Friday, March 20, 2009
The State of Education
Education. I can literally and realistically think of nothing more valuable to survival and life itself. To truly live, you must be educated and you must understand your surroundings. Now, I will not say how you need to be educated, to what extent, or through whom, but I stand by my assertion. You can be educated on the street, through friends and people, through the classroom or anywhere really, though it would make sense to have a designated place specified for learning. Enter: The School.
I'm drifting here--let's talk about public schools. In short, they suck, and they are at the same time refreshingly progressive. In this day and age, children in the US are pretty much guaranteed some sort of education, to some sort of extent. It's not as good as it could be (few things are...) but it's ok, and better than many.
We get a basic grounding in school, we learn life skills, but often the wrong ones. Schools today are indoctrination camps for future CEO's and soldiers, future oppressors. Schools are the hunting grounds of military recruiters, especially the urban public schools, which are populated by the demographic that they covet most (poor black and Latino kids). Schools are where Authority is first imposed on the young mind, and if we are not strong enough, the 'student' falls into the tired and dangerous traditions of the Capitalist. For those who are strong, for the number of children who question authority and wonder, "Why?", the schools can be conquered, and individual free-thought can come. I mean, look at me!!! I wasn't hopelessly indoctrinated into Capitalism, and I went through 12 years of public education! What I'm saying is that even though the odds are against you, there are children who can come through the school system unscathed and still 'free' in the sense that they think outside of the box and for themselves.
Still, this is not the case for the majority, and that is a sad fact. Until we are graced with the presence of a new generation of educators in the public school system, we won't ever break the cycle of re-indoctrinating our children into an economic and political system of violence and domination (Capitalism). We need to get new people in there, we need to sweep out all the conservative educators who are closing the minds of the youth and making them statues, static and regressive rather than progressive. That, I do believe, is the main problem with education, especially in the US.
We could easily change the state of the urban schools if we fixed the economic problems inherent with Capitalism. Urban schools don't have to be hunting grounds for the JROTC and Marines. These schools could just as easily function if the economic side of things was fixed. That school in Philadelphia needs computers and books?--They get them. End of fucking story! By not providing quality resources AND educators for the destitute urban youth, WE ARE CONDEMNING THEM TO THE SAME PATHS THAT THEY HAVE SEEN IN ACTION ALL THEIR LIVES! CRIME, POVERTY, HOPELESSNESS!
It's easy for me to see this. It's also easy for me to provide an oversimplified solution, like any pundit or critic. Still, I think that this problem is very fixable, it's just not economical. It's not in the Congressman's best interest to fix the schools, to make them better than they are. "Hey!," they say, starting the guilt trip, "our schools are better than many. Shouldn't you at least have some respect for what we've tried to do and what we're trying to do?" I answer this statement with the FACT that wanting more, wanting progress is not greedy, and it should not make us feel guilty. The schools are ok, and yes, better than some. Why not make them better? Why not strive for more?
In closing, I stand by my statement that Education is the greatest and most valuable thing able to be given to anyone. You will benefit so greatly from an education, the correct type of education where the educators do their best to remain extremely impartial, but at the same time critical. The synthesis of these two principles will allow our educators to benefit the prospective students much more than they do now.
The first in a jerked series of essays on Education,