All students are asking “Why”

As a student mired in the quagmire that is American education, I can identify with Dewey’s sentiment that a contrived and arbitrary education is a pointless one not only for the individual but for society.  How many times does one hear a frustrated and disillusioned student ask his or her teacher some variation of the question, “What is the purpose of my learning this information?”?  Indeed, what is the purpose of learning every single subject from calculus and trigonometry to biology and chemistry and ending with art history and the works of Shakespeare?  Teachers, administrators, and guidance and college counselors all tell us that the purpose of exposing us to such a broad subject-based curriculum is to fashion us into more well-rounded people.  The question is what does the phrase “well rounded” actually mean.  Apparently it means that students are supposed to be schooled in a generalized knowledge of various subject matter so that they will be better equipped to choose a career path.  There are two problems with this goal.  Firstly, it does not address a goal for society but merely for the individual.  Secondly and most importantly, the idea that bombarding our youth with subject-based curriculum translates to them being equipped to better cope with the trials and tribulations of the modern world and find a job is ludicrous and demonstrates the inherent disconnect between the goal and the objective.  As it stands, school is an institution that remains extremely isolated from not only the realities of the world outside its walls but also the needs and interests of the students forced to occupy its corridors and classrooms.


I write to dialogue. So please, let's engage each other in some dialogue.

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