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What Will It Take To Reform Education

Updated on August 26, 2008

Manifesto For Change

Are the issues surrounding education, really education at all? Perhaps not, and this is easily visible when taking the time to watch the local news in anytown USA. Crimes against color plague the hallways of many schools forcing some to ask whether the problem lies inside the textbooks or in what is lacking within them.

Diversity, can be described as the cornerstone for this great country, with its many inhabitants ancestry originating from all over the globe, with faces filled with rich color, and yet, understanding and tolerance of others is nearly invisible. America's history details its strife and tulmoltuous pursuits of manifest destiny, but this only paints a partial picture for young children to see. Eurpopean history is written within each and every text book and as interesting as these stories are, they do not convey the struggles and hardships or successes that reflect the students who read them. Although they may be impacted by reading such history, some are unaware of their own family's inception into American culture and students around them are even more oblivious to the novel stories that surround them in their classrooms.

So if understanding of others does not come from text then children are left to inscribe there understanding through media such as; movies. music, videos, stereotypes and lastly, books or plays. Although they may be semi acurate betrayals of the lives of a small few minorities these unrealistic ideologies focus only on a small group, ie., gangs, violence or drug use. Displaying minorities in this particular light, leaves children faced with very narrow views of how minorities interract in everyday life. They are left to assume the rest and these assumptions can leave the least understood child in the room, historically speaking, paying the ultimate price.

Who better to bridge this gap of cultural understanding than the teachers who shape and mold this countries youth, and what better tools to use than recreated textbooks that highlight every students experience. By incorporating the histories of all whom inhabit America we will have class rooms who are not only mentally equipped to empathize with the child sitting across from them, but also allow them to focus on learning rather than their differences. In summary to incorporate every, race, creed and national origin into history will in turn create a positive future for todays youth.


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    • Melissa G profile image

      Melissa G 

      10 years ago from Tempe, AZ

      Geez, kids can be so shortsighted and cruel. Despite how painful those experiences where, I value them for helping me develop much more empathy and kindness than would probably have been possible otherwise.

      And yes, we need to change as a society if we want to prosper and grow, focusing more on the content of someone's character than the color of their skin, as the great MLK said. In general, a shift from the material to the spiritual would be a very welcome change, and if people understood how much we have in common, fundamentally, they would see that when you hurt someone else, you're just hurting yourself in the end.

    • PEN-n-PAD profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Washington

      You get it! Lets help take away some of the distractions that kids face, and give them a more level learning field to grow on. The same issues dealt with in k-12 are no different than that of the work place, if they cannot understand and empathize in 6th grade, will they hire a minority, or overweight person, or a person with a disability when they become adults?

      And your right I bet they did learn more in your mentoring program, so much in school for so many only makes sense when its applicable to real life. I went to a school where I was called the N word nearly every week, I didn't know hate until that experience. I dream of continuing MLK's dream and pushing it further than he may have even thought it could go. Equality, for all.

    • Melissa G profile image

      Melissa G 

      10 years ago from Tempe, AZ

      Great post, I couldn't agree more with your analysis. Along with a more diverse curricula, I wish education focused more on ethics, morality, and individual responsibility. It would be even better if lessons could be structured around meaningful examples that children can relate to and integrate into their lives.

      When I think back to childhood, I shudder to think of how much ignorance and hatred I encountered, and how little attention teachers paid to the name-calling and tormenting kids are capable of, possibly in fear of attracting similar treatment.

      I was in a youth mentoring program where we taught the kids to take responsibility for their lives, to set goals, to treat each other and themselves with respect, to honor their words, and to understand that every action begins with a thought, and they get to decide who they want to be and how they want to live their lives, regardless of past mistakes. I think they learned more over those six months than they had in their entire academic careers.


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