Yes, I'm back in school (again) gunning for another degree. I'm presently taking two courses, Organizational Theory and Change and Political Policy and Analysis in Urban Public Schools. It's been quite an experience thus far with discussions that run the gamut of hot topics in education.
A recent homework assignment and class discussion (debate) was based on the article “What Does It Mean to Be Well-Educated?” by Alfie Kohn and further fueled by complex conversations about a topic that may not have any one right answer.
I now pose that question to you… “What Does It Mean to Be Well-Educated?” Kohn suggest that the issue is sufficiently complex, that questions are easier to formulate than answers. So let’s at least be sure we’re asking the right questions and framing them well. It’s this frame that will help us to determine “What Does It Mean to Be Well-Educated?”
1) Point of Schooling...Is it intellectual development; a means to creating or sustaining a democratic society; an economic investment into your future???
2) Evaluating People vs. Their Education...Does the phrase well-educated refer to a quality of the schooling you received, or something about you? Does it denote what you were taught, or what you actually learned (and remember)?
3) An Absence of Consensus…Is it even possible to agree on a single definition of what every high school student should know or be able to do in order to be considered well-educated? Is it to be invariant across cultures?
4) Some Poor Definitions…Are the following factors: attendance, job skills, test scores, memorization of a bunch of facts, indicators of being well-educated?
5) Mandating a Single Definition…Who gets to decide what it means to be well-educated?
6) The Good School… Finally, instead of asking what it means to be well-educated, perhaps we should inquire into the qualities of a school likely to offer a good education?
I have my thoughts, now I'd like to hear yours…
By Samantha Lennon
5th Grade Teacher