The Instigator
Alphanumeric
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Surefoot
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

The Public Education System in America Discourages Free-thought and Individualism

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Surefoot
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/23/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,901 times Debate No: 36970
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)

 

Alphanumeric

Pro

I would like to begin this debate by stating what the connotations of my topic are:

A large majority of the so-called educators are nothing more than mere pawns in a corpulent system of mediocrity, and believe that they are actually making a positive difference in the world (whilst remaining ignorant to the fact that their actions are contibuting to a mass dumbing-down of our nation's children).

Thank you
Surefoot

Con

I accept the challenge of this debate and take a firm stance in opposing the opinion of my opponent by stating first that though children are taught the same generalized curriculum each still has the ability for free thought.
Debate Round No. 1
Alphanumeric

Pro

Thank you Con, for accepting my challenge.

Con stated "though children are taught the same generalized curriculum each still has the ability for free thought." I had never made the claim that public schools make it impossible for students to possess the ability of free-thought. However, I DID state that the school system DISCOURAGES free-thought and individualism.

Now, I shall impart a few reasons that support my claims:

* When faced with budget cuts, the first classes that schools decide to reduce funding to are Art and Music classes.

* The more intellectually inclined students are scolded for conducting thought experiments (daydreaming) during class to compensate for the lack of education that they receive from the so-called teachers.

* From a young age, students are exposed to one-sided government propaganda (drug-free campaigns) that tell them exactly how to respond in "peer-pressure" situations instead of encouraging them to weigh out the pros and cons and come to their own conclusions.

* Students are taught to blindly recite the pledge of allegiance (a form of indoctrination).

Now that I've listed some of the reasons that I believe individualism/creativity/free-thought are dicouraged in a public school setting I would like to end my argument.
Surefoot

Con

Pro made an excellent argument in stating four main claims that they used to back their opinion. It falls upon me as Con to refute these claims.

Firstly, "When faced with budget cuts, the first classes that schools decide to reduce funding to are Art and Music classes."

I simply cannot agree with this opinion. As a student in the mentioned school system myself, I have never seen this occur. I am aware that not only is it a stereotype but the expected response based on America's placement of values more on sport than the arts, however I would like to point out that my school personally, when faced with sequestration as a federally funded school, cut first the sports teams. All the schools that I have ever attended (and there are nine) have first cut their sports teams and then their arts programs. As time progresses, arts and computer sciences have started to prioritize over other areas which could be cut. The argument that art and music are for the more creative is not a sound one, as this student is quite artistically challenged and yet linguistically creative.

To follow, "The more intellectually inclined students are scolded for conducting thought experiments (daydreaming) during class to compensate for the lack of education that they receive from the so-called teachers."

Daydreaming is not an experiment. We call this boredom. However, the most intellectually inclined students are the ones who know to go above and beyond in their work, because their normal teacher cannot teach to the top of the class and leave the less advanced struggling desperately for education. Therefore the intellectually inclined have more time and more space for free-thought because they can finish their work more quickly and to a higher level in which they can input their personal thoughts.

Thirdly, "From a young age, students are exposed to one-sided government propaganda (drug-free campaigns) that tell them exactly how to respond in "peer-pressure" situations instead of encouraging them to weigh out the pros and cons and come to their own conclusions."

This is a concept brought about by a massive rise in bullying in schools. With no defense mechanism taught and a soap-opera history of the horrors of bullying, it is actually an excellent asset to a student to be advised as how to respond to such an issue. Many students choose to ignore this advice anyway, but some will follow it and some will implement it in many ways. In a home where nothing is taught in terms of how to respond to such a situation, guidance is needed. And it isn't as if students are forced to respond in certain ways; we still have our thoughts and free agency and many choose to do whatever they want with their lives, completely disregarding what they have been taught and what they have learned.

Lastly, "Students are taught to blindly recite the pledge of allegiance (a form of indoctrination)."

A very dangerous card to play in any debate, but I will force myself to keep my calm. At my school it is required that you at least stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. I attend a school of military children. Our parents go out and fight for that flag to which most of us duly pledge our allegiance. There is no one forcing a student (legally) to recite said pledge. It is not a form of indoctrination, but patriotism. It is giving students something more to stand for, and helping them to realize what great legacy they come from.

I would like to restate my argument that though schools are distinctly structured, they do not discourage free thought and individualism. They train young people to be good citizens and contributing members of society. I do not feel as if my free thought is inhibited by education. My thoughts are entirely my own. They may be influenced by outside factors, but in the end I choose how I think. I choose how I am. I choose who I am, and I choose who I will be. It doesn't matter where someone comes from or what they are taught. After all, even through Hitler's harsh times of power in Germany there were still many who held strong to their individual thoughts and faith. American education has nowhere near the limiting power of the Nazi regime and therefore it can only limit your thoughts and individualism as much as you so allow it.

Having answered each of Pro's points and completed my own argument, I respectfully end this response and await a reply from my opponent.
Debate Round No. 2
Alphanumeric

Pro

Thank you for responding,

In the first paragraph of your initial refute, you wrote:

"I simply cannot agree with this opinion. As a student in the mentioned school system myself, I have never seen this occur".

That is entirely exclusive to you and your own experiences, and the implications of my initial argument were not based off of your school alone. I can tell you, that in my school (and in others as well, research it), while football remains, music appreciation does not. It is very

The following will be my most extensive refute, and it regards daydreaming. Before I go further, let me note that I was referring exclusively to the daydreaming of young intellectuals (which can be inferred upon reading my initial refute), not that of the intellectually inferior.

You claimed that "Daydreaming is not an experiment", and I will have to say that I strongly disagree. From [http://plato.stanford.edu...], I have obtained and will present to you the following definition of a though experiment:

"Thought experiments are devices of the imagination used to investigate the nature of things."

As you can hopefully apprehend, a daydream can be an experiment, which eradicates the foundation of your bold claim that "Daydreaming is not an experiment".

The sentence "Therefore the intellectually inclined have more time and more space for free-thought because they can finish their work more quickly and to a higher level in which they can input their personal thoughts." is a situational refute that only works when your mentioned circumstances are in play. What if the teacher is giving a lecture on something that an advanced learner is already well versed in? Should he have to open his eyes and be forced to withstand the nefarious notion that is repetitiveness? I feel that it is rather tyrannical for a teacher to dictate a well-tempered student's attentiveness.

It is quite apparent that your refute of my point about the drug free campaign is entirely based on your belief that bullies encourage people to do drugs. I hold the belief that kids claim to being bullied into trying drugs as a result of them being caught and fabricating excuses. It is not justifiable at all, because in my health class the teacher claimed that a marijuana overdose was highly probable rather than simply stating that marijuana smoking isn't the healthiest choice; she constructed an argument based entirely on falsehoods. Can you honestly say that such things have never been propagated in your school?

Regarding the pledge of allegiance, you stated that it encourages patriotism. Patriotism is a subjective thing, students that wish not to be patriotic should not have to be patriotic. School is supposed to be about education, and what does standing during the pledge have to do with that? I feel that there is no fit justification for forcing students to stand. Patriotism is a belief, and the encouragement of it is an attempt to influence ones beliefs, which is propaganda.

I would like to conclude my argument by noting that you always refer to yourself when refuting my arguments. For instance, you added that your thoughts remain entirely your own. While you may have the ability to preserve your own thoughts, other students may not. Therefore, such a point holds no weight.

I Would like to thank you for entertaining my debate and look forward to your next response.
Surefoot

Con

Surefoot forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Alphanumeric

Pro

Alphanumeric forfeited this round.
Surefoot

Con

Surefoot forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by anonymouse 3 years ago
anonymouse
and you think the private school system in america is any better? best way to get brain washed is going to andover. hey, and if youre a yale, or a harvard grad, then youre almost guaranteed to be a total slave. both the private and public school system is used to brain wash you into conforming to their ways.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 3 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
PAGE TWO

Then he says that students are exposed to propaganda for drug free campaigns and how to respond in peer pressure situations. Again, no development and no evidence to back it up, and how exactly freedom from drugs is "one-sided" is a mystery. He again criticizes Con for relying on solely on her own beliefs and experiences, and then does exactly the same thing himself. More hypocrisy and subjective/circumstantial remarks.

Lastly, he says that students are taught to blindly recite the pledge of allegiance. Again, he provides no evidence for this and does not explain how this is indoctrination. I can see how teaching someone purely the good side of America is indoctrination, but the pledge of allegiance is just a symbolic form of patriotism, as Con said. It can be discussed and debated in class in addition to the recitation of it. Merely saying it does not discourage free thought.

I completely disagree with Con"s closing remark that schools train people to be contributing members of society. Moral education does that, which is absent from most schools, but she did a decent job of refuting Pro"s arguments, even with the forfeit. The burden of proof was on him, and he failed to support it.

Pro could have easily won this debate if he had made it about the impractical subject matter taught in schools and the impractical manner in which it is taught. He could have also focused on the absence of programs for students with disabilities. Instead, his beef was with the pledge of allegiance, drug-free programs, and prevention of day-dreaming. Focusing on minor non-issues was a poor choice and I hoped he learned from it.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 3 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
PAGE ONE

I have long believed that the schooling system in general, public or private, is counter-productive to students" critical thinking skills, ethical life, and success, mainly because of the course material that is selected and the way it is taught, but saying that it discourages individualism and free thought is a little too specific. It certainly does not encourage it, but I wouldn"t say it discourages it.

Pro offered weak comments (not really arguments) to attempt to defend his resolution:

First he says that when faced with budget cuts, the first programs to get cut are art and music classes. This was completely undeveloped. First off, he provided no evidence for it, and he did not explain how art and music encourage free thought and individualism. I agree they do, but he needs to explain why and how. When he countered Con"s remarks, he criticizes her for relying on her own experience of those classes not being cut, and says that his arguments were not based on her school alone. Then he goes on to say that cutting music and art is what occurs in his school! If this isn"t an example of the pot calling the kettle black, I don"t know what is. And then he doesn"t even finish his point. It stops mid-sentence. "It is very"" This is just embarrassing. Also embarrassing is that he actually tells his opponent to research the point that he himself is making! That"s his job, not his opponent"s. I took off conduct for this.

Next he says that students are scolded for daydreaming. Again, he gives no evidence, but also, why does he assume that whenever students are daydreaming, it is about something relating to education? How does he not know that they are not daydreaming about videogames? His argument is too circumstantial.
Posted by Alphanumeric 3 years ago
Alphanumeric
It is a bad thing
Posted by Alphanumeric 3 years ago
Alphanumeric
No, I am simply stating that the Education system discourages free-thought.
Posted by CSayers 3 years ago
CSayers
I am slightly confused, are you arguing that it is a good thing that The Public Education System in America Discourages Free-thought and Individualism or are you saying it is a bad thing
Posted by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
I don't see how anyone could argue this.
Posted by csw 3 years ago
csw
I agree 110% with the Instigator.
Posted by DavidMGold 3 years ago
DavidMGold
This is a debate worth watching and I could only take up this challenge in the affirmative.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by CriticalThinkingMachine 3 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
AlphanumericSurefootTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments