Monday, December 2, 2013

Empowering Education; Education is Politics by Ira Shor


 “Education is a social experience for tens of millions of students who come to class with their own dreams and agendas. Sometimes cooperating with and sometimes resisting the intention of the school and the teacher” (Shor 13). When we think of education we think of sitting in a chair and listening to the teacher or instructor for hours at a time; when in reality I believe that the best learning happens when you are actively interacting with other people and coming together as one with ideas and beliefs. We don’t only learn at school, in fact we are always learning new things. Being in school doesn't necessarily mean that learning is only restricted to teachers, in fact teachers should acknowledge that factor and encourage students to be more active within the classroom by bringing in ideas and experiences of their own.

“School funding is another political dimension of education, because more money has always been invested in the education of upper-class children and elite collegians than has been spent on students from lower-income homes and in community college.” (Shor 15)This quote reminded me of Peggy McIntosh’s article White Privilege and how she believed that being privileged automatically gives people the upper hand in society. I completely agree with this quote, if more money was invested in less privileged schools, I believe that they would have a better chance of being successful. From my own personal experience I can remember how we could not do certain projects in school because they required ordering materials that the school could not afford. Another example is how text books were only available in small amounts so either we had to partner up with other people in order to do our work or hand nothing in and risk failing.  My opinion is that as long as the money continues to go to the higher performing schools; they will continue to succeed while the less privileged schools continue to underperform.  

 “If the students’ task is to memorize rules and existing knowledge, without questioning the subject matter, or the learning process, their potential for critical thought and action will be restricted” (Shor 12). I can relate this quote to myself and how sitting in a science class for me was complete torture. I can remember trying so hard to understand the lectures but finding myself making note cards to memorize information that I know my brain would only retain until the exam was over. I could not once tell you why or how certain things happened within cells. In the end I suffered because I didn’t deepen my knowledge I only memorized facts I knew I would not remember ever again. He believes that in order for real learning to happen it is important that we think critically and ask ourselves if there is any learning happening. 

Comment to Share: I thought this reading was very tough to get through :(