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Response to Rothstein and Jacobsens The Goals of Education - Essay Example

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Richard Rothstein and Rebecca Jacobsen, in their article “The Goals of Education,” argue, “When the Founders endorsed the need for public education, their motives were mostly political"…
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Response to Rothstein and Jacobsens The Goals of Education

Download file to see previous pages... History instruction was thought to teach students good judgment, enabling them to learn from prior generations’ mistakes and successes and inspiring them to develop such character traits as honesty, integrity, and compassion.”(Rothstein, et.al.) Benjamin Franklin also highlighted the importance of teaching history and “in 1749 [he] proposed that Pennsylvania establish a public school that should, he said, place as much emphasis on physical as on intellectual fitness because “exercise invigorates the soul as well as the body.” (Rothstein, et. al.)George Washington went a step further. He argued that “goals for public schools were also political and moral.”(Rothstein, et. al.) The suggestions of Thomas Jefferson were purely political. He “most often linked with education in the public mind, thought universal public education needed primarily to prepare voters to exercise wise judgment.”(Rothstein, et.al.) So, the perspective about education changed, as time rolled by and change in the political leadership of the country. I am reminded of the parable of four visually challenged (blind) persons in argument about the shape of the elephant. One had the feel of its long tail and argued that the shape of the elephant is long. The second one, who touched one of its legs, said the shape is like the tree. The third one touched its trunk and said the shaped is like a rubber hose. The fourth one had the feel of the ear and said that the shape is like a giant leaf. An eye surgeon, who listened to their conversation, took them to his dispensary, operated upon their eyes and he was able to restore the eyesight. When he showed them the elephant, they realized that their judgment was wrong. Similar is position of the politicians, sociologists, academicians and the bureaucrats, when they tender opinions and try to frame the policy on the system of education that needs to be adopted in America. None has the comprehensive outlook about the genuine needs of the students in a multicultural, multi-ethnic society that suffered from the bane of racism for more than two centuries. The goal of education needs to be man making. Within this broad goal, all other subsidiary yet important goals are integrated. According to the authors, reading scores alone will not go to mold an individual into a responsible citizen with abilities in the area of work ethic, physical and mental health, social skills and appreciation of the arts and literature. I am in broad agreement with the observation of the authors. The schools need to accept the challenges in these areas to enable the students to pursue their diverse goals and a new accountability system needs to be formulated. I also agree with the well-researched conclusions of the authors. The social, economic and cultural life is impacted by the materialistic civilization. With women opting out for full time jobs in a big way and with less or no time at their disposal to devote to their home and children, the other influencing source to mold the character of students is the school environment. Proper conditions need to be created for the school administration and the teachers, by providing them with incentives to enable them to accept the challenges with a sense of responsibility. After churning the literature on educational initiatives over the past two hundred and fifty years, the authors have listed eight important outcomes that emerge, when the educational system is poised on the brink of change. Those are: “Basic academic skills and knowledge, Critical thinking and problem solving, Appreciation of the arts and literature, Preparation for skilled employment, Social skills and work ethic, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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