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TheState of Education
Educationis termed as a key investment for any country to develop socially andeconomically. However, the system of education has not been withoutcriticism. The main aim of an education in America is centered inmaking good people, citizens and enhances each person to become thebest they can (Gatto N.P). However, Gatto believesthat the education in the U.S is to “…issimply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safelevel, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put downdissent and originality.”(Gatto N.P)Alfie Kohn on the other hand is not comfortable with the grading ofstudents using letters or numbers. This essay analyzes how Kohn couldrespond to the argument presented by Gatto that modern Americanschools have become ‘factories’ bent on mass-producingunimaginative, conformist, mediocre students.
Gattobelieves that, the schooling system in America is not educationfocused. He says that children are confined in bondage-like 12 yearsof schooling which is meant to standardize them for easy control. Hebelieves that, children should be let out to do what they feel isgood for them. For example he gives examples of notable individualsin the world history that did not have formal schooling (Gatto N.P).This individuals including George Bush, innovator Edison just tomention a few were not confined in the boredom of a classroom whichmandate learners to follow a particular curriculum and school routineof nine months schooling per year for nine good years. Yet theseindividuals have remained admirable and inspirational in the today’ssociety.
Thisargument is in critic of the education system in America, and may notgo well with Kohn. Kohn is not against the schooling or educationsystem in fact he believes education could do much better inimproving students’ knowledge. His concern however is about thegrading system that uses letters and numbers to determine whichstudent is better than the other. This grading as Kohn illustratesmakes learning secondary to grades. It reduces students’ interestin learning, they become less creative and it even damages therelationship between teachers and learners, which is fundamental inknowledge acquisition (Kohn N.P).
Ultimately,Kohn and Gatto are not in agreement on the education system in theU.S. WhileGatto is totally against anything to do with schooling, Kohn supportsschooling but opposes the grading system.However, it is clear that they are not happy with the current stateof the American education. Though their reasons are varied, it raisesquestions on the validity of the American education system. If asGatto demonstrates through critical analysis of situation that peoplecould become what they want to be without necessarily being molded inclass, then the current schooling system in the country is damagingchildren. Alternatively, Kohn uses various studies to support hisarguments against the grading system. He provides various reasons andrebuttal statements to those against the abolishment of the gradingsystem. If then Kohn perceives nothing wrong with schooling, but onlythe grading system, then education can be a useful tool in thedevelopment of knowledge so desired in the socioeconomic developmentof our country. Kohn would never agree with the opinion of Gatto thatthe schooling system is damaging children. He would however arguethat the schooling is good, but the way students are assessed is whatis wrong in the education system. Clearly, everything is wrong withthe education in America as seen in the eyes of the two writers Kohnand Gatto, but Kohn could never agree to Gatto’s statement thatschooling system is bad.
Inmy opinion, the schooling system is all wrong. It confines studentsin classes like cages and does not allow them to do what they wouldwant to do. To make it worse, the education is all about grades andnot knowledge acquisition. To avoid this, schools should exist as aplatform for children to explore knowledge with guidance fromteachers. It should be practical, hands on and real to the currentneeds.
GattoJohn Taylor (2003). How public education cripples our kids, and why.2003. Web. 10/12/2014. <http://www.wesjones.com/gatto1.htm>
Kohn,Alfie. From Degrading to De-Grading. HighSchool Magazine.1999. Web. 10/12/2014.<http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/fdtd-g.htm>