The problems that plague the modern-day educational system invoke tremendous discussion in this country, as do the possibilities of bringing reform to that ailing system. Truly, it is this very aspect of education that causes considerable debate amongst the social and political settings today. Jon Spayde, Mike Rose, bell hooks, and Jeffrey Hart all have voiced adamant opinions about education, its appropriate areas of emphasis, and also the role that society plays. It remains interesting to note that, amidst countless vocalizations and opinions, very little about this complex topic can be agreed on. Not often argued, however, is the fact that society indeed has a profound effect on education. Considering that this aura of influence does not show any signs of fading, the issue at hand is vital to the growth and development of a new generation of students. By comparing and contrasting the most convincing opinions and observations, I hope to find a well-rounded picture of this contemporary enigma.
Jon Spayde's "Learning in the Key of Life" heavily contemplates the realities that face schoolchildren's upbringing. Spayde holds a valuable insight that children are not merely educated with what they learn in school. Rather, every moment involves some sort of learning; Spayde actually pleads with society to recognize everyday learning's importance in this equation. For he reasons that, in a clustered and complex society, it is no wonder that some degree of confusion and intellectual chaos ensues (60). Schools seem to push students speedily through their education, force-feeding the concepts of "technology" that will be, supposedly, essential to their survival. This technology continually and consistently outdates itself (61). All this while, the line between the well educated and less educated has become more and more defined. Spayde makes a special note that the humanities have taken a back seat to specialized skills, thus inviting an intellectually lacking breed of individuals into the world.
Spayde's ideas truly come to fruition when the ideas of "fast knowledge" and "slow knowledge" come into dramatic play (61). The former refers to the current-day mentality of school and society, promoting the "zipping through" of an education based on the technological age. Slow knowledge, however, includes "…the preservation of long-standing patterns that give our lives aesthetic, spiritual, and social meaning" (61). Here, it would be easy to substitute slow knowledge with a traditional and thoughtful form of learning. While fast knowledge, as the name implies, is flashy and contemporarily encouraged, slow knowledge is what I attribute to my success as a student. The time-consuming nature of the humanities and philosophies certainly required a tremendous deal of my time and contemplation as I moved up the educational ladder. Today, however, I feel the much more rounded person as a result. When Spayde talks about slow...