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Critical Discussion - Essay Example

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Critical Discussion

In discussing the influence of educational pioneers from social and political points of view, Ornstein takes positions as a progressivist on one hand (New-tone) and a postmodernist (Ultra-New-Tone) on the other. The arguments are centered around the effects of education, reflected in the society and the above quote, is used to support Mr Ultra-New-Tone's radical position.
Michel Apple's statement may be understood to mean that, schools and other institutions of Education have a significant control over the social and economic systems, within which they operate. The justification for this is, schools are knowledge centers and their primary responsibility lies in the proper dissemination of knowledge. Most of child's life is spent in the school and what is taught here shapes their behaviors in the social system that they otherwise live in.
The phrase 'cultural capital', can be used to encompass various types of knowledge, skills, talent etc, the possession of which provides a certain status in the society ( It can be thought of as the tangible and intangible effects of culture on the Society.
In proposing that there are inequities in culture capi...
It can be thought of as the tangible and intangible effects of culture on the Society.
In proposing that there are inequities in culture capital, just as there is an 'unequal distribution of economic capital', Apple seems to imply that the current systems of education are the reasons why the inequalities exist and hence they need to change so that they can be overcome. Ornstein has used this implication in his argument supporting the radical view, that a revolutionary change in the system is required and that the focus be shifted from one of ranking and testing to one of freedom in learning.
The basis of the arguments by the radicals stems from the fundamental belief that: the conservative philosophy in Education is too objective to be democratic whereas the radicals subjective approach broadens the scope of 'standards' and lends itself to be an ideal equalizer. The postmodernists also hold that continuous and rapid change is necessary to adapt to the exponential growth, in information that the contemporary generation is forced to keep pace with.
According to Ornstein, what is implied by Michael Apple's rather dramatic statement that 'schools ... shape our lives and take control over us', is that 'in the technological societies' that we live in, it is imperative that, radical reforms are made with an immediate sense of urgency.
The Postmodernists versus the Educational Pioneers and Progressivism
The debate about whether radical reform is required, to narrow the perceived inequality in distribution of knowledge or if this can be better achieved by adhering to time-tested principles laid out by educational pioneers can be conducted on various planes:
(1) Effect that ...Show more


In his book titled "Pushing the Envelope: Critical Issues in Education", Allan Ornstein presents debates on various topics related to Psychology and education. One such presentation is on 'The Influence of Educational Pioneers'. The basis of arguments here are whether or not it is justified in continuing to follow the systems proposed by educational pioneers many decades ago or if it is time for a radical change in the field of Education.
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