Rachel, College Student, CA
“I would love the purpose of school to be about engagement in society - being active participants in democracy, and having a voice. Right now its more focused on monetary outcomes and financial status.”
Imagine a child you care about deeply is now in their 30s – out of school and starting into adult life. What do you hope for them about their life? What would make it a ‘good’ life?
I hope for them to be happy, healthy, and comfortable. Even though social class doesn't matter, I don't want them to have to worry about finances. I want them to have personal pride and a job that they don't feel they have to explain to others.
Ultimately, I want them confident in anything they choose to do and how they're living their life. I hope for them to live a good life filled with meaning for themselves, their communities, and respect for the way that others perceive them.
What role do you think schooling should play in achieving that ideal good life?
I think schools serve as a sort of springboard for "real life." Schooling is how we verify our worth and desires to society. It's a way of saying: "These are my accomplishments. Here are my external and internal check markers. I've learned to understand my interests and I know how I want to direct my curiosity."
The way schools group kids together is another positive thing - it's a place where we are surrounded by peers and we learn to establish relationships and make connections.
Do you think schools are currently playing that role/doing what they should?
No, not for everyone. They have some of the outcomes that schools should have, concerning being a springboard to next steps in your life. But sometimes that springboard is already predestined and equal opportunity isn’t there.
I would love for the purpose of school to be about engagement in society - being active participants in democracy, and having a voice. Right now its more focused on monetary outcomes and financial status. I went to school in a really intense environment where all academics were focused around getting into college. I would’ve preferred to have had more time for reflection and thinking about interests.
Do you think everyone agrees with you about what a good life is and what the role of school is?
No, I don’t think everyone agrees with my vision because I’m speaking from a place of privilege.
I can look at schooling purely from an academic or interest perspective because I have a financial fallback. I don’t have to worry. If I want, I can explore my passions for…I don’t know, tree bark! And if I fail its okay. I have a fallback. Other people don’t.