A New Breed of Students

A New Breed of Students

Length: 1814 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
A New Breed of Students

The American public school system does not prioritize the moral education of its students. As a result the majority of so-called "well educated society" is ethically challenged and morally desensitized. In Jonathan Kozol's book The Night Is Dark And I am Far From Home, Kozol develops a series of virtual indictments against the American public school system. According to Kozol students emerge both brainwashed and without a sense of purpose. In essence, many students do not understand the full potential of their intellectuality: "public education, for most children, is a twelve-year exercise of ethical emaciation" (Kozol 169). In the course of twelve years students have been sculpted to accommodate the needs of society; they have been conditioned to repress their own ethics and morality. In order to rectify this situation, schools should make the necessary adjustments to their philosophy. Instead of merely churning out "good citizens", public schools should take the time to educate "ethical human beings" for the benefit of humanity.

It seems as if the typical middle class citizen is practiced in the custom of ignoring the root cause of any educational issue today. The question of integrating moral and ethical components into the school structure is virtually taboo. The national standard is to escape all topics surrounding morality (i.e. religion, racial issues, and homosexuality etc…). As American citizens attempt to be politically correct all the time. It would be too risqué to start incorporating personal concepts into public institutions. Many would argue that as a country America has come incredibly far in terms of open mindedness in the past several decades. It is true that since Kozol's book was published, there have been tremendous advances in many aspects of social issues. However, resulting from this progress is the overall hesitancy to delve into any aspects of morality on an educational level. This hesitancy directly hinders the educated person from truly thinking as an individual.

Throughout this essay I will refer to the terms morality and ethics on several occasions. For clarity's sake I will explain what I think they represent. Morality is a learned characteristic. Society tends to equate moralism with the church. However, morality and ethics have less to do with religion than they do with a general philosophy on living. People can be without a religion and still be looked upon as moral beings. Morality simply has to do with being able to identify the difference between right judgements and wrong judgements.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"A New Breed of Students." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Aug 2018

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about High School Students Need to Think, Not Memorize

- "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” (Albert Einstein). What if I told you this was true. What if I told you that not everything we are taught in school is true. What if I told you that our school system doesn't even teach us true math and science. This may sound absurd, but the answers to all of these questions is yes. Furthermore, every year more and more students are turning their backs to many rewarding career fields because of how our public school system misrepresents them....   [tags: Creative Thinking Essays]

Research Papers
870 words (2.5 pages)

China’s New Nationalism Essay

- No one can deny from recent news that there has been a strong surge of Chinese nationalism, and that this nationalism has turned heads in the international community. The nationalism that the CCP has affected is taking on a life of its own. In its strategy of pragmatic nationalism, the CCP tried to blur the lines between love of country with love of the state and governing body. What has resulted is a whole new breed of nationalism that is very much independent of the Chinese Communist Party and in fact has caused the CCP great concern....   [tags: China]

Research Papers
1537 words (4.4 pages)

Creating Financial Security for College Students/Graduates Essay

- Creating Financial Security for College Students/Graduates          One of the biggest problems facing students today, is the fact that there is no real financial security after earning a degree. Many students find that the little amount of financial aid available, is not satisfactory to provide a stable source of payment for tuition. This is exaggerated by an exorbitant cost of the ever rising education costs. The facts are, it is expensive to get a higher education, and there is little alternative to receiving a degree....   [tags: Finance]

Research Papers
3229 words (9.2 pages)

Local University Versus University Aboard Essay

- In these modernized world, where machine were invented by the modern people really help the Homo sapiens species that breed on earth to have an easy and such a conducive lifestyle. But, the development did not help us to decide which one between local universities or abroad universities is the best choice. There have been many opinions thrown toward this issue. So we hope that this essay will help the community to decide and then achieve a better answer upon this issue. As we know, universities are one of the facilities that have been provided by the government for several years ago....   [tags: education, learning, competitive, students, fees]

Research Papers
1719 words (4.9 pages)

Essay on Toy Breed Dogs: Pugs

- Pugs are one of the biggest toys breed dogs. (Males, 12-14 Inches 13-20 Pounds, Females, 10-12 inches 13-18 pounds). The pugs are known for their small square shaped bodies and cute wrinkles. They have a heavy coat that sheds seasonally. They come in colors like apricot, black, and silver. Even though the pug being a small energetic dog may seem fun, they can be a challenge to take care of. So before a person can take home a pug he or she should know about their background, their attitudes, and especially their needs....   [tags: origins, care, oldest breed]

Free Essays
527 words (1.5 pages)

Breed Specific Legislation: Unfair to Pit Bulls Essay

- Niko is a boxer mix from Kansas City, Kansas. Kansas City had a ban against owning a dog of the “pit bull” breed. Niko was taken from his home in 2007 by animal control, and wrongfully accused for the way he looked. He was held in a kennel at the pound during the entire eight month period it took for his owners to get him back. After multiple court hearings, Niko was finally released and sent home with his family (Campbell). Niko’s story is a great reference to the many controversial thoughts people have against the laws regarding breed bans for pit bulls....   [tags: Breed-Specific Laws]

Research Papers
1058 words (3 pages)

Moving to a New School Essay example

- Have you ever felt uncomfortable, scared, nervous, and confused. Well new students feel this way whenever they move to a new school. They have no idea if they'll make friends or if anyone would like them. But with the ambassador program new students will right away feel comfortable in their new surroundings, able to learn a new language and know their way around our school faster than someone who's been there for three years. If we had this program, they just might make a friend right away. Feeling comfortable and feeling safe in your new surroundings is something everyone especially when you're new in a school....   [tags: New Student]

Research Papers
564 words (1.6 pages)

New Teaching Methods for Nontraditional Students Essay example

- Missing Figures New Teaching Methods for an Untraditional Audience It is becoming more and more common to see older students, or nontraditional students (ages 24 and above), entering college campuses. "Nontraditional" students now make up 36% of the college population (Justice and Dornan, 1). Although some question older students ability to perform in a college setting, research has proven that nontraditional students actually perform better than the traditional students (18-22 year olds). The significant differences between the traditional and nontraditional student has prompted the question whether institutions need to alter their teaching methods to fit the needs of the nontraditional s...   [tags: Non-traditional Students Education College]

Research Papers
2309 words (6.6 pages)

Excellent Students Excell Essay

- Students who excel in class and are successful throughout life have something in common which is much more important than accreditations and high test scores. Through the use of analytical, practical and creative thinking skills they are able to face life’s greatest challenges. Every educational institution has good and bad students, so in order to boost your chance at success you need to surround yourself with the good students. Noticing patterns can help you see the differences between students, for example; the students who show up late everyday, those who never take notes, those who always procrastinate and those who never contribute anything when they are in groups....   [tags: Students]

Research Papers
505 words (1.4 pages)

Essay on Breed-Specific Legislation

- Breed-specific Legislation Breed-specific legislation is the banning or restriction of dogs considered “dangerous” breeds, such as pit bull breeds, in order to stop dog attacks. “Inherently dangerous” implies that all pit bulls are, through genetics or their environment, born with a vicious streak; the science does not support this. Legislation targeting specific breeds does not work because dog attacks result from multiple factors, not just a simple breakdown of breed culpability. Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the National Canine Research Council, as well as independent researchers, all agree that BSL is not producti...   [tags: dangerous dogs, pitbulls]

Research Papers
1925 words (5.5 pages)

Related Searches

Being ethical connotes the conscious decisions humans make in order to determine the correct course of action. A person who possesses both moral and ethical characteristics is more qualified to both recognize whether something is right or wrong and then take the necessary action.

Kozol's interpretation of morality vs. "good citizenship" does not suggest that public schools should adopt a single principle from which they preach to students the fine points of humanistic living. Rather he recognizes the fact that it is necessary to educate students to their fullest capacity. Education has many facets and can not be fulfilled solely through textbook understanding.

By eliminating morality, an entire element of the educational process is lost and forgotten and students are, "defeated and unprovocative": mediocre contributors to society. In contrast, the inclusion of morality would allow students to gain a stronger sense of self rather than a constantly wavering confidence level. Moreover, the shape of the American family today is in no position to foster moral development. Whether or not intended to be so, students who continue without a moral/ethical component to their schooling gradually become indifferent to the plight of humanity.

From the very beginning of a student's education they are taught never to proclaim their own intelligence or even potential intelligence. When writing papers students are often forbidden to use first person. Personally, when a teacher forbids me to use first person pronouns, I feel disheveled. My perspective is undermined and somehow I don't feel as justified stating any original thoughts. Kozol points out in chapter eight of The Night is Dark and I Am Far from Home, that [students],

"fear their progeny will not be licensed, or legitimized, unless they can assign it to a neutral party, anonymous imagination, alien parenthood, another intellect more admirable, but less accessible, than mine…" (Kozol 109).

Teachers who have adopted this form of instruction are essentially contributing to the deterioration of confidence levels. Gradually students begin to disassociate themselves from their beliefs. The fundamental problem with this is that upon the completion of public schooling, many "individuals" are less likely to take a risk and voice their opinion freely. What does this amount to? In reality, nothing more than a generation of people who can not, and will not think on their own.

A nation that is not afraid of taking risks is a nation in which its inhabitants take an active role in their existence. Conversely, how can the United States possibly exist as a nation that champions free speech and democracy when in fact its children a re taught to take a passive role in their educational experience. Kozol examines this idea in chapter eight again stating,

"It is tragic enough that millions of young people have no sense of active ethics; yet this is not the worst…They have no sense of leverage either. Power is beyond them" (Kozol 113).

In denying yourself a voice you are denying yourself the option of speaking up when something is disturbing. There is nothing more discouraging than knowing that you had the power to remedy a bad situation or prevent it from happening and not taking action. This is part of the problem; students do not feel as if they have the power to change things.

Perhaps the greatest voice of opposition to Kozol's demand for 'ethical education" is the cry from outraged citizens who insist that morality is a characteristic that must be taught at home. This seems the best alternative for those who wish to prevent a conflict of ideology between the schools and home. A similar argument was made in the decision to separate church and state. It was thought that if religion were altogether ignored in school, education and individual development could be entirely independent of one another. This has worked in some respects. However, to ignore the moral and ethical component to a child's education is almost like shutting off an entire way of thinking.

I agree that ideally the family should provide children with a warm, cozy picture book rendition of what is right and wrong. But let's be realistic; the current state of the modern American family is in no condition to foster moral development. Indeed, something has gone drastically wrong. The structure of family has changed. There are too many broken homes and an over abundance of apathy. To suggest that a child growing up without parental guidance can in fact enter the adult world wit a secure sense of how to live ethically is ridiculous. Children learn from the nature of their environment. Kozol seems to have positioned public schools as being the evil force behind the virtual desecration of any educational promise. However, public schooling is the least common denominator with the greatest impact on its participants. Every child who attends school is affected profoundly; whether the outcome is positive or negative. By way of efficiency it seems most beneficial that schools adopt some method of preparing students to deal with questions of morality. In a perfect world children would be nurtured ethically at home by family members. Yet when that can not happen, as in many cases, the schools have a basic responsibility to step in.

The opportunity for risk taking (intellectually speaking) is virtually non-existent in America's classrooms. Year after year a graduating class of high school seniors emerges from twelve years of public schooling. They have a great deal of knowledge under their belts, yet every one of them has in some way been desensitized to society's woes. Schools have, "[planted] in each of us a simple and straightforward bias against ethics" (Kozol 174). This type of education carries with it an air of resignation: the unwillingness to truly stand out among others. Why is it so important that students don't just fade into the scenery? In order to attain the best possible education , students have to become part of the process. Intelligence is not automatically acquired by simply letting someone else's knowledge wash over you.

In today's society it is difficult for the teachings of morals and ethics to co-exist with the well established subjects of history, math, science etc… people wince at the mention of prayer in school and are quick to proclaim that matters of personal significance have no place in a classroom. That is why the question of morality grates so hard on society's ideals. But regardless of how hard the system tries to water down strong opinions, students can not come away with a totally objective education. It is not possible;

"What the teacher 'teaches' is by no means chiefly in the words he speaks… The secret curriculum is the teachers own lived values and convictions… written in his eyes" (Kozol 138).

What Kozol is charging public schools with is the mass production of, "defeated, unprovocative, well-balanced human beings." These students he argues, will be the ones to perpetuate the flaws in the system.

Morality and ethics are essential to the developmental process. The opposition to Kozol's original point is apparent. While the conservatives rally for strengthening of home and family, others say that the morality factor detracts from the efficiency of the standard educational experience. However, given the absolute deterioration of society in almost every single institution today, it seems necessary to provide young people with a moral standard of sorts. By teaching ethics we empower the student to make changes in the course of his or her lifetime. Little by little, problems that plague our society such as violence, rape, teen suicide, depression etc… are eliminated. The bottom line is more or less a question of responsibility. Whose job is it to make sure that American children get some idea of how to be "ethical human beings"? It is the job of the American public school system.

There is no one denying the difficulty of this process. Obviously it will take a great deal of time and effort to make significant changes. But the benefits far outweigh the negative aspects. In doing this, society is essentially breaking out of its inclination towards neutrality. A good education should not be presented as a "pre-packaged commodity. As students are individual, they deserve an individualized education. Human beings are products of their environment. Likewise, schools should be able to adapt to the changes in society. That includes providing students with a moral and ethical foundation, upon which they can build their lives and become intelligent, risk taking individuals.
Return to 123HelpMe.com