Why School?

  1. What do you think Mike Rose says that schooling should attend to?

Rose speaks of many components of education and their respective benefits on students. A preeminent goal of American education is to prepare students to be able to make a living and adapt to the world outside of school. The personal advancement brought by school can also be supplemented by social improvement as education has long been seen as an equalizing force in society, as according to Horace Mann and further referenced by Rose. Social advancement resulting from education enables economic growth; both of these externalities Rose believes are immensely beneficial in the world. However, Rose posits that the moral and intellectual growth supplied by education is equally if not more useful for students.

2. How does he think it should attend to those things, and why should it attend to those things? 

Rose believes that education should cater to these matters in order to allow students to find meanings in their lives. A heightened sense of self and the environment around them leads students to be able to interpret daily events, understand meaningful encounters with other humans, and fit in with the flow of the natural world. Although these traits are somewhat instinctive, education can fine tune certain skills in order to complete both the internal and external benefits mentioned by Rose.  Rose observed the experiences of students to determine the best ways by which schools can implement the best possible education to students. Classrooms where teachers introduce students to new practices they could not do before and relate those practices to the outside world seemed to be exceedingly helpful. In addition, Rose quotes a college student saying that a teacher “has helped me see things that were always there that I never noticed” (33). The introduction of new methods of thought and viewing the world is a fundamental way to attain the benefits which Rose believes education should attend to. 

3. What does he say schooling does attend to? How does he see it attending to those things?

Rose, using his own personal schooling experiences, sees education as providing a means to probe and understand the world as well as others’ interpretations of it. Schooling can lead to this through the development of reading and writing, as higher education teaches how to synthesize information, develop arguments, and support those claims. These methods of inquiry allow students to formulate knowledge about the right and wrong ways to do things, thereby allowing them to better understand and analyze events taking place in the world around them. Rose also reflects on his own education, seeing that it gave him the ability to hunt down information and confidently make decisions based on this information. This was achieved by the general acquisition of knowledge from school, which led Rose to be able to develop a better sense of himself. The information he garnered and his ability to synthesize and use his knowledge allowed him to become competent in matters concerning himself and the world around him.

4. How are Rose’s ideas connected or not connected to those in the (brief!) Vilson blog post?

I believe Vilson’s blog is much more critical or educational institutions whereas Rose believes schooling to be a mostly positive entity. Vilson says that “the results of the game never change” which should lead us to question the very basic institution of education. This inquiry into the effectiveness of school should lead to reform, a stark opposite to Rose’s viewpoint. Rose praises the benefits of school incessantly, both the virtues which education taught him personally and the ways he sees it affecting younger generations. School, to Rose, is the basic means of both self and social improvement, two necessary qualities of life in today’s world. Therefore, Rose and Vilson are significantly different in their ideas regarding education. 

5. What’s one question that this analysis has raised for your own thinking, and/or that you’d like to take up with the class?

I wonder whether the benefits which Rose says education attends to should be accredited to the institution of school itself or moreso to the individual student’s drive and motivation to better themselves. 

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