Purpose of American Education Essay

According to U. S. manufacturers, forty percent of all seventeen-year-olds don’t have the math skills and sixty percent lack reading skills to hold a production job at a manufacturing factory. This fact should be an indicator that American educational system is not producing the young adults that are capable of surviving in our society today. Education is failing at achieving its purpose of preparing students to succeed in American society through experiences inside and outside the classroom. Education should provide the teaching of academics as well as ethics and morals to students so that they are able to succeed later on in life.

So the purpose of education is to prepare students for their future in society. In A Lesson Before Dying, Jefferson writes his thoughts and feelings in a diary. He writes after a visit “all them chiren in [Grant’s] class an just sittin ther on the flo all quite in their clean clothes lookin at me an I could see som was scared of me” (230). This quotation implies that education can be taught beyond the classroom, and Grant teaches the students a life lesson by an experience they have outside the classroom.

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The students take an educational field trip away from the classroom to go visit Jefferson in jail before he is executed. This field trip teaches the students a lesson that they would have never learned in the classroom: work hard in school, and obey laws so that they don’t end up in a jail cell like Jefferson. Also this sentence from Jefferson’s diary shows that education’s purpose is to prepare students for their future. Grant is scaring the students into staying on the right track to make sure that they have a better future than Jefferson.

In Francine Prose’s essay she adds “[g]reat novels can help us master the all-too-rare skill of tolerating-of being able to hold in mind-ambiguity and contradiction” (B). Prose is trying to say that novels teach lessons that aren’t taught anywhere else. Students will read books in school and while doing so will experience situations that will teach them life lessons and morals. That quotation helps support that education’s purpose is to prepare students to succeed because students read books from which they learn life lessons about how to treat people and how to have morals.

If teachers are unable to teach morals and ethics, a great book will. While the purpose of education is to prepare students for their future, American education is ineffective at achieving this purpose. Francine Prose is puzzled about the level of college undergraduates and graduates, she comments “their utter inability to read [books]; many are nearly incapable of doing the close line-line reading necessary to disclose the most basic information” (B). This indicates that the majority of college students didn’t get the proper education in earlier schooling to succeed in college.

Reading and analyzing are both basic skills learned in school, and they are both needed in order to succeed later in life. This quotation represents the ineffectiveness of education achieving its purpose because if college students aren’t able to read and analyze books then teachers did not prepare them well enough to succeed. Also James Baldwin refers to the citizens of our society “in the attempt to correct so many generations of bad faith and cruelty… [they] will meet the most fantastic, the most brutal, and the most determined resistance”(C).

This explains that Americans were not educated properly growing up, which shows ineffectiveness of American education. They are not going to change their bad habits easily which shows that education needs to be fixed. Education needs to push Americans to develop good habits when they are in school, so when they go into society they are ready and properly educated. Since these citizens in our society were not properly educated it will be really hard to change their ways and make them more educated. This illustrates that education is not achieving its purpose of preparing students.

The purpose of education is that through educational experiences, whether in or out of the classroom, one should be prepared to succeed later on in society. As discussed above, this is not being achieved through the American educational system. American education is going to get worse at achieving its purpose. American education needs to change. It can change by challenging the students more with harder curriculum, increasing the teacher’s salaries, and by providing the necessary materials in order for students to succeed. It’s time for education to provide society with well-educated students.