I spent a few days of spring break in Orange Beach, Alabama with my parents. What that translates into is watching Redbox movies in the hotel room, going to sleep at 11 PM, and not getting hit-on by attractive young men. It rained the first 2 days we were there, and the third day, Melissa said, “Let there be sunshine and a cool ocean breeze” and there was sunshine and a cool ocean breeze.
It was quite fabulous to be on the beach and watch small children dump buckets of water on their parents while they were using their smart phones. That evening I realized that my liberal arts education has not yet taught me the proper way to apply sunscreen, because I have some very interesting tan lines/tan splotches. So when we arrived home on Wednesday evening, I decided to look at my planner and see what things I could do for the rest of my break.
I rarely do work over breaks. It is usually because I like to think that I deserve a break from intellectual pursuits. Sadly, my professors don’t have that same mind set, so my values conflict with the 10-12 page paper, the take home exam where I have to ask “brilliant historical questions” about ancient roman coins, and the research paper proposal.
So I figured I should at least start with that 10-12 pager, which was an education paper over what the purpose of schools is. So…what is the purpose of schools? That is a difficult question. If you could pick one thing as the purpose of schools, what would it be?
Upon further reflection of my own education through high school, I came up with a few ideas of what the purpose of schools seemed to be.
- To pass standardized tests and be in the highest percentile of scores so I can earn a “Go to Lunch Early” pass from the administration and the school can hang a banner outside that says “Achieving Excellence”.
- To make sure I am fully proficient in subjects that are deemed important by others.
- To get better grades than my peers so I can sit in the front row at graduation in the top 10%.
- To teach me how to make a resume and be successful in an interview.
- To prepare me for college.
Pardon my French, but those suck.
I’m still not sure how to best approach this question, but I’m going to approach it from a more idealistic stand point.
If I could wish that in every school around the world, there would be one purpose, what would it be? I think that the purpose of schools should be to create liberally educated and globally minded individuals.
There is something to be said for people who can talk on a variety of subjects intelligently, discuss and argue rationally, and think past their own sphere and think about things that are larger than themselves. Maybe our education shouldn’t be so focused on getting those scores and getting those grades.
I guess I should start writing!