Conformity And Individuality In Schools

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In today’s education system, there is an ongoing debate concerning conformity and individuality. The majority of schools conform to similar curriculum as a means of ‘leveling the academic playing field’ and giving all students a fair and equal chance of success. But does this sense of conformity actually benefit students? While it is necessary to have some conformity in the curriculum taught to students nationwide, there should be an aspect of individuality as well. Schools should adopt a more individualistic approach towards the classes students must take, and less of one concerned solely on test performance, because it would benefit students upon graduation by allowing them to pursue studies that interest them, and also benefit the school…show more content…
John Taylor Gatto, a former school teacher, of Harper’s Magazine, wrote “We have been taught (that is, schooled) in this country to think of “success” as synonymous with, or at least dependent upon, “schooling”...” (Gatto). That is to say, generally in this country, those who graduate from high school, move on to college, and earn a degree, most likely which would allow them to enter into the workforce and earn a comfortable living, are viewed as more successful than individuals who do not complete high school and or college. Students who do wish to be “successful” by American standards and want to attend college are exposed to perhaps the biggest reason American schools enforce a sense of conformity and make classes and curriculum mandatory: standardized testing, such as the SAT and ACT. Colleges take students’ scores on these standardized test into consideration when determining the admittance status of those applying to their school. The SAT, taken in the eleventh and twelfth grades, are the culmination of all the standardized tests students have taken in their kindergarten through twelfth grade academic careers. The curriculum taught in mandatory classes to students serves as a means of preparation for tests such as the SAT. This idea of mandatory preparation can be seen from even the youngest grade of compulsory education, kindergarten, as seen in…show more content…
A shift in the conformity versus individuality attitude concerning mandatory classes and curriculum would cause several benefits to both students and schools. Each student has their own unique personal interests and passions. Some are numerical and scientific geniuses, while others have an enviable passionate way with words. These passions often manifest themselves in students and influence them to follow their passions and pursue related careers. That being said, why are we training future writers to solve complex mathematical problems that they will never encounter outside the classroom, or future engineers how to write 20 page dissertations on why Rome fell? The fairness of teaching students knowledge they will most likely never use for anything other than to pass a standardized test should called into question and evaluated. Students with a passion in writing and reading should be allowed to take more classes to pursue their interests and help further them after graduation, instead of having them sit through math and science courses from which they will gain to practical or usable knowledge. If students were allowed more say in their schedules and less strict mandatory classes were put in place, improvements would be seen not only academically but also in
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