Throughout history, there have been many different ideas on how the education system is to be run.

There was a general consensus that you go to school for a certain amount of years, each year’s topics advancing as the grade progresses. Everyone is taught to the standard- meaning we are all learning the same routine information. Once those 12 years are completed, it’s time to move on; now our education is more specialized, based on our interests and career choices. The education system in the United States builds on itself in order to give students the most opportunity in finding a career that they not only excel at but enjoy. The paradigm of K-12 public and education in the United States should not be changed because our education system is fundamentally successful in providing a solid foundation for finding careers.2Our education system plays a significant role in society outside of schools. The whole structure is set up in such a way that each year is vital in moving on to the next. Getting a steady career-worthy job these days generally, requires a college education. That knowledge is acquired through the various schooling that has been offered to the public in America. Teachers, administrators, and some others are in charge of knowledge and how it reaches students. Thus they are in charge of dividing knowledge, on topics ranging from the Egyptians to the Solar System, into appropriate “chunks” of information given to students within appropriate time slots. All this is done in buildings and rooms that house large numbers of students, and the entire enterprise is monitored and motivated by testing and grades. The most common perspective on the education system is that it affects society socially and economically. It produces ready, well-adapted learners, with an expansive set of skills and knowledge. It starts young people out with the ability to perform many different jobs, concurrently shaping them as an individual. It’s an organized chaos of sorts, with set-in-stone rules that create a certain classification of a specific person, using their acquired knowledge. Education is usually seen as affecting society by socializing individuals. Recently, this view has been attacked with the argument that education is a system of allocation, conferring success on some and failure on others. The dominant view has it that the school system processes individuals. They are organized networks of socializing experiences which prepare individuals how to act in society. It has a network of rules, creating public classifications of persons and knowledge. If we change the way our schools are run, it will disrupt the order that our society has developed. Regardless of the changes that are made, whether it’s technological advancements or specializing schools, it interrupts the way of learning. A great example of why we shouldn’t change the system is because the effect it has on our country’s workforce. However, the review of the limited research on the education and training practices of businesses found that very few companies offer training to compensate for the inadequate academic preparation of new employees. Rather, the training focuses on such skills not found in schools, such as punctuality and personal appearance. Businesses don’t train their new and incoming employees on academic skills of any sorts because it is generally implied that they already possess those skills necessary to be in that position. Getting an education means learning skills like reading, writing, and multiplying, but also gaining exposure to abstract concepts like teamwork, critical thinking, and creativity. When you combine these two knowledge areas, you have an individual who is more likely to find a job than a less educated peer. Employment means economic empowerment, and according to the Global Partnership for Education, individual gains 10% more future earnings for having an education in the workforce, to begin with. Obtaining any form of education not only gives you access to basic knowledge, such as math and reading skills, but various approaches to teamwork, ‘critical thinking’, and the use of our imagination. Hence, when you have an education, you are more likely to get a job in the United States workforce. A good example of how an education system directly affects the workforce is in Japan, in the late 1900’s. It received lots of praise for the widespread achievements of the students and the overall implementation of their education. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Japanese education system received widespread international attention and praise for its accomplishments. The traditional schooling was credited with contributing significantly to the country’s modernization and economic development. It’s really important that there are good examples of success within the ideas of traditional schooling. Different standards of education can be found throughout the world, with similar success stories; Success wouldn’t be possible without some form of education, which in the case of The United States, can be found directly within our schooling systems.1

It’s safe to say that with the education system that is being implemented right now, there is a very high level of success after it is completed, resulting in high achievements in the workforce. Modern educational systems involving larger scale public classifications have higher achieving students within the labor pool, rather than the products of more individual learning. Another good illustration of why our education system should not be changed is a study, conducted by the Sandia Research Facility in the late 1990’s. After thoroughly conducting studies involving the generic public school and the still public, but unique charter school, there was much evidence pointing towards the adamant success within the public schooling system. The fact is, is that the when an education becomes exclusive from early on, it tampers with the gain of culture and other necessary everyday skills. It doesn’t make much sense, now does it; to take children in their adolescent years, and require them to make the choice of what they want to study, or the ultimate question asked throughout childhood: What do you want to be when you grow up? There can’t be juvenile academy’s for ‘president training’, now can there? However, will all the positives of keeping the education system the same in the United States, there are some drawbacks to the standard system we have had in place for so many years.3

With our ever changing society, there is a sense of long overdue upgrade for education, and its standards as a whole. The perspective that we bring to bear on the issue is shaped by the emerging technologies and by what is happening to society as it moves into the era where working with communication, rather than working in factories, will be the future for most of the students we teach. Also, if we consider what technology in the information era makes available to children and students, we find that trying to control knowledge the way we are used to is beginning to look like holding water in our hands. Information is available everywhere and in multiple forms, from complex software to 500 television channels to the world wide web. Not all children have access to every one of these, but not having access is already handicapping children now in school and will continue to do severe damage to their futures as the school years progress. This massive flow and availability of information, together with our new appreciation of just how interconnected the human brain is, will be for education to become much more complex. And that is precisely what is needed if we are to teach for dynamic rather than surface knowledge. While this is an important point, it’s also crucial to point out that even with so many advances in the schooling system we have today, there is a loss in the overall focus on the sole point of education.

Regardless of what alternatives are being offered in place, the education system that has been in place for well over one hundred years works, because of the ability to teach a wide variety of topics to students throughout the world. We shouldn’t amend the education system in the United States because there is a definitive positive correlation between the standard of education, and the United States workforce.

Schenectady High School
International Relations and Affairs

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