When students attend school each day, they are required to attend certain courses in order to graduate high school. Due to the fact that these classes have already been chosen for the students, they are discouraged from any type of individuality because the classes have no correlation to their personal interests. Source E states how ineffective the public schooling system is because it strips students of any type of individuality or creativity, making it completely conformed to the standards of the district: “It is a rare child who can come through his schooling with much left of his curiosity, his independence or his sense of his own dignity, competence and worth.” If public schools were to alter their standards to fit the personal interests of the students, the interest in school would increase dramatically. Source F shows a photo of a group of young children singing in a choir class. In my school, like many others, choir is given to students as an elective. While this class is available to take, many students do not have the opportunity to take it because they are too concerned about meeting district requirements in order to graduate. If schools were more open to individuality rather than conformity, not only would the interest in school increase, but the effort would increase as well, leading to a more positive outcome. With improved grades and positive attitudes, students would be in the process of preparing themselves for what the real world has to offer.
When stepping into the real world, it is the non-conformists who lead society to great achievements. The public schooling system needs to encourage students to step outside of the box while young and in school in order to achieve something extraordinary as adults. Source A describes how some of the most successful people in our country did not participate in the conformity of a school, thus leading successful lives: “George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln? Someone taught them, to be sure, but they were not products of a school system.” Schools that do not support individuality in terms of class selection are too lazy to pursue the idea. It is clear that the idea of conformity and equality is a much easier idea for teachers and administration to grasp, but it is not in the best interest of the students. Individuality shapes a person beyond high school. The bell schedule in source B is a great example of how conformity can hinder the personal growth of students in public schools. Each and every day, students are required to attend “Period 1, Period 2, Period 3…etc.” until they end their school day at 3:01. This set schedule is an example of how conformed public schools are, planning each student’s day and leaving them with no need to learn how to manage their time. High school conformity prevents students from becoming independent and prepared for the real world.
It can be said that one of the main points of public high schools is to prepare students for the real world. Although individuality is a key point in making this a reality, conformity is also required in order to fit into society. Source D states that “you cannot have a democratic- indeed, civilized- community life unless people have learned how to participate in a disciplined way as a member of a group.” The democratic idea stating that everyone should be treated the same, taught the same, and encouraged to act and look the same, engenders a greater feeling of equality among students. This would lead to less chaos that might occur in schools with too much individuality. In Source G, the expectations of high school students are listed. If there was too much individuality, these rules can easily be broken. Although individuality is truly one of the most important parts of human growth, some conformity is necessary in order to maintain a balance in society. Individuality can lead to many improvements in the academics of students, and can also increase their own personal interest in school; however, if they are given too much freedom, they may lose their sense of respect and responsibility that they must abide by while in school.
Public schooling systems in America support conformity to great extent, making every student abide by the same curriculum. However, if they were to encourage students to apply that knowledge with creativity and critical thinking, they would be much more successful. Today, it is understood that great ideas do not come from people working within a vacuum, but by combining ideas from a wide range of people with different areas of expertise. It is a valuable and difficult skill to be able to recognize how different disciplines could contribute to one goal. Overall, encouraging individuality is very important in the success of a student beyond high school, while on the other hand, it is necessary to incorporate conformity to maintain a balance in society.