American Public Education

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Maddie Mellor
College Writing 24-102
Dr. Boggs
American Public Education
Today, education enables us to enlarge our knowledge and open doors for opportunities to the path of having a good future. In the five readings, each written by a different author, there was a lesson learned and something to take away from each one. Reading through the passages by Mann, Moore, Malcolm X, Gatto, Rose, and Anyon, each author contributed his or her point of view on general public education. This topic can be very argumentative depending on the quality of education people receive. Education today is the single most important mean for individuals to achieve their personal goals in the workforce.

In Horace Mann’s “Report of the Massachusetts Board of Education,” he gives his opinion about all the different sorts of education. Examples such as, physical, intellectual, political, moral, and religious education all play a part in who we grow up to be. This is why quality education is so important. Horace Mann makes a point that public schools follow strict rules and curriculum, which transforms all students to become the same person. He asks the question, “Does education empower us? Or does it stifle personal growth by squeezing us into prefabricated cultural molds?” (Mann, page 123). The type of education we receive can critically shape and enhance our identities either in a negative or positive way. One example of a negative view would be the story written by Michael Moore. He explains how our country is simply a bunch of “idiots.”

In the passage entitled “Idiot Nation” written by Michael Moore, he discusses his opinion on Americans today and our lack of knowledge. He feels like we live in a nation of idiots. Moore believes that although there is a large number of unintelligent people in our country, we all have the capability to be very smart and expand our minds to more things than we realize. He referenced high school seniors and said that they are trained to live the same routine every day of their lives as students. Teachers tell them, “Don’t do this, don’t do that, tuck your shirt in, wipe that smile off your face, where’s your hall pass, and DETENTION” (Moore, page 134). Mostly every student today is treated like this and it is all they have ever known when it comes to discipline. Every student today has the same responsibilities and the same consequences if you do not fulfill them. I, as a former high school student, completely agree with what Moore discusses in this story because every student is looked upon the same way, and if a student wanted respect from faculty, he or she had to earn it. However, Moore’s credibility does not reflect much on his strong opinions about public schooling. Considering he was a college dropout over something as silly as not being able to find a parking spot doesn’t seem acceptable for us to care for what he has to prove about education. Being a responsible student and providing yourself the best education is partially up to the student themselves and each child in a public school has the capability to teach themselves anything they want to learn if they just put their mind to it.

“Learning to Read” written by Malcolm X tells a story about himself and how he taught himself to read. Personally, I thought this was the most interesting to read about because it proves just how far one can actually come if he or she is driven and determined to accomplish something. Malcolm X was motivated by the knowledge he was surrounded with and wanted to be able to communicate. He was inspired by everything he had never known and said, “I was because of my letters that I happened to stumble upon starting to acquire some kind of a homemade education” (X page 210). At that point in his life, he was determined to do something no one has ever tried before, and that was to teach himself how to read. He said that, “the best thing I could do was get hold of a dictionary to study and learn some words” (X, page 211)....
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