The ability of an individual to participate actively in the building of a nation depends on the quality of education that one receives from school. The inability of graduates to meet the expectations of the corporate world brings about a public concern about the credibility of their education.
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Harvard President Derek Bok’s report about the take of the many employers on the performance of graduates in the corporate world as far as liberal arts education is concerned attracted Mike Schmoker’s attention.
In the article, Reading, Writing and Thinking for All, Schmoker focuses on the education system with much emphasis on the quality of education that students ought to receive in the course of their learning. He analyzes the factors that lead to good performance in reference to two schools in Arizona. Additionally, he also looks into the causes of poor performance giving an example as well.
Schmoker highlights some of the key aspects that constitute quality education as far as liberal arts education is concerned. He asserts that by the time a student completes his/her education, he/she should be able to think clearly and compose comprehensible piece of work.
One should have understood the ethics that are required of him/her. Finally, the graduate should be able to link the several elements of her career to his/he contribution in economic development of the nation at large. He also looks into the tool that is essential in achieving the three aspects in schools.
A curriculum, according to Schmoker, plays a fundamental role in modeling students to responsible and knowledgeable adults. He gives an account of the performance of schools in Arizona. Tempe Preparatory Academy and View Park Academy owe their success to a well-developed curriculum. It is important to mention that the two schools do not enroll their students depending on their performance in their previous grade.
They also belong to different social classes as well as races. Schmoker portrays the schools as having a curriculum that promotes the development of judgment and confidence among their students. The students read and analyze high quality texts. He also adds that the curriculum enables the student to study different texts at different academic levels enabling a gradual but successful development of the desired skills.
He also brings in the effect of lack of a curriculum in a school. As far as the adoption of a curriculum is concerned, he also highlights the main aspects that prevent certain poor performing schools from having a curriculum in place.
Schmoker’s article is a rich text as far as the quality of education in liberal arts is concerned-he has employed a good approach in addressing the matter at hand. He gives the significance of a curriculum by drawing examples from good performing schools and poorly performing ones as well. He wisely chose the examples to incorporate certain aspects such as social class, race as well as students with special needs.
This enables to present a strong argument about the need of a curriculum in any school. Additionally, he applies an extensive approach since he develops his piece of work both within and without the classroom setting. Within the classroom, he emphasizes on in-class reading and discussions based on well-refined questions.
He looks into the role of administrators and parents too since they are important parties in any education system. For instance, he calls for administrators to carry out curriculum audits (65).
Additionally, he highlights the issues that characterize a poor education system as far as the development of curriculum is concerned. He has also acknowledged the works of other writers in the field of education such as Richard Allington and Gerald Graff.
However, the article has some shortcomings. The main weakness of the article is that it does not give the specific people who should be involved in the development of a curriculum in an institution. It gives a generalized outlook on the significance of a curriculum. Additionally, it does not spell out the factors that a school should consider to ensure the development of a curriculum that suits its setting.
This is based on the fact that different school faces different challenges thus a universal curriculum might not work for all. The third weakness of this piece of work is that it does not give the other aspects that might lead to the release of incompetent graduates in the corporate market such as a negative attitude to education on the part of students.
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In conclusion, Schmoker’s article is a success as far as liberal asrts education is concerned. He has a broad perception of the matter at hand since he seeks to incorporate different parties. Additionally, he gives a lot of emphasis on the classroom setting which is the most important in any education system.
With the use of illustrations (schools), he gives the major components of a good curriculum as far as enhancing the performance of students is concerned. On the other hand, the article has some shortcomings.
For instance, it does not spell out the role of the different parties i.e teachers, parents and students in ensuring that a curriculum remains relevant and efficient. It is with no doubt that, the article is relevant in addressing Derek Bok’s concerns and provides strong evidence in supporting the role of a curriculum in education.
Schmoker, Mike. “Reading, Writing, and Thinking for All.” Educational Leadership 64.7 (2007): 63-66. Web.