Lives on the Boundary

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Lives on the Boundary: An Assessment of the Flaws in Our Educational System

In the opening chapter in Lives on the Boundary, Mike Rose points to an underlying issue in our educational system; how to deal with the diversity in our schools of students' knowledge and comprehension of taught material. Imperfections in the educational system makes it rigorous for certain students to learn what is being taught. Since each student is different, ideally each student should be taught in the way that suits him or her best. However, this is not the case. Throughout schooling from K-12 the curriculum is the same or very similar for everybody, but at the same time each person is an individual who has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Many people come from different backgrounds and are unaccustomed to the way of going about getting the most out of their education. On the other hand, some students are faster or slower learners, others are stronger in certain subjects and not others, and many have no interest in these specific studies or the way in which they are taught and therefore slack off because the teacher(s) could not get through to them. Mike Rose's belief is that it is the responsibility of the teacher to go that extra mile and figure out in each individual case how to get through to each and every student and help all of them them reach their full potential.

The terms remedial and vocational are scattered throughout Lives on the Boundary. Among other things, Mike Rose views the remedial or vocational track as a part of the major flaws in our educational system in America. Rose sees it as a dumping ground for students who teachers give up on for a variety of reasons. Many of these students have educational problems because of their backgrounds, not because of a mental deficiency. Ideally the remedial track should help the students to catch up or educate them to the same level that is being taught in the regular classes. The picture Mike Rose paints of the...
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