Technology is getting more and more sophisticated at tasks which previously required human work. What technology can’t replace is innovation, spirit and the subtleties of human creativity. Despite this overwhelming truth, we pursue more efficient ways of funneling students through a uniform pipeline. By teaching all students the same way, we fail to foster the diversity which is so crucial to society’s success. In the new world of Common Core educational priorities, have we forgotten the importance of being different?
The education of young people is crucial to the future success of any society. In an age where even the world’s intellectual climate is becoming more global, determining the best method to teach a wide variety of students is an increasingly complex problem. The question arises: Which method is best? Should courses of study reflect the different types of students in our nation, or should they serve as unifying force for those same students? While constructing a uniform education is generally simpler, it is also important that young people are able to learn at their own pace. They also need to learn in ways which are optimal for their individualized learning styles.
To better understand why this is necessary, consider the alternative. One might initially think that the Common Core approach ensures students will be better prepared to interact with their peers — after all, effective dialogue and debate are necessary for intellectual growth. But an important detail is not taken into consideration here. These students are not fully adults. Their brains are still highly impressionable and rates of growth are unique. A common study does not allow students to move at their own pace, which overlooks the late bloomers, stifles the gifted and fails to engage people who learn in unconventional ways. Essentially: students learn at different paces and a curriculum that only moves at one speed is as unfair as it is ineffective.
While it is vital to ensure our youth receive the best education possible, the resulting uniformity from a national curriculum is actually harmful to this goal. Nations should not require their young people to follow a common curriculum. They should instead create standards of excellence which must be met by criteria individual to each student.
Let young people make connections through whatever process is most intuitive to them. Let them develop deeper thinking skills at their own pace. Take pride in differences, allow them to flourish and encourage goals of every kind. It’s harder than handing out uniform guidelines for education, but it’s still easier than letting the next generation forget how to exist in individuality.