ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Elementary, Middle School & High School

Let's Abolish High Schools

Updated on August 28, 2011


This is the title of the article published by Robert Epstein in Education Week datelined April 4, 2007 to which a student Robert Zahari says, “Epstein for some reason seems to be nostalgic for the “good old days” of child labor when children worked 12-hour days under exploitative and dangerous conditions in impersonal factories, and seems to think that the protections we have now are unnecessary and counterproductive”. In my opinion Robert Zahari does not make a fair criticism of Epstein’s article. There may be merits and demerits in Epstein’s article that should have been evaluated and analyzed, but Zahari passes a hasty opinion on the article. On the contrary a fair reading of Epstein’s article shows that the author has no where favored child labor of the kind Zahari points out. On the contrary the overall thesis of Epstein’s article seems to be that age is no barrier to intellectual and emotional achievement. In other words, an adolescent of 15 could be as or more emotionally and intellectually advanced than an adult of 25 or 35 or more.

I agree with Epstein (2007) that age is an artificial barrier to making decisions like voting, or even doing works that adults do. He further argues, “After all, past puberty, technically speaking we’re not really children anymore, and presumably through most of human history we bore our young when we were quite young ourselves. It occurred to me that young people must be capable of functioning as competent adults, or the human race quite probably would not exist” (Epstein 2007). I agree that human beings are well developed past puberty at least physically. Also, there are prodigies that may have attained greater intellectual, emotional, and spiritual heights at quite a young age.


 

However, those are the exceptions. The fact is that we continue to grow mentally all our life. Therefore, child-adolescent-adult is a continuum rather than well defined stages and hence age is an artificial barrier distinguishing childhood from adulthood. Consequently, for a large majority of mankind there are things a 25 year old can learn but not an adolescent of 15 because exceptionally brilliant children are exceptional. We must also admit that “we bore our young when we were quite young ourselves” is/was true in an age when science and environmental factors did not enrich human lives. The average longevity used to be 25 to 30 years. Today the average life span in the developed world is close to or past 80. Further, society and life style are evolutionary in nature. Hundred or more years down the line, it wouldn’t be surprising that a child would not attain the age of majority till 35 pr 40 with 150 or 200 years of average life span.

     Epstein favors abolition of High Schools because they were designed or created under conditions like industrial revolution, great depression, or for reasons like safeguarding the limited number of jobs for those that needed the most. I cannot agree more with the author. However, Epstein (2007) merely states the obvious. While agreeing that the school system today are superfluous, I still hold that every age since time immemorial had some formal arrangement for education. Even today we are experimenting with home schooling, distance learning, online learning and several other forms of education. If Epstein is arguing, which he does not of course, for abolition of education altogether, I cannot see any more ridiculous idea because every age has unique repertoire of literary, social, and scientific know how and skills that must be passed down from generation to generation for growth unless we wish to descend to the dark ages of savagery.

     The focus of Epstein’s essay is that adolescents are as capable or more capable than adults in several respects: “The research I conducted with my colleague Diane Dumas suggests that teenagers are as competent as adults across a wide range of adult abilities, and other research has long shown that they are actually superior to adults on tests of memory, intelligence, and perception” (Epstein 2007). Therefore, they should be given freedom to learn, to earn, and to do anything creative and worthwhile they need to do rather than chaining them down under hundreds of restrictions including compulsory education. I completely agree with the author here. However, Epstein does not provide us a concrete scheme of arrangement so that the young people can express themselves to the best of their talents. What would they do once they drop out of high schools? Should they be allowed to experiment with drugs, alcohol, and sex? Should they be allowed to remain delinquents or languish in institutions?

     None the less, author identifies teenage turmoil in western culture and society. Therefore, the obvious solution that we have is to change the culture because there are hundreds of societies documented anthropologically that are free from teenage turmoil. I do not see merit in the logic because culture is a unilinear and irreversible growth not determined by an individual or even masses. Cultural growth is an outcome of several factors – known and unknown – that cannot be controlled. Several social scientists have evidenced that culture of a society progresses through stages from pre to post industrial stages.

     I agree with the author that “Teenagers are inherently highly capable young adults; to undo the damage we have done; we need to establish competency-based systems that give these young people opportunities and incentives to join the adult world as rapidly as possible”.  I agree that teenagers are highly competent. I also agree that we must have competency based systems. However, I can see that already taking place. Competent and meritorious students or teenagers are filtered quite early in life to take up sports or modeling, or television, or anything they excel at. However, a large majority still need technical or managerial or administrative or scientific and research skills that come with years of training. 

           

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)