Myths of Education
Education in America is highly praised due to the excellent, enriching, and equal opportunities given to its students. The school systems provide an education to its students that will make them well-rounded individuals and will help them with their futures. Although this has been the case for many, school systems are not as glamorous as myths boast them to be. A popular myth about education in America is how wonderful the schools are (in regards to teaching and appearance), how schooling is equal and beneficial for everyone, and that long years of schooling will get you places. It is almost as if we have been “schooled” to think that “success” is synonymous with and dependent upon “schooling” (Gatto 144).
As many kids and adults claim, school can be boring, but is this the school’s fault? Teachers can be just as bored as their students, and the lack of enthusiasm in the class room can wear off on one another. No one is to blame but yourself when it comes to being bored because the obligation to amuse and instruct yourself is entirely your own (Gatto 142). Students need to be taking advantage of their education, not just receiving one. Gatto insists that the best qualities could be brought out in students simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests (Gatto 143). I believe this is true because many assignments, tests, quizzes, etc. in all subjects have been assigned in the same week. Time management can be very frustrating in tricky circumstances like these. I believe this causes kids, including myself, to memorize the material instead of learning and comprehending it. This is also where negative attitudes towards school come in causing students to doubt themselves and dislike school.
Malcom X is an example of someone who took advantage of education. During his time in jail, he read and wrote the dictionary word-for-word which expanded and bettered his vocabulary, reading, and writing skills. The dictionary also helped him because he learned the names of many people and places since the dictionary acts a miniature encyclopedia (Malcom X 190). Weekly debates even took place in the prison between inmates, and classes were offered for inmates to take. Some of these classes offered had instructors form Harvard and Boston universities (Malcom X 191)! Prison institutions are supposed to rehabilitate their inmates, but this does not happen for everyone. Different resources affect these outcomes, but I believe Malcom X used his efficiently. If other inmates were to have the drive of Malcom X, I believe their change could influence others. This is a big domino effect, but it all starts with a student’s attitude and drive for success and learning.
Vocational (Vo-tech) education seems to always be put down in classrooms when talked about by students. “Classroom” students, or even adults, view Vo-tech students as less intelligent, but this is not the case (Rose 155). Classroom learning and college is definitely not for everyone. Vo-tech students are those that learn the “hands-on” jobs needed for every day functions such as carpentry, car mechanics, cosmetology, construction etc. These types of students may be held back in the classroom due to the lack of interest in book studies since their interests deal with studies for a “Vo-tech job.” Just because these students may be held back in those studies, does not mean they are not more than excelling at their classes in vocational education which is why I see no reason for them to be talked down upon. The “Vo-tech jobs” can be just as high paying and beneficial as those jobs earned with college degrees! There have been arguments that knowledge and skills leading to social power and regard are made available to the advanced social groups, but are withheld from the working classes because a more “practical” curriculum with manual skills and clerical knowledge is in place for Vo-tech students (Anyon 165).
Education in America does have opportunities for everyone, but these opportunities can range greatly depending on where you live and your social class (Anyon 164). I do not think this fact will be changing any time soon or even ever for that matter, but I do believe that anyone could strive for the opportunity they deserve. Taking advantage and showing enthusiasm in a subject or field could make the biggest difference for a student’s education. Classrooms do not have to be boring like they come off as. It would take a lot of people and effort to change and improve school systems, but it is being done every day! Education broadens more every day, as well as opportunities.