas in slavery, he was but a machine to be disposed of at the master’s will.
In the present, however, it is so overly obvious that our education system is
quickly becoming inadequate (if it isn’t already). Obviously, we cannot let it slip deeper
and deeper into the abyss, but what can we do to fix it? Should we throw more money at
it? Should we create more watchdog groups and set up more committees to hash out
what we should do?
It is my contention that none of those things we continue to do are going to work.
I do not believe there is anything we can do, on a governmental basis, to fix the problem
or stave off the descent. Changing the system from within is not going to work. The key
is to change it from without (Sarason 4).
Of course, it is easy to talk about social change as a means to education reform,
but talk is always more desirable than action. It is a given that broad strokes of social
reform take years and years. We do not have that time, to be honest. We need to make
these changes now.
The problems with education are, quite obviously, many. And it is a well-known
fact that we cannot just fix education. We must point out specific problems first.
The first problem is destroying the enormous difference in scholastic success
between races and cultures. In many instances, schools have chosen to take on this
responsibility when they are in fact incapable of taking it on. The schools have chosen
revisionist history and picking and choosing which subjects should be included in
curriculums. However, since the schools are so heavily influenced by the communities and
societies that surround them, they are eventually rendered unable to make any sort of
difference at all (Ravitch 337). Interest groups, who are more interested in preserving
their values as opposed to maintaining an exceptional education (Christian
fundamentalists, for instance), that control some communities, can completely destroy any
opportunity for a young mind to learn. The politics of racial injustice are hopefully
completely gone, but we’re still living through a state where the races feel as though they
are still there. Of course, from my...