Karina, Student, CA
"The most important parts of school are learning how to collaborate, interact with other people, use other people as resources, and learn how to be a part of the world."
Imagine your child (or one you care about deeply) is now in their 30s--out of school and starting into adult life. What do you want for them about their life? What would make it a 'good' life?
Balance is the number one component of a good life and happiness. Life isn't about goals or professional accomplishments but rather about peace, certainty, and happiness. I hope for my future kids that they make it through adult life feeling personally and emotionally fulfilled. For me, personal and emotional fulfillment is about giving everything you could to relationships, to feeling close to others, and ensuring to the best of you abilities that you feel secure, stable and, most importantly, loved.
Do you think everyone agrees with you about what a good life is?
I think most people would agree that a good life includes all of the things I mentioned. However, I think many others would have also included more concrete things such as jobs, professional success, leisure in living, money, etc. All these concrete things contribute to feeling secure so I don't want to take away the importance of these for others but for me, as far as long term goals go, peace and happiness in your mind are more important than jobs or money. But this is because, for me, from the place of privilege that I have--I have the ability to place little value on jobs and money and place all of my concentration on trying to build strong relationships and a healthy way of life.
What role do you think schooling should play in achieving that ideal good life?
I think schooling should definitely have a role. Schools are a way to give children tools that they can use (or choose not to use) in their life. The important thing is that they have a host of tools and know how to use them. We need a baseline of education to function in society but I don't think people should see schooling or a certain level of schooling as an obligation--there is value in experiencing education not just perceiving education as an 'achievement' as defined by the school system. The most important part of school is learning how to collaborate, interact with other people, use other people as resources, and learn how to be a part of the world."
Do you think schools are currently playing a positive role/doing what they should (for you/your child and everyone)?
I find it really hard to generalize all schools. My high school was much more academically driven than most but also focused an enormous amount on collaboration. I think schools need to be more balanced. They take up so much of a kids life. If school is just a place to be competitive, it becomes very unhealthy and has long term consequences for that child and society. Kids break down under pressure when schools don't see themselves as second homes for their students.