Purpose of Education

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John Travolta
Earl Sullivan
Writing 121
28 February 2013
The Right Path
When I first started school I did not understand the purpose of my education. I saw it as another thing I was forced to do. All children are forced to go to school and I think that because we have no choice our childhood image of education ends up blurry. Generally when people are forced to do something against their will they develop a lack of motivation for the activity. I think this explains why many kids in elementary schools have decided that school is a waste of time and that they don’t enjoy it. Since children are required to attend school up until age 16 in the U.S. many kids don’t realize how lucky they are to be participating in a free education. Young people in other parts of the Earth have to pay thousands of dollars if they want to become educated. These people pay for their education because they understand how much it can positively benefit their lives. I wish I had learned earlier that education is the most important tool for survival.

In Earl Shorris’ article entitled “In the Hands of the Restless Poor” he explains that rich people have been educated by the humanities and the poor people in his class weren’t. Shorris believes that with education in the humanities the students in his class will begin to understand that learning is their best tool for survival, not guns or knives.

The purpose of education is surrounded by the need for survival. Over the course of human history many new practices of medicine have been developed. It is essential that people be educated in how to stop bleeding from a wound or how to give someone the heimlich maneuver. If for whatever reason humans need to gather food in the wilderness it is important to know which food is okay to eat and which is poisonous. Many people who are not educated develop obesity because they don’t care about the information they might have heard about the risks of eating unhealthy items like fast food and products containing high fructose corn syrup.

Shorris believes that education is essential for helping people get out of poverty. Shorris explains that people who are educated in the humanities have gained leverage over the people who haven’t. I mean that with education in the humanities the people in his class were able to become political. Political in this context means understanding how to communicate with other people for mutual or singular benefit. The people with political minds know how to communicate during an interview so they have a much higher chance of receiving that job. Learning how to be political can help a students experience in school. These students are not embarrassed to ask questions when they don’t understand assignments. I think that Shorris is teaching his readers how to have the confidence to ask teachers, adults, and peers questions. With the ability to ask questions people are able to learn more from their educators because when people are first introduced to a new concept it is difficult to completely understand the idea. The only way to fully comprehend is by asking the right questions. Shorris teaches us that education should be the key to getting out of an impoverished lifestyle. From learning how to ask questions lifelong learners are able to learn even more from their education. Asking questions can clarify understanding and help people understand the full concept. I agree that education should be used as a way to escape from poverty. The only problem with education being an escape route from poverty is that it takes a lot of time and effort before people see any results. Some people in poverty might not see any changes in their lives, money wise, until much later after they graduate from college. Since many teenagers don’t want to wait ten or fifteen years until they graduate from college they turn to gang life. They see gang life as a way to be able to support themselves and their family quickly. The problem with gang life is...
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