American Education and Schooling

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Student’s Name
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American Education and Schooling
Labaree’s Social Goals of Education
According to Labaree, the education system in the United States of America was created with the
aim of solving critical social problems in the early days of the American Republic (2). In this
respect, some social goals of education have been highlighted. Notably, American schools have
taken the responsibility of creating the community by uniting a diverse array of citizens and
exposing them to different cultural and social experiences. Furthermore, the ability of the school
system to allocate social access and social advantage is another social goal of the American
education (Labaree 2). Through these social goals, the American school syndrome has taken
root, and a majority of the schools rarely care about learning.
For an extended period, reformers have unsuccessfully tried to impose social missions on
schools (Labaree 2). Intrinsically, such missions are never accomplished due to the conflicting
missions by the consumers of education who are the families who send their children to school.
Consequently, the consumers of education embrace less noble social goals in an attempt of
fortifying the future of their children while compromising on the broad social goals propounded
by the education reformers (Labaree 3). Labaree categorizes these antagonistic social missions as
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public and private goods. The public goods epitomize those social goals promulgated by the
education reformists and are focused on influencing the society at large.
American Purpose of Education and Schooling
This week’s readings articulate on the influence of the American education system on the
American dreams. The readings explicitly elucidate on how the American dream in education
evokes conflicting goals between individuals and the society at large. In the reference to this
conflict, Hochschild state that “…what seems to be good for the individual might not be good for
the society as a whole and vice versa (36).’’ In this context, the authors shed light on the
particular point whereby the American education system has massively failed (Hochschild 36).
Labaree argues that the educational institutions have been ineffective because of the social goals
that are being imposed on them.
Additionally, it is clear that the America’s purpose of education and schooling revolves
around creating an equal platform that will expose all the children to equal chances of learning to
foster democracy and promote the common good. The American schooling is meant to equalize
opportunities across all generations while creating democratic citizens from each generation.
Notably, the public schools have been charged with the onus of making the American dream a
Human Capital and Private Goals of Education
A market economy often rewards individuals who have developed the skills and attributes valued
in the market. It makes human capital a priceless value in the market, a trend described by Brink
Lindsey as the cephalization of economic life (Reeves 10). Therefore, education has evolved to
be the cornerstone for the reproduction of upper-middle-class status in the country, thus the issue
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of the private goal of education feature. Summarily, majoring on the private goals of education
will improve the human capital which is hugely influential in the market economy.
The Role of Schools and Education in the Socialization of Students and Citizens
Americans have bequeathed all their hopes in education concerning the expression of
their ideas and solving their life problems. In one of his articles, Labaree states that “We want
schools to provide us with good citizens and productive workers... (2)”. Here, the author brings
forth some of the roles of schools and education in the socialization of the students and citizens.
American citizens expect schools to mold good citizens who can be of value to the society.
Hence, they decide to impose the social missions to schools, which, unfortunately, leads to the
inevitable fall of the school system. Similarly, according to Westheimer, schools served as a
place of teaching children on how to connect between the knowledge they learn in class and their
overall contribution to the social lives in the communities (4). Therefore, these articles depict
that schools and education play a significant role in the socialization of the students and citizens.
Relationship between Education and the American Dream
The American dream states that all individuals living in the United States should enjoy a
reasonable chance to achieve success in their understanding through their efforts and resources
(Hochschild 36). Although this dream sounds to be a brilliant ideological invention, the
realization of the dream as far as American education is concerned has become considerably less
impressive. As stated earlier, most schools in the United States of America are faced with the
dilemma of the conflicting interests on individual success and collective good of the nation or the
society. These conflicts have shaped the American education. Since the American dream is
hugely based on mutual values, which entails, the provision of equal opportunity, respect for the
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marginalized and exercising democratic citizenship, education has thrived in public schools.
However, it is important to note that the realization of the American dream in education may be
far from happening due to the widening gap between what the Americans believe and what they
are willing to do. Ideally, the American dream wants all children to grow in an environment with
equal opportunities for learning, fostering democracy, and promoting good enhancing
socialization for all the students.
Producing the Three Types of Citizens
Westheimer identify three versions of citizens that are responsible for capturing the lay of the
land regarding citizenship education (40). They include the participatory citizen, responsible
citizen, and the social justice oriented. These three types of citizens reflect on the different
education processes that serve as the building units of the three types (Westheimer 40).
Personally responsible citizens undergo an education process to build character and personal
responsibility by emphasizing self-discipline, handwork, and integrity. The participatory citizens
teach students on how governments and other institutions work on the importance of planning
and engaging themselves in organized efforts. Finally, the social justice-oriented citizens are
similar to participatory citizens albeit they teach on thoughtfulness on a variety of complex
issues (Westheimer 40).
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Works Cited
Hochschild, Jennifer L. "Public Schools and the American Dream." Dissent, 2001, pp.35-42.
Labaree, David F. Someone Has to Fail. Harvard University Press, 2012.
Reeves, Richard V. Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class is Leaving
Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and what to Do about It. Brookings
Institution Press, 2017.
Westheimer, Joel. What Kind of Citizen?: Educating Our Children for the Common Good.
Teachers College Press, 2015.

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