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Society purpose of education essay, education important essay

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Purpose Of Public Schools Essay Research Paper

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Purposes of Schooling Essay

Labaree examines
the competing ideological traditions that have fought for dominance
in our public schools since the nineteenth century and considers the
social consequences when certification and degrees become more
important than the acquisition of knowledge.

He argues that
the central problems with education are not pedagogical,
organizational, social or cultural in nature but are fundamentally
political. He identifies three prominent educational goals that at
times have undermined each other. He calls these goals democratic
equality, social efficiency and social mobility.

The democratic
equality goal seeks to prepare our young for citizenship. The social
efficiency goal prepares students to carry useful economic roles, and
the social mobility goal treats education as a commodity which
purpose is to provide individual students with a competitive
advantage in the struggle for desirable social positions. From the
perspective of the citizen then, democratic equality is viewed as a
public good benefiting society as a whole, (a public good is one
whose benefits are enjoyed by all the members of the community,
whether or not they actually contributed the production of this good.
Police protection, street maintenance, public parks, air pollution
control, etc…). The taxpayer and the employer see social efficiency
as a public good too, designed to prepare workers to play useful
roles in our economy. In social mobility however, the individual
consumer views education as a private good to be exchanged later for
higher paying jobs (a private good is one whose benefits are enjoyed
by an individual).

The most
political of the three goals, democratic equality, has three
subgoals: the pursuit of citizenship training, equal treatment and
equal access. Citizenship training is addressed through such courses
as social studies, civics, government, US History and liberal arts.
Equal treatment has been dealt with by the exclusion of public prayer
and other religious practices from schools, desegregation, removal of
gender stereotypes from textbooks, incorporation of experiences of
nonwhites and females in the curriculum, multiculturalism,
affirmative action, the reduction of discriminatory practices such as
tracking and ability grouping, and equalization of financial support
to school districts regardless of tax base. Equal access has been
achieved by making education available to all segments of the

The social
efficiency goal exerts its influence on schools in the form of
vocationalism and educational stratification. The social mobility
goal manifests itself as high tuition, exclusivity and stratified
structure such as reading groups, pull-out programs, high school
tracks, letter grades, comprehensive standardized testing and
differentiated diplomas.

The three goals,
though conflicting, do have some elements in common and interact in
some peculiar ways. Social mobility and social efficiency both call
for a high degree of stratification, which is antithetical to
democratic equality. However, unlike the pursuit of social
efficiency, social mobility has an aggressively individualistic
instead of collective view of the market.

While the author
admits that all three goals are necessary for a healthy society,
producing good citizens, good workers and good social opportunities,
he is very critical of the social mobility goal, which he blames for
producing students who are well schooled but poorly educated. It has
contributed to credential inflation, undermined the incentive for
students to learn, and created the paradox of unchanging social
mobility despite the rising levels of educational attainment. He is
very concerned about the growing dominance of the social mobility
goals over the others, and deplores educational institutions for
adopting a balancing act that only seeks to minimize conflict.

The author does
offer hope that the educational system is amenable to correction
thanks to its openness and the checks and balances inherent in these
three goals, much like the three branches of government. He is
convinced that the public’s tradition for democratic equality and
social efficiency are inherently hostile to the growing effort to
privatize education. However, the author doesn’t offer an
explanation to this anomaly, and seems to contradict himself, that if
there is such great public hostility to the social mobility forces,
then where, in a seemingly democratic society, is this impetus for
privatization coming from.

Having received
all my schooling overseas, and without experience of the US school
system, it is difficult for me to comment extensively about US
schools. Many societies around the world strive for the three major
goals he discusses, with some of the goals being more dominant than
the others, depending on the country, or whether the school is
private, public or religious. All countries, even communist ones,
seek to produce good citizens and productive workers. Many citizens
of these and socialist countries strive for social mobility too,
though the economic realities and politics may temper desires or make
such goals unattainable. Many of the problems he has stated are
universal, and no country, or school is immune to them. Even
socialist countries such as Sweden, England, Iraq etc. have
experienced credential inflation. The economies of many countries
cannot provide the opportunities available in the US, and with
education being free in these countries, there are many more
graduates than jobs, with resultant high unemployment. Some of these
countries practice their own form of tracking, stratification and
vocationalism, even going as far as selecting your profession purely
based on your grades.

Discipline and
class management are far less of a problem in other countries, with
students and parents playing a more active role and taking
responsibility for their education. Teachers are paid better salaries
and are afforded much respect, unlike in US. It is my feeling that
this denigration of teachers and student apathy greatly compounds the
already complicated political situation facing US schools.
Unfortunately, Labaree felt this problem was too insignificant to
devote any space to, instead choosing to focus on social mobility as
the major evil creeping on US society, when I feel it is a basic
human attribute like greed, jealousy, etc.

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Home    Graduate School – Statement

Graduate School – Statement

Graduate and professional schools often require some sort of written statement — often called a “statement of purpose,” “personal statement,” or “letter of intent”– as a part of the application. Some statements require rather specific information–for example, the applicant’s intended area of study within a graduate field. Still others are quite unstructured, leaving the applicant free to address a wide range of matters. The importance of the statement varies from school to school and from field to field.

  • Determine your purpose in writing the statement
  • Determine the content of your statement
  • Determine your approach and style of the statement
  • Words and phrases to avoid without explanation
  • Where to go for help

Determine your purpose in writing the statement

Usually the purpose is to persuade the admissions committee that you are an applicant who should be chosen. Whatever its purpose, the content must be presented in a manner that will give coherence to the whole statement.

Pay attention to the purpose throughout the statement so that extraneous material is left out.
Pay attention to the audience (committee) throughout the statement. Remember that your audience is made up of professionals in their field, and you are not going to tell them how they should act or what they should be. You are the amateur.

Determine the content of your statement

Be sure to answer any questions fully. Analyze the questions or guidance statements for the essay completely and answer all parts. Usually graduate and professional schools are interested in the following matters, although the form of the question(s) and the responses may vary:

  • Your purpose in graduate study. Think this through before you try to answer the question.
  • The area of study in which you wish to specialize. Learn about the field in detail so that you are able to state your preferences using the language of the field.
  • Your intended future use of your graduate study. Include your career goals and plans for the future.
  • Your unique preparation and fitness for study in the field. Correlate your academic background with your extracurricular experience to show how they unite to make you a special candidate.
  • Any problems or inconsistencies in your records or scores, such as a bad semester. Explain in a positive manner. Since this is a rebuttal argument, it should be followed by a positive statement of your abilities. In some instances, it may be more appropriate to discuss this outside of the personal statement.
  • Any special conditions that are not revealed elsewhere in the application, such as a significant (35 hour per week) workload outside of school. This, too, should be followed with a positive statement about yourself and your future.
  • You may be asked, “Why do you wish to attend this school?” Research the school and describe its special appeal to you.
  • Above all, this statement should contain information about you as a person. They know nothing about you unless you tell them. You are the subject of the statement.

Determine your approach and style of the statement

There is no such thing as “the perfect way to write a statement.” There is only the one that best fits you.

  • Be objective, yet self-revelatory. Write directly and in a straightforward manner that tells about your experience and what it means to you. Do not use “academese.”
  • Form conclusions that explain the value and meaning of your experience, such as what you learned about yourself and your field and your future goals. Draw your conclusions from the evidence your life provides.
  • Be specific. Document your conclusions with specific instances. See below a list of general words and phrases to avoid using without explanation.
  • Get to the point early on and catch the attention of the reader.
  • Limit its length to two pages or less. In some instances it may be longer, depending on the school’s instructions.
  • Use the “what I did with my life” approach.
  • Use the “I’ve always wanted to be a _____” approach.
  • Use a catalog of achievements. This is only a list of what you have done, and tells nothing about you as a person.
  • Lecture the reader. For example, you should not write a statement such as “Communication skills are important in this field.” Any graduate admissions committee member knows that.

Words and phrases to avoid without explanation

feel good
appealing to me
appealing aspect
I like it
it’s important
I can contribute
meant a lot to me
helping people
I like helping people

Where to go for help

  • If you need some help figuring out what to write,  make an appointment  with a Career Center counselor to come up with a plan.
  • Once you have done a draft (or 2 or 3), show it to people you trust such as faculty, GSIs, family, friends, letter of recommendation writers, etc. The best people to review your statement are those who know you well and have excellent writing skills.
  • If you want to improve your writing, the  Student Learning Center Writing Program  offers programs on writing technique as well as individual tutoring.
  •  is an excellent resource that includes essay critiques and writing tips.

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