Education means different things to different people.
To some, it means teaching that comes from the classroom; to others, it suggests learning from experience. To still others, it’s a combination of the above: seeking to educate using classroom learning as well as practical experience.
Whatever the case, education is often viewed from different perspectives. Not only does learning refer to scholastic achievement, but also to social maturity.
In our society today, there are three different avenues to obtaining an education for students in America: the home, a private school, and a public school.
Homeschooling is a growing educational trend in the U.S. that, in many cases, provides a solid scholastic background, but most people find that it cannot help students in their social development.
Parents provide one-on-one teaching that guarantees individual attention as well as genuine concern. Homeschoolers are also able to use computers and other technological advantages when they are available or affordable.
However, children who have been homeschooled may lack social maturity. They usually have little outside contact with their peers, they do not have as many opportunities to compete and interact with others, and they often lack the communication skills necessary to develop friendships.
Another potential problem with homeschooled children is that most parents cannot provide a complete or diverse education when compared to a public or private school. This problem is magnified by older students as parents have problems with advanced math and sciences courses, as well as with foreign languages.
Private schools, meanwhile, are usually associated with a church or non-government organization, but their main feature is that a tuition fee is often required in order to attend. This is one of the problems with private schools. Many students cannot afford a private school, and therefore, miss out on this educational opportunity.
Private schools may provide a superior scholastic education, but they sometimes require strict qualifications to be met in order to attend; as a result, they boast a higher quality of student.
At the same time, private schools offer quality teachers and provide better student-to-teacher ratios than public schools.
For these and similar reasons, private schools often can offer a quality educational experience if education were simply a scholastic concern. However, since education also deals with social growth, private schools are limited when it comes to providing daily interaction with peers, who are more than likely all cut from a similar cloth.
A third educational choice is the public school. This alternative often cannot provide as strong an education as a private school, and it features the worst student-to-teacher ratio of the three selections. Plus, in sheer size alone, public schools are flawed with distractions that take away from the overall educational experience.
Perhaps worst of all, much of the money assigned to public education is spent on high salaries for non-teachers, those experts lodged in the State Department of Education and county board offices.
Even so, public schools probably provide the most complete education. Students can participate in athletics and other extra-curricular activities sponsored by the school.
Students also can interact with students of different races and backgrounds, and they learn to deal with peer pressure as they are forced to make tough decisions.
Based on these evaluations, it is easy to see that a complete education is difficult to deliver on any level of learning. All three settings of instruction—the home, private schools, and public schools—have their strong and weak points.
But the main purpose of any school is to provide a strong scholastic education, which needs to be diverse and well-rounded. Students need to see the reality of life mirrored in the subjects they study at school. Every problem does not have an easy solution; every question, an easy answer.
Society today forces us to know foreign languages and the history of other countries in order to compete in the world job market. Another criterion that a school should meet is the social needs of students (athletic teams, bands, and clubs). It also should encourage student interaction.
And above all, students should learn to make difficult decisions and appreciate the differences in others.
Top o’ the morning!