A nation should require all of its students to study the same national curriculum until they enter college.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.
Should a country require all of its students to take the same course of study until they enter university? What we must acknowledge is that there are some common qualities that citizens in a society must have. However, a truly good education should be one that is tailored to the individual.
To begin with, we must acknowledge that it is necessary in a number of instances for students across the country to study the same curriculum. First, there are certain courses, knowledge, and literacy that a country or nation should have. In this case, it is reasonable for the state to require all students to study them, because studying them is a prerequisite for becoming a good citizen in a given society. For example, we need to read and write and communicate, so we necessarily need to learn languages; we need to calculate, so we must learn mathematics; history, geography, physics, biology, etc. all provide the necessary skills for us to survive and live in community. Secondly, a unified curriculum has an important value in that it will significantly reduce the cost of running the education system, for example, the cost of compiling textbooks, the cost of training teachers, and the cost of university entrance assessments. Finally, having all students following the same curriculum guarantees an equitable distribution of educational resources, allowing students in developed and underdeveloped areas to learn the same knowledge.
However, despite the above-mentioned circumstances that make it desirable for students to study the same curriculum, it should not be the purpose of education for all students in the country to study the same curriculum, acquire the same competencies and have identical literacy skills. Education should not only help students develop the qualities that everyone needs, but it should also help them find their own interests and strengths, and provide them with options for college and careers, which means that what they learn is not limited to what they need to know to be good citizens. We learn to solve sets of equations, chemical bonds, listen to classical music, and read ancient texts, none of which are developing skills that everyone must have, but through these processes, some discover that they want to be mathematicians, others realize that they can be literary, and so on. Elementary education that only develops basic skills is no longer sufficient to meet the demands of contemporary society. Secondly, education is aimed at students, who are a very diverse group with different talents, interests, needs, backgrounds and abilities. Those who are not interested in mathematics may only need introductory courses, but those who are gifted and interested naturally have a need for advanced courses, such as Advanced Placement (AP) courses in American high schools. Minorities may need to learn their own national language and culture in addition to the national common language curriculum, which is an important step in respecting ethnic diversity and preserving minority cultures. Again, the educator is the teacher. Even if they teach the same subject, due to their different backgrounds and strengths, teachers should have the flexibility to add personalized elements and teach what they do best to their students.
Finally, while it is recognized that everyone learning the same thing helps the education system to operate more efficiently and achieve a certain level of educational equity, standardized education reduces costs and ensures equity. However, the inevitable result of standardizing education to reduce costs and ensure equity is inferior equity, with all districts enjoying the same low quality education. This is because, in order to ensure that most people learn the same knowledge to the greatest extent possible, educational authorities have to promote only those materials, curricula and knowledge that are relatively easy to use. However, idealism is not a cure for equity. Different levels of economic development in different regions inevitably mean different teachers and different quality of students, and forced equity results in a serious waste of resources as both good teachers and students are forced to learn far less than they need to. For example, when public schooling no longer meets the needs of children from families who want to raise elite students, they will seek private and extracurricular education more often. And access to these resources is directly correlated to the wealth of the previous generation. So, the excessive pursuit of equity in education ultimately exacerbates social injustice.
In short, while it makes sense in some cases for students across the country to receive the same curriculum at the basic education level, an overzealous pursuit of equity would defeat the purpose of education and lead to even greater social injustice.