Analysis of “We should cherish our children’s freedom to think” “We Should Cherish Our Children’s Freedom to Think” is written by Kie Ho and expresses his belief of the education in the US. Throughout the article he argues that the American school system “is not perfect, but it is a great deal better than any other” (Ho, 2007, p. 114). His arguments are reflected through his thoughts and experiences but are weakened by vague evidence. Ho (2007) states that since public school has provided children with opportunities and direction to fulfill their creativity, the US has developed into a country of innovation.
He strongly supports this claim with his own experience and idea. On a (2007)“excursion to the Laguna Beach Museum of Art, where the work of schoolchildren was on exhibit” (p. 113) Ho got the idea that supports his argument. (2007) When public schools give students opportunities to participate in creative activities, the general public assumes that this freedom to choose is universal. This is not true according to Ho’s different personal sources. (2007) A Polish refugee, a German friend and a Lebanese believe that the American education system is far behind their home countries.
Ho’s evidence for his first argument favors his reasoning, but is vague on documenting sources. This weakens his argument a lot and results in less persuasive evidence. He assumes that the idea of people who thinking freedom to choose is a norm without any supporting evidence and that the information from his friends is trustworthy knowledge. Furthermore, Ho (2007) makes a comparison between the imagination of his childhood in Indonesia and his son at school in the US. Ho explains that, (2007)“When I was 12 in Indonesia, where education followed the Dutch system, I had to memorize the names of all the world’s major cities” (p. 13).
While (2007) his son at the same age grew up in California had not much knowledge about world’s major cities but had a better imagination because he took creative geography at the age of 6. Both these examples are good strong arguments and support his belief that the American school system has given children a better imagination by introducing creative thinking in class. But then again his personal sources are weak evidence towards making a conclusion that (2007) imagination helps children to learn because it can help them to visualize what they are learning.
This idea is also drawn from his son’s life, but is not supported by any other evidence than what he believes. Additionally he feels like the education system took away an important factor in his learning; the ability to “experiment freely with ideas” (Ho, 2007, p. 113) and gain confidence. (2007) When looking at the quality of the school one does not include the factor of freedom but only how knowledgeable a student is. Consequently this takes him to the counter part of his story were his son was awarded for using his imagination in an essay at school.
The evidence strengthens Ho’s argument of that the school system gives a student freedom to choose and gain more confidence when awarded for trying new ways. When looking at the quality of his sources the argumentative appeal weakens a lot. He draws a conclusion from his own experience and assumes that “disgruntled American parents forget…[that] their children are able to experiment freely with ideas” (Ho, 2007, p. 113). If he would have had a supporting source to this claim, rather than only his own experience the argument would stand much stronger.
Ho’s next evidence is based on his statement where he admits (2007)“that American education does not meet high standards” (p. 113) but only because of how the system is now. If one would make American education meet high standards, students wouldn’t be able to function in the way they do now. This is the weakest point of Ho’s argumentative appeal. The argument in some sort misleading because he is later claiming that “Our public education certainly is not perfect, but it is a great deal better than any other” (Ho, 2007, p. 114).
When combining these two ideas he’s saying that (2007) a school system that does not meet high standards in basic courses is basically still a great deal better than any other because of the creativity and confidence it gives students. Ho wants to keep the school system how it is now and not put any more stress on the students with providing them with a higher quality education. Here again Ho doesn’t cite any of his sources. How can he know that providing students with a higher quality education will make them not function the way they do now.
It is no doubt that the American school system is bad, but there is no proof that making it better would “retard their impulses, [and] frustrate their opportunities for self-expression” (Ho, 2007, p. 113). Overall the argumentative appeal in this argument is weak because of the lack of sources and misleading evidence but leads you in some way towards his overall belief. Finally, Ho argues that (2007) critics of American education do not understand the real purpose of the education.
In all studies that are done on education the only measurement that has been left out is freedom. He explains that it’s omitted because people have never had freedom in education and therefor never seen the positive effects. To clarify this he applies this to that the importance of freedom in education “extends even to children the license to freely speak, write and be creative” (Ho, 2007, p. 114). Here Ho relates the first amendment into to right to freely speak or write. This makes a lot stronger evidence for his argument.
But on the other side he still doesn’t cite any of his sources and in particular the last sentence were he writes “Our public education certainly is not perfect, but is a great deal better than any other” (Ho, 2007, p. 114). These words are very strong and almost make it look like he exaggerates to make his cause clearer. Ho is right in some way of his saying but from the general public viewpoint he is wrong. If Ho look at school as an institution that is supposed to teach students to experiment with ideas and fulfill their creativity he is absolutely right. However this is not the real purpose of school.
School is an institution made for students to gain knowledge and not mental skills. Ho has several good arguments for his cause but I think his arguments are not strong enough. The starting argument I would say connects to the topic well, but is not very strong. The reason the US is a country of innovation is not only because of the school system, there is other more important factors that made this happened. Later he draws a conclusion about that children need the American school system the way it is to function.
This is a little less good of an argument, he doesn’t cite the evidence anywhere and here a chance he made this up by himself. Continuing on, he claims that increasing the quality of the school will retard student’s impulses. This claim is also vague. There is no evidence of this happening, and he doesn’t say that it has even been tried. At last he finishes of saying that American education is good enough the way it is now. I would say I disagree with him at this point. American education does provide a lot of freedom in education, but this generates a lot lower level of knowledge and therefor goes against what education really is about, to learn as much as possible and get a broader perspective of the world.
Courtney from Study Moose
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