Problems with Public Education

The TED Talk Video, “Changing Education Paradigms” by Ken Robinson really made me think more in depth about how public education is enforced. In the video, his main points are that there are “3 troubling trends: rising drop-out rates, schools’ dwindling stake in the arts, and ADHD.”

The matter of rising drop-out rates manages to exist, primarily because like as mentioned in the video, many students still do not see the need for going to school. With the existence of very successful and wealthy individuals who did not attend college such as the late Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and even Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, more and more people slowly turn towards a future without college education with rising hope. College degrees do not always necessarily equate to jobs, especially due to our time’s steady decline in economy.

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(source: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/no-job-andreas-leonidou.html)

Sir Ken Robinson’s views especially really struck me, most likely because I especially relate to the situation with the arts. The first time I watched the video, I was astounded that I pretty much realized how much I agreed with him. In a perfect world, I would have pursued the arts because it is my greatest passion. However, because of the way schools are inherently structured, students interested in the fine arts are essentially the “victims,” because their focus is on “aesthetic experiences,” which do not translate very well at all to the goals of the economic and intellectual system of public education we are all accustomed to.

The objective of students, this day and age are; working hard by studying, going to college, and lastly and most importantly, getting a job that guarantees a lot of money. Simply stated, nothing is wrong with wanting to have the ability to be rewarded by all one’s efforts in a long run. Money, of course, gives one security to maintain their household, provide for one’s own livelihood (the the livelihoods of one’s family, should the individual choose to pursue marriage), and purchase every single pleasure that gives one happiness.

But in the case of the fields of fine arts? There is literally no room for artists, the dreamers, in a world primarily concerned with money and all the practical studies such as the maths and sciences. There are only an elite few artists online who were able to make names for themselves, often through many, many hardships. After all, while “starving artist,” is a term regularly used by parents dissuading their children into pursuing art careers, having the term “starving doctor/lawyer/dentist” ever coming into existence would be tantamount to ridiculously laughable.

Another part of the video that grabbed my attention was how Sir Ken Robinson compared schools to factories. The similarities are scarily accurate, making what seems like what used to be academic settings where one would also meet up their friends, almost mechanical and robotic. People come in many shapes and sizes, ages and backgrounds.

It should not be surprising that no matter what physical and situational differences separate them, the intricacies of their minds and intellects vary from person into person. I never gave that comparison any thought, but slowly it began to all make sense to me, yet again. Yes, the organization of schools of grouping students by age group is nice, clean, and efficient. But can it truly be called effective, when there are always students wildly fluctuating in levels of academics? His main points were all very valid, though I fear that although well-intentioned, such a drastic change to our public education system would be quite difficult.

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