Problems In Against School

1420 Words 6 Pages
For years, people have been questioning the root of the American education system’s troubles and placing the blame on various factors. However, it seems that all they have done is point out the problems, rather than taking the initiative to delve into and attempt to fix them. This is one of the main causes of the downfall of the education system. As a result, it continues to be dysfunctional and negatively impact students nationwide. In “Against School” by John Taylor Gatto, “Don’t Send Your Kids to the Ivy League” by William Deresiewicz, and “The Essentials of a Good Education” by Diane Ravitch, each author gives their opinion on what problems the educational system faces, addresses the causes of each problem, and describes ways to promote …show more content…
Gatto describes how the 12-year system of compulsory schooling is formatted to classify, group, and standardize children. He talks about the cause behind the creation of such a system, Prussian culture. Gatto describes the Prussian educational structure as “an education system deliberately designed to produce mediocre intellects...to deny students appreciable leadership skills, and ensure docile and incomplete citizens...in order to render the populace ‘manageable.’” The goal of the education system is to spawn generations of easily-controlled citizens while keeping a small fraction of students separate. These students become the “leaders” while the majority continue to blindly conform. This process causes students to grow to become less able citizens who cannot think for themselves. It yields both positive and adverse effects. For example, an individual’s lack of ability to make decisions independently is beneficial to the economy and the minority group of students because the individual becomes a slave to big business. Conversely, this poses a threat to the individual because they become mindless, thus consuming and making decisions thoughtlessly. Gatto details this process, comparing schools to factories: “Our schools are...factories in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped and fashioned...And it is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the …show more content…
Deresiewicz describes the competitive Ivy League admissions process and how it changes how students think of their education from such an institution. He recalls his time on an admissions committee. Many students listed extracurriculars and volunteer time solely for the sake of looking benevolent. Their parents, mostly upper-middle to high-class citizens and alumni of elite schools, bought them into an elite education by sending them on service missions in third-world countries and spending thousands of dollars on SAT-prep courses and college essay-writing workshops. A New York Times report reinforces this idea by explaining that a sector dedicated to producing “essay-ready summers” has developed. Because of the social implications of attending an elite school, many students essentially lose their purpose. They get excellent grades, but don’t know why they are doing so, as described by Deresiewicz: “...elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also...lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose...great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.” Another major effect of receiving an elite education is a lack of career path diversity, which Deresiewicz refers to as ironic: “The irony is that elite students are told that they can be whatever they want, but most of

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