Martin Luther King, Jr. , an American minister, activist, and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, once said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education. ” King is pointing out that education is meant to challenge people in order to shape their minds and thoughts. The importance of education has been written about countless times. Many intelligent writers have written articles on higher education, such as Horace Mann’s “From Report of the Massachusetts Board of Education, 1848,” Jean Anyon’s “From Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work,” and John Taylor Gatto’s “Against School. ”
In their writings they point out the flaws in the education system as they analyze the purpose of education, the quality of education (comparing public and private education), what the teachers should teach, how the children should be taught, and the result of education. These writers set the stage for what people should look for in education and the flaws that we should fix.
Andrew Delbanco, director of the American studies program and Julian Clarence Levi Professor in Humanities since 1995 at Columbia University, s another author who writes on higher education. Delbanco’s 2012 “College at Risk” article builds off these authors’ philosophies to write about the purpose and flaws in modern day college. Delbanco illustrates the purpose of college while pointing out the flaws of college today to show the importance of college education, which builds off other authors’ stances on education.
Delbanco argues that the purpose of college is to learn how to make decisions, challenge your views and expand your our knowledge of others to find yourself. A key claim that he points out is how American culture differentiates from this by xtending their childhoods, he writes, “In America there has been an impulse to slow things down, to extend the time for second chances and defer the day when determinative choices must be made” (Delbanco 221). He supports his claim with this slippery slope of how young adults cannot make decisions due to society’s view that their childhood should be expanded.
The premise is that true learning is forming one’s own opinion and questioning one’s knowledge. He uses the strategic move of pointing out the fault in American culture, because he knows that his audience will be able to relate and reflect on the ecisions they allow for their children to make as well as the experience of their students. His reasoning is that if we extend the young adult’s childhood, then he or she will not learn how to make decisions on his or her own and therefore will not find his or her self until a much later age.
Another key claim is that students do not question the goal of education, which causes them to miss opportunities, such as “to learn not only from their teachers, but also from each other” (Delbanco 223). His argument for expanding one’s knowledge of the world and the people in it demonstrates the philosophical pair of how one part an become a whole. His reasoning of learning from other students is to challenge each student’s knowledge by learning about other people’s points of view.
He supports this with an aphorism that is telling students to pay closer attention because they can learn much more about themselves through the view points of other people. The premise is that his audience values hearing different points of view. He uses the strategic move of prolepsis to relate to the audience and validate his argument. A later key claim is how he connects the importance of learning through other students to the importance of diversity as he rites, “The purpose of ensuring ‘the interplay of ideas and exchange of views’ among students from different backgrounds” (Delbanco 223).
His reasoning is that it will expand the students’ knowledge through challenging their points of view by hearing other people’s stances. He supports this by explaining the importance of diversity and how it benefits their knowledge of others and the world. He uses the strategic move of inclusion by saying, “students from different backgrounds” to promote equality of all social classes and races. The premise he uses to appeal to his American target audience is that he favors new ideas and diversity.
Through this ethos appeal to portray him as morally and ethically likable, he causes the audience to feel an emotional response. Therefore, the purpose of education is to open student’s minds to the world as a whole and challenge themselves, which allows them to learn more about themselves and in turn, leads to smart decision making. Delbanco argues that the flaws in college education today are costs, standardization, and the lack of reflection on oneself.
A key claim about the flaws in the education system is how it tries to compare all the students through standardization: “As strategy emerges in more detail for holding colleges ccountable for cost and quality, we need to keep in mind that standardized tests… are simply incapable of measuring the qualities that should be the fruits of a true liberal education: creativity, wisdom, humility, and insight into ethical as well as empirical questions” (Delbanco 225). His reasoning is that standardization ruins creativity and the importance of moral as well as emotional education.
He later supports his claim by saying that standardization compares students who have completely different experiences and learn differently, which sends a message that all people all need to be alike and are imply just numbers. The premise is that the audience favors liberal arts colleges, which allows for a well-rounded education in all aspects, such as creativity. He uses the strategic move of listing all the important aspects that standardization does not include, showing that it limits the students’ education.
The rule of justice is that there is no known way to measure students and compare them without thinking of them simply as an object. When he says, “fruits of a true liberal education,” he uses this figurative language to emphasize the importance of liberal education and use a pathos appeal to be seen as a credible by he audience. Thus, the flaws in the education system are the standardization, high cost, and lack of solitude, which illustrate how people have forgotten the purpose of education and created these flaws.
Delbanco’s views on education contrast with other educational writers’, such as Horace Mann’s, stances. Mann was President of Massachusetts State senate and secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education in 1837. Delbanco disagrees with Horace Mann’s “From Report of the Massachusetts Board of Education, 1848″ article that states that public education equalizes the poverty gap, as Mann wrote, education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the greater equalizer of the conditions of men” (Mann 114).
Delbanco points out the flaw in cost by stating the underrepresentation of the poor: “Too many selective nonprofit colleges are failing to enroll significant numbers of students from low-income families, and those colleges are thereby reinforcing rather than ameliorating the discrepancies of wealth and opportunity in American society” (Delbanco 222). The lack of poor people receiving an education points out the college’s motives for not handing out scholarships for those less ortunate. Delbanco wishes that Mann’s argument was true, but points out statistics that prove otherwise.
He specifies the issue that public-school education is not equally as good as private, competitive schools. Thus, it shows that high tuition simply cannot help the school save enough money for scholarships for the less fortunate. The cause and effect of colleges not enrolling poor people illustrate how people cannot escape poverty. Even public colleges are too expensive for the poor, making the cycle repeat. Delbanco believes that public education is not up to the same standards as private education.