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Education Versus Society Essay

2363 words - 9 pages

Education Versus Society

The relationship between an institute of higher learning and society is undoubtedly complicated, complicated because this relationship is based on diversity, and unfortunately diversity does not always equate to successful relationships. Today's society, specifically the diverse culture that makes up the United States, and institutes of higher learning continuously struggle to foster positive relationships because of conflicts that exist primarily due to issues of diversity. Issues such as defining what it means to be educated; and exploring how education can best meet the needs of a diverse society. Diversity is a force that people struggle against rather than using to enrich society's progress, contributions, and unity. In the articles "Learning in the Key of Life" by Jon Spayde and "Lives on the Boundary" by Mike Rose the relationships that exist, and should exist, between higher education and society is explored. Both articles argue that education needs to be open to all, encouraging different contributions from all individuals. Both Rose and Spayde question a traditional approach to education because of the exclusionary nature that often ensues. It is common for individuals to view the world of higher education as elitist and impractical, resulting in many students being unable to relate to many aspects of the college and/or university learning environment. Rose and Spayde both point the finger at higher education stating that students graduate without being able to function in the real world, are discouraged from applying their personal experiences to learning, and are learning material that is impossible to relate to.

The word democratic means, in simple terms, social equality. Mike Rose suggests that much of the conflict that exists in the relationship between higher education institutes and society is due to a lack of democracy in higher education. Rose uses the term democracy when referring to education because of his belief that education needs to be open to all. Roses's exploration of education determined that the traditional historical and literary curriculum, or according to Rose, the canonical approach to education, often does not make education democratic in nature. This traditional educational approach "promotes rigor and quality control" by "misreading American cultural history" (117) states Rose. Today a democratic education must, as Rose sees it, understand the polarities of American culture, incorporate the diverse languages into our perspective of literacy, and revise our ideas of what academic excellence means.

Rose provides examples of how individuals from diverse cultures must achieve independence from traditional educational institutes. According to Rose, escaping traditional education is often necessary because our society does not incorporate differences of cultures, languages, and experiences into traditional learning and teaching processes and methods. Rose gives a descriptive...

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