Education around the world has undergone transformative stages defined by technology, change in culture and even the level of financing from the government and other stakeholders. As such, educational system is an area of great concern to the society because besides determining the kind of individuals that the society gets, it influences the economic, political and social strata of that society. Thus, there is the need to continue evaluating the best way of financing and governing educational institutions and analyzing the value of the subjects taught in schools. Knowing the kind of challenges that the educational system is going to face well in advance, especially those resulting from teaching a diverse body of students will also enhance the ability of the stakeholders to deal with those challenges as they come. This paper discusses the best ways of financing and governing schools, analyses the value of liberal arts as a teaching subject and highlights the challenges faced in teaching a diversified setup of students in schools.
From the onset, I do understand that financing and governing educational institutions in America is one of the most controversial topics in the public, especially with the fact that different states have varying education policies even though they are supposed to generate citizens that can work in any state in the country. Furthermore, financing education becomes even more complicated where some states attach to it a fundamental constitutional right, which means that federal government of the United States must set aside a budgetary allocation for financing educational schools in that state. On the other hand, some states do not attach the federal constitutional right to education and thus making it voluntary for the government to be directly involved in financing and governing educational institutions (Adams & Ginsberg, 2010).
However, financing and governing schools in America must be founded on the principles of accountability, careful choice of curriculum, the economic and social impacts on the school budgets, local fundraising and the conditions of the existing infrastructure in a particular school. As such, the best way of financing and governing schools in America must encompass the above factors and consider that education to the society is a multifaceted area that has numerous concerned stakeholders. That means that financing and governing schools under the watchful eye of parents and governments who have equal interests in the learning process of children in the country is arguably the best approach.
I agree with Adams & Ginsberg (2010) who observe that sharing responsibilities between stakeholders in schools ensures that students get a non-ideological education which prepares them to work in any state of the country. This is further elaborated by Go & Lindert (2007) who note that students of those schools that are fully sponsored by parents only tend to get the notion that the government has no role to play in their growth and thus develop a contemptuous view of the government. Similarly, the government financed schools, if not well monitored, can easily degenerate into swindle institutions where government funds are mismanaged. From the above, it is my opinion that every stakeholder, including parents, government and sponsoring institutions should take an active role in financing and governing schools to ensure that students get balanced education.
Hochschild (2003) rightfully noted that modern education emphases more on amassing knowledge to become Silicon Valley inventors and make millions. As such, students are taught how to make business ideas but do not develop critical thinking. This is why I agree with Hochschild (2003) who noted that liberal arts education was important in several ways and that it must continue to receive much focus in secondary and post-secondary education. Its value must not be taken away by booming buzzwords of distance learning and on-line education which unfortunately gives preference to sciences and technical subjects over liberal arts. In the end, students who leave such institutions cannot effectively fit in the political, social and economic transformations across the country because they are trained to make millions of money and live in high-end neighborhoods.
The value of liberal arts education in secondary and post-secondary education is founded on the ability of producing students that are all-round and ready to face any environment. For instance, students with liberal arts education are not so much concerned with topical relevance or vocational utility; instead, they base their education on free inquiry that ensures independent decision-making and achievement of civilization. Through independent inquiry liberal arts education gives the students an opportunity to understand the natural and human worlds in which they live. Similarly, this kind of education makes students be reflective on personal beliefs and choices, in the process, making them to be self-conscious and critical in their assumptions and motivations. Furthermore, Go & Lindert (2007) observe that liberal arts education exposes students to creativity and skills on how to solve life problems.
Moreover, liberal arts education is a lifelong preparation through subjects, skills and habits that secondary and post-secondary students acquire in the process of learning. It is also true that liberal arts education shapes the kind of lives that students are likely to lead after school. Hochschild (2003) rightfully observes that liberal arts students have gone ahead to become academics, physicians, lawyers and businesspeople. Through globalization, students of liberal arts have travelled all over the world to offer their services in medicine, law, military and technical areas and in the process contribute in the decisions that affect the lives of others. Liberal arts students are big contributors in the forces of change technologically, socially, economically and culturally. Through informed and thoughtful approach, students of liberal arts can assess pragmatic claims, understand cultural expressions and tackle ethical dilemmas they are likely to encounter personally or professionally.
Additionally, I agree with Murphy (2000) who observes that the world has become a global village, especially with technological advancement in communication and travel. This means that level of interaction among people of different cultures has gone up. In the backdrop of these advancements there is an increase in multicultural classrooms where students from different continents and cultures sit together to learn. As such, coming up with an all-encompassing curriculum can be challenging. As a teacher in such environment, I will adjust my curricula to have various aspects of factual and universal topics such as technology, human rights and gender equality. Similarly, I will consider teaching certain philosophy and psychology topics since facts in these areas tend to be independent of the cultural approaches.
There are a number of challenges that the educators will likely experience in a diversified student body. First, knowing that language is an important tool in communication, I understand that even though the world has achieved immensely in the area of universal languages, there is still a difference in the language comprehension of students from different cultures. Therefore, communicating effectively will be a challenge since students are likely to interpret differently even the gestures that are used while teaching. The solution to this challenge is to emphasize on the use of a common language that is popular with students and to encourage students to take up extra lessons of that language before joining the classes.
Another challenge that will most likely arise is the difficulty in understanding the culture of students to avoid offending them while teaching. Some cultures consider certain words, expressions or gestures as offensive while it is ok to use them in other cultures. The solution to this challenge is taking keen interest in different cultures of those students in my class to understand their likes and dislikes. Similarly, as the educator I will spare some minutes to discuss cultural practices of different people and give out assignments based on the findings of those discussions.
Additionally, it will be challenging to make a choice on the subjects and content of teaching the students in such a setup. This is because students from different cultures have varied expectations and therefore it can be difficult to satisfy expectations of every student. As such, the educator is left guessing on what students expect from him or her. As an educator, I can solve this problem by ensuring that subjects and content of the teaching materials reflect the universal truth and avoid controversial subjects such as politics and religion.
In conclusion, my philosophy of education holds that modern education needs to reflect universal subjects such as technology and human rights. This is because of the multicultural setup that educators are finding themselves in. Moreover, financing and governing of schools must be under all stakeholders to avoid an imposition of ideologies of one group. Educators, on the other hand, need to address challenges that arise in multicultural educational setup to encourage critical thinking among their students.