Cody Lonning is an intern at National Geographic. He graduated in June from Walla Walla University with a degree in history. He plans to pursue a law degree in the near future before settling down in the Pacific Northwest to grow blueberries.
If you don’t know much about the debate surrounding education reform, then you may not know about the struggle between vocational education and holistic education… or maybe you know more about education reform than you thought.
So here’s the drift. Some people see school as a way of training people to be good workers. Others prefer to see it as a way of training people to be good people. But, these aren’t just ways of “seeing” the institution of education; whichever view you tend to ascribe to usually informs the way you believe education ought to be structured.
As John Taylor Gatto writes in The Underground History of American Education, our current education system is a hold-over from a time when it was important for schools to turn out graduates who would make excellent factory workers. Rote memorization, mundane worksheets, coloring inside the lines, and other forms of busy work are a perfect preparation for the incessant routine of factory life. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you’d rather our economy was based on something real rather than the giant casino we call the “stock market”), this sort of training is becoming less and less applicable to the needs of U.S. companies. Further, this sort of education was never good at training people to be thoughtful citizens.
But I stray from my point.
I work at the National Geographic Society. Known mostly for its magazine, National Geographic is much more than the publisher of a periodical. I work in the Education portion of NGS, and this week is Geography Awareness Week. Hence, this blog post is dedicated to the most ignored social studies subject (except maybe civics).
Continue reading Cody’s full post on his blog!