Sitting in University classes today, I couldn’t help notice how bored I was. Happens all the time to students of nearly all grade levels, doesn’t it? But here I am, participating in classes that I really enjoy overall (I did pick them from hundreds of other choices after all), and yet I’m still bored. And here I am now, writing in a blog, having spent the past while studying a topic somewhat unrelated to my actual major, and I’m captivated. Reflecting upon this, I feel that education (a broad term, I know), as an organized effort to prepare the populous for fulfilling careers and other ambitions…is missing the mark.
Let me say I do understand that it is important that we do ensure all children to adults be educated in various fields of study so as to comprehend the many facets of what this world has to offer, and to strengthen our pursuits in our preferred fields of study. However, I think we spend so much time on meeting standards, trying to achieve standards-based educational goals and outcomes in our learning, and creating inflexible curricula that we leave no room for the brain to pursue its own delights.
At present, I don’t have a real solution to this. I am open to suggestions. But simply I feel that the super intelligent that we like to imagine filling chalk boards and what not…would not have gotten where they are without a little freedom. The principles of their education should not also be limited to graduate or post-graduate students either. We often say that it’s much easier to learn while we’re young (especially for languages). So with this in mind, I tried thinking of any avenue of this kind of education, where the freedom exists to learn at your own will, and probably have the same if not better resources available to you as a public education would provide. The best I could come up with is Independent School Systems.
Independent School Systems are in no ways new, they’ve been around since at least the 50′s as a type of school governing structure, and technically the concepts I’m talking about go back to Socrates and Aristotle. However, when thinking about this, I found something very interesting about our country and our approach to education.
The U.S. government often uses Education reform as a platform for garnering votes, pleasing the masses, and trying to build up the country overall. We are all dismayed that U.S. students are falling behind in the world, but let’s take a little deeper look into this. We’ve been told that by spending more and more into public education, we will get better results. At the very least, teachers will be better paid and have better results, right? Check out this chart from USC and tell me if you agree. So what’s going on? I think the spending, which could be positive in some ways, is being offset by the ways we are receiving our education.
Independent School Districts since 1952, have declined by 50,000 districts to just over 12,000 today. If we take a look at the benefits of Independent School Districts, maybe we could find some correlation (this is up to your interpretation of course):
- Government standards and regulation have no influence on Independent or Private Schools which would include absolvement from No Child Left Behind and such.
- Independent and Private schools have smaller class sizes overall which have proven to show a number of benefits and is a common but never actually achieved goal of public schools.
- Though now more often than ever before, only the wealthy can afford independent or private schools…the encouragement of the development of such schools could spur competition and lower costs. The education styles can be translated into lower income environments quite easily.
- Graduation rates for Public High Schools are about 65% whereas Private or Independent schools reach graduation rates as high as 90%
- SAT scores in Independent or Private Schools is also remarkably higher.
Our current educational “climate” does not make for any sort of transition to independent schools very easy, but my goal in sharing these thoughts are just to consider a little more freedom in our approaches to education. Allow for students to pursue what they love. Make available with our many modern technologies the concepts and teachings of all of the fields. Continue to build the basics such as math, science, reading, writing, history, etc. but allow greater freedom in how it is taught, how it is learned, and so on.