One of my biggest pet peeves is knowing a detailed plot line of a movie before you actually watch it. I would much rather go into the movie not having a clue as to what I should expect. It seems that when you have preconceived ideas of the plot, you end up not enjoying it and losing the element of surprise. I signed up for this class on a complete whim – nobody had recommended it to me and I have no connection with the School of Education. So in the same manner as I would prefer to watch a movie, I arrived on the first day with no idea of what to expect. I only knew that I was passionate about education and eager to learn more about its roots.
We are now on week number four of our class, “The Politics of Reading,” and I’ve blown away by the impact that this one class has had on my outlook of education in America. Just like watching a new, unknown movie, my lack of expectations allowed me to be completely open-minded to the material that is significantly expanding my knowledge and curiosity in the education system.
I grew up going to a private school, a fact that I was very hesitant to share in a class on public education. Honestly, it was only last week in class that I quietly mentioned it during a small group discussion. I think my hesitation stemmed from the fact that I’m slightly ignorant of some of the standing education policies that truly make no sense. Although I’ve heard of many of the names in passing, I didn’t really know what they were or how they actually affected students, since my private school was not held to all the same procedures. In some ways, it has been a good thing to look at these policies from an “outsider’s” point of view. It has also allowed me to engage in a lot of reflection on the rules that structured my own education.
The biggest theme that I’ve pulled away from learning about education policies, thus far, is that there is most definitely no such thing as “one size fits all” education plan. The fact of the matter is that students, and teachers, and schools, and cities, and regions, and all of the other barriers that create distinctions between us, necessitate a need for specified, educational instruction. It is impossible to dictate ONE functional and practical education plan on a national level. That being said, I think that education policies should be developed by a smaller division than at the national level and a variety of school styles should be available to best accommodate the diversity of students. (There are a ton of other changes that should probably be made, but this seemed like a reasonable amount to tackle for now!)
I plan to go into more detail next week about why I think these changes should be made, but today, I just wanted to emphasize the importance of breaking down the “one size fits all” structure to which we have found ourselves chained. Before I step forward in understanding (and sometimes criticizing) the existing policies, I felt I needed to take a step back and explain my personal experience with the education system. I’m really excited to see where this class will lead my thoughts on education – hopefully I can continue to gain an understanding and appreciation for these extremely important policies in our society.