John Kenneth Galbraith, noted Economist and Liberal diplomat, once claimed, “the conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.” Applied to America’s Educational system, which seems to be at the top of the nation’s to-be-criticized list, this view hits scarily close to home.
We as a nation have given up, or sacrificed rather, an extremely high quality of education for the sake of ensuring that all have the opportunity to gain even the basest and most rudimentary of educations. We strive to ensure basic literacy and arithmetic skills, yet our children are missing large aspects of a classical education in exchange for more industrialized skills. Instead of teaching elements of literature that have historically been perceived as most important, like Latin, philosophies, and other classical notions, we have provided an education to suit the changing culture. Unfortunately, these skills are not necessarily thought-based, but technologically driven. We teach business capabilities.
In a society where reading Shakespeare is no longer going to land one ahead in life, we now focus our education to meet the needs of this ever-changing world. The question that this leaves is, are these new focuses creating strong critical thinkers, or good worker bees?