What is the purpose of education? What do we seek from it? How does it better our lives? What is the role of public schools? These are all important questions, but first I am going to give a brief summary of the text by Timothy McMannon entitled The Public Purpose of Education and Schooling. McMannon gives the reader plenty of reasons for why we need education and how it helps us and our society; he starts by explaining that in past cultures schooling was not done in a formal school but in “the community, the family, and the church” (McMannon 1). Some cultures even believed that education was something that took a lifetime. The essay then progresses into explaining how education has evolved through the centuries into what it is today and why it has become what it is.
Everyone has his or her own take on what they believe education is and should be. Your parents could think of it as a day care facility until you get to high school and then they might think of it as a place to earn a degree and soon move out. Your grandparents might think of it as a place where you go to learn things that you aren’t going to need in life because they never did. Political leaders may think of it as an economical advantage over another country. The list goes on, but as a student, I believe that there are many purposes of education; it is more than one thing, but many things that combine into what education really is.
One role of public schools is to promote the principles and standards of our society, which have been all but forgotten. Today we presume that school is a place where we go to learn history and mathematics, but it is much more than that. Schooling teaches us what our leaders are too busy to explain. By this, I mean that our teachers are the ones who educate us about our government and society. McMannon explained in his essay how we need a more liberal education so that we might become more well-rounded individuals, “one purpose of education is to perpetuate and reshape society” (McMannon 6). Schools are preparing us to participate in and preserve our Democratic society and at the same time, they are preparing us to challenge what we see as injustice within our system. They shape us to become better people so that we might be model citizens in our society. We have to learn from the past and assimilate it into what we want our county to be; it is our job to govern the future of our nation.
Another purpose of education that I am going to mention is the learning of basic skills. When I was younger, I was in a class where they taught you how to write a check, sew, and cook. It was a tedious class at the time, but it taught me valuable skills that I now use. Another class that is similar is Health; what you learn in that class is almost a necessity. They teach you about how to take care of your body, what foods you should eat to stay healthy, and why you should exercise. There is a book by Robert Fulghum called All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in...