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Individuality or Conformity

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Topics: Education, School
Individuality or Conformity Modern public schools today are constantly publicized in the news for shootings and bullying. The cases continue to add up and it leaves Americans with the troubling question: Is public schooling actually benefiting our kids? If this question were asked eighty years ago, the answer would be a resounding yes because it saved students from being exploited for their labor but that problem no longer exists today (Source E). Schools that claim to be about the individual and are dedicated to focusing on each of its students needs have transformed into conforming prisons with captives who yearn to be released from their suffocating grips. If the schooling system has any hope of gaining back its credibility, it needs to put all of its efforts into the individual and creating a curriculum to fit the needs of every student individually. The book cover with the kindergarten testing preparation is an example of what they need to get rid of to improve their education system (Source C). When they enforce standardized testing on their students, especially at such a young age, it takes away their will to learn and be creative because they have to study information that does not interest them. It is a waste of their youth and time to focus on material that they will never use as adults in their careers. Even if standardized testing were to still be implemented, it should not be until at least the third or fourth grade. Kids are still growing and adjusting to school in the kindergarten and they need that time to build relationships outside of the home. If they have to spend all of their class time studying for a test, they miss out on learning who they are as a person and getting used to school in general. Standardized testing only tests on generic material that everyone is expected to know. It is a prime example of conformity in the classroom because it makes everyone learn the same information even if that information does not apply to their future. Neil Postman discussed this idea in The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School, stating that “…the idea of a school is that individuals must learn in a setting in which individual needs are subordinated to group interests.” Instead of doing nation-wide or state-wide required tests that only cover the surface of knowledge needed for after graduation, schools should create a curriculum that is specific to the interests of its students. There can be different categories of classes that correlate to majors the colleges offer so students can have an idea of what they want to do with their life. They can opt out of classes that would normally be required and choose classes that appeal to their interests. This would also benefit universities and state colleges because their students would come in more prepared for the classes they take and there would be a lower rate of dropout. This more efficient method of education can make the Earth a better place to live in because it creates brighter “individuals” with new ideas and inventions. So instead of saying “Do we really need school?” or “Is this deadly routine really necessary?” we should focus on transforming the education system into an environment where the individual matters and everyone’s interests are important.

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