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FinnWing's picture

An Indulgent Take on One Aspect of Education: Evaluation

Education is a very great thing in many ways, and it also has many drawbacks. It is an important aspect of life for every individual, and the collective education of a society affects all individuals within the society. From the food we eat, to the buildings we study in, to the phones we chatter on, education allows us to create, produce, and consume for the lives we live; and that is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of education, it is more an observation. One critique of education that does arise in my mind, from how education affects society and individuals, is how shortsighted it can be. 

One example of how education is flawed pertains to “elite education” (narrowly defined).  Last night I read “The Disadvantages of an Elite Education,” by William Deresiewicz, and I was impressed by how articulately he bashes “elite” students and the framework and institutions that they are reared in.  His final paragraph poignantly points to the flaws of elite education, explaining, “The world that produced John Kerry and George Bush is indeed giving us our next generation of leaders….The disadvantage of an elite education is that it’s given us the elite we have, and the elite we’re going to have.” Thus I say that our educational system is shortsighted because the elites in our country seem to have no idea how to run it!!

Wait though…I feel like I am attributing all of societies ills to an academic education system that is flawed, but that also does great things. I love to learn because I feel that education enables me to better interact with the world around me (this point is debatable). What I find frustrating about education, and a possible reason that it can seem shortsighted, is that good grades enable an individual to ostensibly have more options (this point is also debatable!), and grades are usually given periodically during a semester and the accumulated grade is given at the end of the semester. This system is very fragmented, and when grades, evaluations, and judgments are given in this way, and given such great meaning, then it becomes difficult to keep perspective. How much does our flawed educational system have to do with how we are evaluated (i.e. grades and standardized tests)? I am curious if others feel this way or not…And if it is a common affliction, then what are some individual or institutional remedies that can be beneficial?    



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