Nothing General About “General Education”

new-educationIn a recent social experiment, I noted that when asking high school students an open-ended question, they’ll generally give the same responses. I have theorized that this is due to the fact that the school system gives everyone a general treatment. Even with the freedom to select a majority of our eleventh grade academic schedule, students follow the schedule guidelines that will get them into college. This oppression of choice actually flows into college under the title “General Education“. General Education does not vary by major, even though a literature major has no need to apply science into their jobs on a daily basis. The uselessness of this requirement is apparent in work forces across the world. Teachers are a perfect examples of General Education being a waste of money and resources. How many times have you heard a science teacher ask their student how to spell a word on the board with a silly little comment of, “English isn’t my strong suit, I majored in biology.” Or on the other side, where an English teacher asks his students to calculate numbers for him. EinsteinOnEducation2I’m not the first to question our education system and I certainly won’t be the last. Before me, Enrich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet On the Western Front, wrote about young soldiers who judged how schools teach classical ideals rather than practical skills. And after me, I can already hear the younger generations adding their voice to the rebellion against orthodox education. Students commonly question the necessity of what we are learning. I question the sciences and mathematics more because I can’t find a universal truth in equations or the application of redox equilibrium to my personal life. However, the biggest subjects in question are the classics since few people speak in Shakespearean language (sadly) and there isn’t a surge in the revival of Renaissance artwork. Being someone who favors the arts over sciences, I stand by the classics. Not only is literature timeless but masterpieces like Crime and Punishment help build an ethical foundation in its readers. I find the painting/drawing aspect of arts to be more culturally important because artwork like The School of Athens gives the generations to follow a glimpse into what was glorified in that specific era to that specific region.quote-Albert-Einstein-it-is-a-miracle-that-curiosity-survives-41027_1The typical argument for enforcing General Education throughout academic life is to ensure well-rounded graduates. I agree that everyone should have a basic understanding of multiple fields. However, there should be a cut off from required classes at an earlier age. When entering high school, the youth have a chance to branch out and find themselves athletically, mentally, and spiritually but are restricted academically. Chemistry is a class my older sister had to take in grad-school to get her doctorate specifically for her major, so why is chemistry a requirement for all high school students as a “general” class? The same argument can be made against AP classes offered to high school students. I cannot stress the amount of times my AP European History teacher said, “You don’t have to remember that unless you want to become a historian.” There’s a problem that needs to be fixed, when the institution that was put in place to create scholars is actually holding them back.

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3 thoughts on “Nothing General About “General Education”

  1. This was a really interesting read! I really like the points you made and your evidence, it was a really eye-opening and informative. To critique, I think you might need to make your paragraphs a little smaller for a blog post, but other than that I really loved this and the rest of your blog! Really creative!

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  2. I love this post. It is so accurate and true. Not only do you have personal opinions, but you also have facts and examples to back up what you are saying. I agree with your views. I like how you have more than one picture and how they tie the post together, such as your first Einstein picture.

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  3. A very good subject to talk about! I can relate about holding down a job and maintaining higher level classes and extra curriculars. I would have loved not taking Chemistry as a general class but it has taught me somethings that I have been able to apply to other classes. Overall a very enjoyable read

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