By Ross T. Runfola
Public schools should stop stressing socialization to the neglect of fostering critical thinking, autonomy and creativity in students. Generally, public schools do not encourage enlightened dissent but a deadened passivity where students blindly accept teachers’ instruction as irrefutable fact.
Howard Zinn recognizes this in “A People’s History of the United States,” where he finds: “Control in modern times more than force — more than law — requires the special task of educators to preserve the culture, not to transform it.” As a result we have an educational system that is more a purveyor of societal norms than a vehicle where students have the freedom to disagree, and give sound reasons for their position.
Education should begin, not end, when a teacher presents information. But the best students are usually defined by teachers as those who agree with them and are robot-like on exams and oral discussion, giving back to the teacher the same information he/she originally gave the student.