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Educational Issues: Religion, Segregation, Etc... Essay

1250 words - 5 pages

"The process of imparting or obtaining knowledge or skill," according to the dictionary this is the definition of education. However, through the years education in the U.S. has included not only that but, intellectual discipline, education for citizenship, individual development, vocational training, and character education. What is the purpose of education?In the early 1800's in the U.S., people believed that public education was the answer to unifying the nation. While now, in the twentieth century, education seems to have become the answer to drug and alcohol abuse, STD's, the reduction of traffic accidents, improved health and increased wealth of the community, and the elimination of poverty. As one can see there are a lot more goals now than there were then.Although there are many differences between now and then, there are some goals that haven't changed. For example, the elimination of crime, and the development of career skills. These goals will probably remain a major factor of the aims of education.Education has been the focus of many conflicts and tensions in the U.S. since the nineteenth century. From public and private goals, to political and economical purposes, to equal opportunity, elitism, desegregation, and arguments about race, religion, gender and social status. Even the amount of money spent to fund our school systems and the emphasis on athletics has been debated. What is so important about these issues?! Well, let's find out. Public vs. private goals: intellectual, social, personal or vocational? According to a survey conducted by John Goodlad, parents and teachers of elementary, middle, and high school students chose intellectual as the most important goal before personal and social. They believe that vocational is the least important goal. Although a majority of parents and children do go to school primarily to learn academic skills and knowledge."Is it the proper role of the school to act purposely to instill certain attitudes and habits as preparation for future employment?" Joel Spring, the author of American Education brought up this question that seemed to be on many minds. It seems that the dominant public goal in the nineteenth and twentieth century has been economical. These economical goals have included preparation for work, and controlling the labor market and economical development. In fact, one of the arguments given in the nineteenth century in support of marching, drill and orderliness in school was preparation for the coordination and orderliness in the modern factory. Which, if I'm not mistaken goes under the category "preparation for work."For political purposes the school system is used in an attempt to "mold" future citizens, maintain political stability, and shape political systems. A major worry expressed in the nineteenth and twentieth century is future leadership. One of the many arguments over this was elitism. This leads to higher education and equality of opportunities for each race, religion,...

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