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Mateo Quiroga

Ms. Thompson
AP Lang, Skinny A, Block 2
September 7th 2014
IJWBA Paper Draft #1

James Baldwin discusses his views on the educational system in his A Talk to
Teachers, expressing his comparison of how the education system has a
fundamental approach of how students ought to be educated and the reality of how
its been done. The notions held by Baldwin on education are seen evident through
the reflection of Mike Roses experience through high school.
James Baldwin analyzes the fundamental idea of education in that it is set to
craft a progressive citizen capable of making decision for himself. A citizen that is
able to undergo through series of informational data sets to then be able to say to
himself this is black or white. This type of citizen is one that evolves to becoming a
world leader; a revolunizer of political, scientific, or sociological thought. Society has
progressed throughout the centuries through the individuals the power to question
the presence of a God, ask why the apple has fallen from the tree, or to simply
understand those around him. In Mike Roses reflection, he supports the idea that
the education system does in fact hold a fundamental expectation, even though is
not upheld nor encouraged. Students throughout are told to develop hypotheses
and troubleshoot [a problem]. However, this expectation is simply that, an
unfulfilled expectation; the reality is completely different. The fundamental
expectation would cater to a progressive society, in which citizens are interested in

advancing further and breaking the norms set by precedent discoveries. This
approach is one that does allow room for fear of change and fear of the unknown.
Reality is far more different than the expectations. Society is flawed and
selfish, unwilling to let go of the comforts and norms. The collapse of society would
be imminent if every single citizen were taught to ponder on the creation of the
Universe, or the presence of a so called God. There would be no one to cater the
demands of the true born leaders, who rose before others despite the same
background. Baldwins notes the reality in which society functions, noting that we
are in no rush to hold a population filled with high thinking individuals;
understanding the anxiety it would give us if we didnt have people to simply obey
the rules. Mike Rose was a victim of the selfish acts of society in that he crafted to
become a somnambulant problem solver. This type of problem solver isnt one
that contributes to society, but one that simply caters to its demands. They are
instructed to simply follow the crowd, but are screened throughout to determine the
level in which they are able to obey the rules of the game. Students are placed
through series of tests for placement to understand their standardized skills. Our
society and educational system lacks the great efforts of understanding the
individual based on their individual skills or thoughts, but are instead judged by how
well the student next to him is. The lack of individualization in the system retards
the progress and spurt of ingenuity that would create an ideal society.