We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

A Critique of the Educational System and Theodore R. Sizer’ Influence Essay Sample

essay
The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC
  • Pages:
  • Word count: 1571
  • Category: School

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

A Critique of the Educational System and Theodore R. Sizer’ Influence Essay Sample

Theodore R. Sizer has contributed a fine critique of the educational system with Horace’s Compromise. When the dynamic figure of the educational reform passed away, Margalit Fox wrote “Theodore R. Sizer, one of the country’s most prominent education-reform advocates, whose pluralistic vision of the American high school helped shape the national discourse on education and revise decades-old ideas of what a school should be.” In Horace’s Compromise he sets out to study what is worth knowing and how the process of teaching can be improved. While searching for these answers Sizer recognizes a bigger problem regarding teaching methods, which are being repressed from the standardization of the curriculum. This in turn manifests a multitude of issues between the students and the system. He discovers a disconnection between students regarding what and how they learn within the American educational school system. He seeks to find the contributing factors, which create the assembly-line style of educating adolescents in order to reform the system. The contents involve researching, first hand, the students and teachers routines, which contribute to the educational format.

He investigates the students, the program, the teachers, the overall structure of the entire system and how it can be improved. Sizer immediately recognizes an issue within the educational system regarding the process of standardization and the affect upon teachers and students. Sizer visits various schools across America recognizes that standardization is creating an industrial style process of educating. The time slots are too compact for the teachers to pay detailed attention to every individual, in turn the students may not receive as much attention. “He will compromise by spending no more than ten minutes’ preparation time, on average, per class.” (“Horace is uneasy with this compromise but feels he can live with it.) Sizer exemplifies his concern with standardization of education. In order to follow the curriculum and make sure every student meets the requirements and receive their credit, there needs to be a trade off somewhere, the result is cutting out the element of personalization. Standardized curriculums manifest other issues regarding the student’s attention.

Steven Stecklow acknowledged Dr. Sizer in the Wall Street Journal and his contribution to the 800 plus network of schools, since 1984, that have implemented his effort to reform the educational system with “his “Common Principles” of education, stressing deeper, more self-directed learning to get students to think critically.” It is difficult for the students to piece together random and different information which they receive every hour. Perhaps there should be more flow in the educational system so that it becomes less of a regurgitation of knowledge and more of a critical analysis while connecting information. Sizer notices the students listening to the lectures, looking bored, obtain parts of it and cease to connect the facts or apply critical thinking from one subject upon another. Sizer identifies the American high school students as “often docile, compliant, and without initiative.” A lack of critical thinking is a result of the standardized curriculum, this in turn creates for another problem: a passive mind.

The American school system as Sizer identifies “value strictly orderly thinking.” The systematic structure of education, from a day-to-day basis to the end goal, has become a process of getting from point A to point B without being over-challenged. Standardized curriculums result in the teachers focusing on the student getting the correct answer, rather than the reasoning of how the student arrived to that answer in order to move onto the next problem within the appropriate time. Sizer states “ schools that always insist on the right answer, with no concern as to how a student reaches it, smother the student’s efforts to becomes an effective intuitive thinker. “ Sizer identifies that teachers need to encourage and implement critical thinking into the curriculum to change passive minds, in order to reform the system. To encourage critical thinking is hardly an unreasonable goal. Toch agrees with Sizer as his main goal for schools “to be about teaching students mental skills, like independent and creative thinking. Students’ curiosity should drive the curriculum.

In-depth projects should replace standardized testing. And single-subject teaching ought to be abandoned in favor of interdisciplinary study.” The way Sizer conveys this issue in Horace’s Compromise is evidently a main critique and solution to reform the educational system. It is important to analyze the ideas of Sizer’s reform and compare it with the main goals of the American educational system. The general primary goals for the educational system are to create productive, knowledgeable, and decent citizens. To investigate the primary goals, Sizer questions “how are values taught? Teaching virtues like tolerance and generosity is neither easier nor more difficult than teach any subtle art, such as literary grace, or musical style.” Sizer speaks of tolerance and attitudes, which dictate values, and insists that it is crucial to explain why the schools hold certain values.

In each school a different level of tolerance is evident, but with all schools Sizer sees that in exchange for credits, the students agree to behave within the schools conduct, this in turn creates for a passive student who are not “hungry” for learning. The students have an agreement with the school, they act accordingly and attend class in return the teachers reward them with a credit, with the end goal: the high school diploma, along the way learning how to be a proper citizen. Everything from the agreed upon code of conduct to the 52 minute time blocks become an anesthetic for developing critical minds. Sizer discovers that the emphasis of learning depends on the teaching methods. The process needs to shift from content to context. The teaching methods are ultimately the only factor that will influence reforming the system and that standardization is limiting and repressing the teachers and students.

The theme of rushing disorganized facts of information upon the students the teachers need to take a step back and slow down and focus on the idea of “less is more.” Sizer poses a reasonable critique of the American educational system and acknowledges the industrialized style of educating needs to be reformed. Sizer is difficult to critique because even as this book was written 28 years ago, the same underlying dilemma remains within the system today. What Sizer missed to contribute in Horace’s Compromise was that teachers need to be able to adapt to the changing curriculum while simultaneously, adapting to the adolescents as well. Horace’s Compromise while ending on a positive and encouraging note continues to be an influential book in educational criticism. Acknowledging Dustin A. Peter’s review on Horace’s Compromise, “I hope that more practitioners get involved in the world beyond their school, as Sizer recommends.” Sizer’ research to the educational system has been influential and inspiring to academics. It is possible Sizer’ research holds an infinite impact of possibilities in effort to better construct and reform the educational system, to benefit teachers, in turn students receiving better education.

Bibliography

Dustin, Peters, A. “Horace’s Compromise (Book).” Educational Leadership 42, no. 8 (May 1985): 82. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed November 2, 2012) Retrieved from May 1, 1985, http://smuport.smu.ca/tag.7995f7026fc2b3d9.render.userLayoutRootNode.uP?uP_root=root&uP_sparam=activeTab&activeTab=u5798l1s209&uP_tparam=frm&frm=frame (accessed November 2, 2012).

Fox, Margalit. Theodore R. Sizer, Leading Education-Reform Advocate, Dies at 77 (New York, New York: The New York Times, 2009 ). Retrieved from (Fox 2009 )http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/23/education/23sizer.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 Sizer, Theordor. R. Horace’s Compromise: The Delemma of the American High School Boston, Massachusettes: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984. Stecklow, Steven. Critical Thought: Acclaimed Reforms Of U.S. Education Are Popular but Unproved — Ted Sizer’s Methods Stress Reasoning Over Rote; Gains Aren’t Measurable — Ambiguity and Faculty Spats (New York, New York: The Wall Street Journal, 1994). Retrieved from http://library.smu.ca:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.library.smu.ca:2048/docview/398466284?accountid=13908 Thomas, Toch. “Schools that Work.” U.S.News & World Report, Oct 07,1996. 58-64. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/274847247?accountid=13908.

——————————————–
[ 1 ]. Theordor. R Sizer, Horace’s Compromise: The Delemma of the American High School (Boston, Massachusettes: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984). 18 [ 2 ]. Theordor. R Sizer, Horace’s Compromise: The Delemma of the American High School (Boston, Massachusettes: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984). [ 3 ].
Steve Stecklow, Critical Thought: Acclaimed Reforms Of U.S. Education Are Popular but Unproved — Ted Sizer’s Methods Stress Reasoning Over Rote; Gains Aren’t Measurable — Ambiguity and Faculty Spats (New York, New York: The Wall Street Journal, 1994). [ 4 ]. Theordor. R Sizer, Horace’s Compromise: The Delemma of the American High School (Boston, Massachusettes: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984). 53-55 [ 5 ]. Theordor. R Sizer, Horace’s Compromise: The Delemma of the American High School (Boston, Massachusettes: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984). 107 [ 6 ]. Theordor. R Sizer, Horace’s Compromise: The Delemma of the American High School (Boston, Massachusettes: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984). 18 [ 7 ]. Toch, Thomas, and Missy Daniel. “Schools that work.” U.S. News & World Report 121, no. 14 (October 7, 1996): 58. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed November 2, 2012). [ 8 ]. Theordor. R Sizer, Horace’s Compromise: The Delemma of the American High School (Boston, Massachusettes: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984). 134 [ 9 ]. Theordor. R Sizer, Horace’s Compromise: The Delemma of the American High School (Boston, Massachusettes: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984). 54 [ 10 ]. Theordor. R Sizer, Horace’s Compromise: The Delemma of the American High School (Boston, Massachusettes: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984). 59 [ 11 ]. Peters A. Dustin, “HORACE’S Compromise: The Dilemma of the American High School (Book),” Horace’s Compromise (Book)., May 1, 1985, http://smuport.smu.ca/tag.7995f7026fc2b3d9.render.userLayoutRootNode.uP?uP_root=root&uP_sparam=activeTab&activeTab=u5798l1s209&uP_tparam=frm&frm=frame (accessed November 2, 2012).

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

The theory of “teaching to the test”

Standardized testing is one of the controversial subjects in any school, college, or household. They were created to determine a student’s intelligence, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. Do these standardized test scores truly asses and inform of us of the performance of a student? One argument of standardized tests is that they are fair and measure the ability of students, and they also make...

Racism - social issues

Racism is something we have all witnessed and perhaps experienced. In “The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas,” Reginald McKnight creates a storyline where the main character, Clint, is living in a predominately white culture and experiences discrimination among many of his white peers. They question him on his characteristics, such as his hair and why/how he combs it. As a result, Clint feels...

Honors classes in high school

High school is one of the most important parts of an average teen’s academic and social life in the United States. It is where many people find themselves, including discovering what they want, what they're good at, and sometimes even who they are and who they think they’re destined to be. High school can be considered a great experience, however, our high school years are...

List of School Policies

This assignment deals with displays in the school. It will first describe the school’s policy for displays 1.1 Describe the school policy for displays In my work placement the guidelines and procedures for putting together displays were given verbally since there isn\'t any written policy about the school displays. In verbal discussion it was explained that displays in school are the first impressions to parents, visitors, children...

Experience Changed My Life Forever

There are number of people who has prominently exchanged my life. I thank to my sister who rescued me from being an only child to siblinghood. My 4th grade teacher also had a huge impact on me because he motivated me to have a great passion for studying and working hard. But I must say, my mother has had the most significant influence on me...

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

We can't stand spam as much as you do No, thanks. I prefer suffering on my own.
logo

Emma Taylor

online

Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?