'FNED 346- Schooling in a Democratic Society.....' We claim that our society is truly democratic. A nation created upon the basis of equality, freedom, and justice for all. A government established "by the people for the people." If this is what we claim to be true, then why are we educating students like robots to complete against each other, some already with an advantage since they are accustomed to Lisa Delpit's "rules and codes of power," for the coveted spot in society that will allow them to claim prosperity without the fervor to make a difference in the world? Ira Shor argues that the concept of 'schooling' in our nation can be defined as a "vast undertaking and mass experience in society, involving tens of millions of people, huge outlays of money, and diverse forces contending over curriculum and funding [which] converges schools, programs, and colleges [to have] each generation socialized into the life of the nation." Where is the freedom within this context? or the equality?
Shor continues his argument by urging America's teachers to inspire their students to question their schooling, a term that some students are familiar with as analysis or critical thinking. Unfortunately, the concept of analysis and/or critical thinking has become restricted, in some cases even eliminated from school districts, due to a "deficiency in school's curriculum" where the students are faced with the "task of memorizing rules and existing knowledge, without questioning the subject matter or learning process." Shor quotes Freire, who contributes this problem to an "education[al] [system] that tries to be neutral [to] support the dominant ideology in society"..... a direct connection with Leslie Grinner's SWAAMP. We shouldn't be following curriculums that limit interaction in the classroom as a "one-way transmission of rules and knowledge between teachers and students" as Shor states. Students should be allowed to collaborate with each other and foster learning through one and other, whether it be by discussion, debate, technology use, critical analysis essays, or more. When limit the learning experience of students based on traditional curriculum, textbooks, themes, tests, seat arrangements, grading systems, standardized tests, portfolio projects, rules and codes for speaking, choices on the cafeteria menu, what districts get federal funding based on efficiency and those who don't, what technology is accessible and acceptable in the classroom, all impact a students ability to foster creativity and learn to be critical thinkers. Shor states that in order to establish democratic schooling in our society we must "orient subject matter to student culture-their interests, needs, speech, and perceptions-while creating a negotiable openness in class where the students' input jointly creates the learning process."