During High School, or possibly somewhere before then, I became disenchanted with the educational system. It was not that it was not benificial, I feel even now that my school was well advanced over the typical American education system. It was more that I felt some disembodied conglamorate had decided what it was I was to be taught. I felt as though I were some advanced pet forced to jump particular hoops. I have always been strong headed, perhaps to a fault. Being of that temperment I was somewhat of an issue to most, if not all, of my teachers. I constantly questioned or challenged everything. It is not as though I doubted them or wanted to cause trouble, rather there was something within me that demanded to understand instead of merely memorize.
In my opinion and observation, that is what actual education consists of. In the current views of the general public however, there is this...stigma that you should not question anything passed to you by authority. To do so is considered rebellious and undisciplined. How useful though is rote memorization, repetition, and discipline wen you are crafting your own work later in life? Should we not encourage the student to attack the truth in order to find that it is in fact real.
The problem I see with institutionalized education is not that it is lacking in content. It is more an issue of drive. Education is a wonderful thing and can or rather SHOULD be enjoyable. The issue that I struggled with was that in this firmly established setting there was no room for lateral choices. The only way to progress is the same way in which everyone else progresses. I am not suggesting that we switch from the extreme of "Question Nothing" to "Question Everything". It should be noted though, that if a person is allowed to challenge an idea and finds it to be true of their own accord, they will be more accepting of the next.
Moreover, who decides that in order to be a productive member of society a person needs Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, 5 years of American History or Chemistry. Now, please, do not misunderstand my point here. I am not in favor of removing any of these things. I bring them up in order to illustrate that we are less concerned with actual education. What the average High School student is expected to graduate knowing today is the equivilent of a citizen with broad interests and the ability to do anything?
"Isn't this wonderful? They have so much opportunity that their forefathers never could have achieved." NO. This is detremental because it places so much in a young mind that they lose direction. There is little to no opportunity to pursue the things that interest a budding mind.
Very few individuals have a solid idea what it is they want to pursue in life. This disorientation continues throughout the college or university. They are overloaded with information and it never stops. If you want to learn about this or gain a degree in that you are reuired to take THESE classes. At this point it could be argued that the additional classes are required so the college may fill seats or pocket money.
"No sir! These requirements help structure the youth into well rounded individuals!" I would not argue against this; however, what gives anyone the right to demand an individual be well rounded. For that matter, how many biologists are ever presented with the need to demonstrate rammifications of the French Revolution?
I feel I assaulted the American education enough, we all know it is far from imperfect. All of that leads us to my main point though. With the loss of direction it is becoming increasingly rare to find men interested in learning for the sake of learning. Many successful men such as Andrew Carnegie and many many others were seen or self described as seeing to their own education.
A man gains focus and a sense of purpose when he siezes the reins of what he is mentally fed. When you desire to fill a void in your understand or knwledge, it is meaningful, even if the only meaning is for you personally. I am in favor of rewarding an individuals desire to further learning and minimize what is forced.