Provide examples from your own experience to illustrate how schools are expected to address social problems.
In today's society life is a little more hectic than it used to be and there are more dual income and divorced families students often spend a greater amount of time in the classroom than they do in proximity of their parents. It is my opinion that the schools today are equally responsible for shaping the minds of our youth. They spend such a large quantity of their day in the classroom that it would be neglectful to think otherwise (Pecori, 1999). Though there should always be clear boundaries as to the teachers role I believe that upon entering the profession you must be aware of the fact that you are going to be an influential presence in your students life.
I think schools should be used to address social issues as long as there isn't a personal agenda. Any social issue that enters the classroom should only be there to quash ignorance and open up students minds for further exploration. Knowledge should be presented factually and free of biases. For example, I wouldn't think it was appropriate for a republican teacher like I once had in high school to start preaching to us about his personal republican ideals on abortion. However, it would have been appropriate for this teacher to stir up an interest in politics by having a non-biased discussion on each parties role and policies in our nation.
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Should schools be used to "Americanize" all students by teaching common core values, such as those suggested by Horace Mann?
Do I believe that school's should take a role in 'Americanizing' our youth as Horace Mann did? No. Who am I to say which values apply to which student. Who am I to instill republican values as my teacher tried to instill in us. I think core values such as respect and compassion should be taught to all but republican values should not be forced upon students. Teachers often have to address social issues as they are just that - social issues (Hinsdale, 1898). They do not cease existence as soon as the students enter the hallways. In fact, this is where many discussions on social issues take place. I believe that the teacher needs to help ensure that students aren't developing negative stereotypes or contributing to ignorant conversations. I believe the teacher should open up his/her classroom for discussion on homosexuality, racism, sexism, immigration, learning disabilities, different types of families etc. This is how change happens. However, in part this is what Mann had in mind when he talked about education: “Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery” (Mann, 1842). In this sense I agree. In my opinion it is the teacher's role to present information on topics such as immigration and guide discussion to help prevent ignorance. If there is not guidance in this form than perhaps students will be receiving the majority of their 'social issues' education through magazines, television, gossip etc
Regarding gender equity, provide examples from your own experience of how each gender continues to experience inequity in terms of professional opportunities, social privilege, or worker's compensation.
Though I don't always feel that I am treated any different than my male counter parts on a daily basis it is quite evident that I am. If you were to research the differences in pay scale between a man and a woman in similar jobs or across the board you would see we fall short. I have even noticed this in my short work history.
If you were to survey primary students on differences between women and men you would see that the stereotypes are still alive and well. I have fallen victim to some of these stereotypes. The key thing to remember is that “Education is a fundamental human right: Every child is entitled to it. It is critical to our development as individuals and as societies, and it helps pave the way to a successful and productive future” (UNICEF, 2010).