The Purpose Of Education In The Civil Rights Era

2002 Words 9 Pages
Balancing the needs and desires of the individual, with the needs and attitudes of any society will always be a difficult task, and such conflict is clearly evident in the field of education. As argued by many academics, the defining of primary purposes of education requires dynamic flexibility between these conflicting perspectives and the plentiful opinions held by different people with different positions in society. Educational purposes can be divided into those that are individualistic and those that suit the goals of society. Dependency between such purposes is apparent with individual aims needing to be achieved in order for certain social aims to be accomplished too (Merseth, US-World 35 lecture, Sept 18, 2014). However, as exploration …show more content…
This demonstrates the possibility that the primary purpose of education can be understood as both individualistic and civic. Ryan quotes of Merhige, “I don’t think there is any price too high to reach a society where everyone is…viewed and treated equally” (Ryan, 2010, p. 89). Hence it is implied that within a society of equality, there are numerous benefits for everyone involved and these should be pursued regardless of opposition. Benefits could be respect and fair treatment amongst diverse groups of individuals, and equality of opportunity when accessing educational services. Therefore, not only does education serve as an individualistic purpose enabling individuals to fulfill their own potential away from the discrimination and prejudices of others, but its attainment should also help societies strive towards cohesiveness and harmony whilst addressing any educational deficits faced by children, especially African Americans. This belief in achieving an education of equality heightened the calls for desegregation, specifically “racially separate schools”, from groups such as the NAACP (Minow, 2010, p. …show more content…
Du Bois’ metaphorical presentation of the plight of African Americans in society and their schooling experiences through the character of John effectively alludes to how education, despite the opportunities it provided, divided certain individuals from their home communities, as the ideals of integrated schooling communities often clashed with those of traditional black communities (Du Bois, 1904). Likewise, this attitude is voiced by a mother in the ‘Keys to the Kingdom’ documentary who says “I’m not going to teach my children to hate”, which also adds complication to the issue of integrated schooling (Hampton, 2006). These voiced beliefs therefore clarify that practices and policies of the time – including desegregation and bussing – were unsuccessful in reflecting the social purpose of education as a means to moralise and form a principled society, as there was much opposition from black parents who disagreed with the notion that their children should be educated alongside those who have caused harm to their race (Minow, 2010; Ryan,

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