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To Change Education, Much More Needs to Change

The kind of education system we have is shaped by the kind of society we want to live in, and if we want to change education, we need to change our society. That’s what Temple University Professor Jordan Shapiro writes in a piece for Forbes titled, “Education Is Working Just Fine.”

The disparity between the nation’s wealthiest schools and the poorest is problematic only if our goal is to create equitable conditions for opportunity and mobility. Yes, I know this is what we say we want, to educate the whole child so that they can be empowered from a ‘deeper place within.’ But our actions betray our rhetoric. Educational equality would hardly be in the best interest of our economy, which is, to a large degree, dependent on wage disparity. And last time I checked, nobody was really calling for a shift to a socialist economic structure.

The academic achievement gap, then, is not a problem if our intention is to track students into a stratified labor market. In order for our current economic and social systems to chug along as normal, it is important to standardize an ideal (using test scores and other ranking systems) that will allow some students to ‘race to the top’ while others are devalued and ‘left behind.’ It identifies, reinforces, and encourages young individuals to internalize a sense of self-worth that corresponds to an appropriate exchange value within the U.S. free market.

Shapiro concludes by saying that we should reexamine the kind of society we want and use education as the means by which to create change. Read the entire article here.

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