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Purposes of Schooling: How State and Community Hybrid School Systems Best Achieve Student Learning Objectives

Purposes of Schooling: How State and Community Hybrid School Systems Best Achieve Student Learning Objectives



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Published by Jason Wong

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Published by: Jason Wong on Apr 08, 2009
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Wong, JasonSchooling and Society Jal MehtaPage 2 of 14
On a typical school day, the American education system educates almost49 million students in approximately 100,000 public K-12 schools.
Includingprivate schools, the American education system includes almost 55 millionstudents. The public education system is perhaps the most direct way that thegovernment influences the lives of thevast majority of its citizens. In terms of social services, only Social Security and Medicare come close to the level of interaction with individuals that schools have. For many students, this system isfailing. In some states, the high school drop-out rate hovers around 60%— orworse.
My outline for an ideal school system attempts to maximize thestrengths of both state-supported and community-oriented school systems toaddress each other’s weaknesses and provide a meaningful, responsive,efficient, and equitable school system for all students. This paper beginswith an analysis of the many different purposes of schooling that people have hoped to achieve. Then, I explain how the idealpublic school system should function and address these goals and objectives. Ilook at alternative school systems and explain where they fall short, and how astate/community hybrid school system addresses those weaknesses. Finally, weconclude with the idea that although a state/community hybrid school system is
Wong, JasonSchooling and Society Jal MehtaPage 3 of 14
imperfect, and difficult to carry out in practice, it is the best systemadministratively, socially and economically for our time.
Purposes of Schools
 The purpose of schooling revolves around the development of two ideals:1) the development of the individual (private goals), and 2) the development of the citizen (public goals). Ultimately, I believe that these two goals can addressmost if notall of the purposes of education that many theorists, including Friere,Hofstadter, Galston, Counts, Lazerson, and Grubb all espouse. The purposes of schooling have been continuously contested among intellectual heavyweights,and ideas have also changed over time. Since the early twentieth century, thegoals set out for education have been many and varied, and have taken toaccount ideas of social justice, economic considerations, the benefits of being“educated,” etc.. Many of these goals and visions for a proper school systemare valid and not inherently wrong. Why shouldn’t we expect a public schoolsystem address social, economic, and individual goals at the same time?History has shown that it is difficult to meet all these goals at the same time, butthat doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t. The ideal school system shouldadequately strive to fulfill high standards, and be satisfied with nothing less.During the Civil Rights era, George Counts wrote about the idea of social justice, and the ability for schools to educate students about how to changesociety to become more just (). Three decades later, Richard Hofstadter wroteabout how qualities of intelligence different with qualities of intellect, and that itis the goal of schools (or that it should be the goal of schools) to develop theirstudents’ intellect. Whereas intelligence “seeks to grasp, manipulate, re-order,

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