EDITORIAL: Changes to core strengthen all learning
Exploration of social issues ousts passivity while instilling efficacy
Higher education ought to mold nails that refuse to be hammered into obscure passivity, not hollow the individual into complacency. The incoming students of the Fall 2019 semester enrollment will receive a core education that will allow them to not simply submit to the realities of society, but rather be active in the creation and betterment of it.
Changes to the University’s core curriculum will allow for the exploration of the issues that unravel the seams of society today while incorporating a responsiveness to our increasingly technological world. The approved proposal to change the curriculum, which The Daily Targum received a copy of, highlighted one of the most significant changes to the core, which is in the Contemporary Challenges Learning Goals. This requirement will be subdivided into two new requirements: “Diversity and Social Inequality” and “Our Common Future.” Classes that fulfill the Diversity and Social Inequality requirement will analyze contemporary social justice issues and unbalanced social power systems. Classes that fulfill the Our Common Future requirement will analyze the relationship that science and technology have to a contemporary social issue, as reported by the Targum.
Rutgers has accepted the duty enshrined in the ideal nature of education as it looks to build a foundation upon which students will not build themselves to be cogs in a wheel, spinning to the whim of societal constructs without realizing what they are doing. Rather than be passive acceptors of the doctrines handed down by those above them in our hierarchal society, students will be provided the ability to analyze social issues and injustices as malleable to the will of the people.
We must understand that there are real lives behind the statistics of poverty and inequality, evident repercussions from determinations of political philosophy, tangible consequences from the micro and macroeconomic principles and solutions to problems within the teachings of STEM materials.
Education too readily instills the same underlying principles that manifest into the social justice issues that erode our nation. “Our education system is intended to uphold equal opportunity, but too often it also entrenches racial disparities by its design," according to the National Association of Educators’ EdJustice initiative.
Professors can either reinforce systems of injustice or be revolutionary leaders in the improvement of the world. Starting next semester, Rutgers will begin a fragile initiative that, if mishandled, will do more harm than good. With the new core curriculum comes immense potential, both destructive and beneficial. “One cannot expect positive results from an educational or political action program which fails to respect the particular view of the world held by the people. Such a program constitutes cultural invasion, good intentions notwithstanding," said Paolo Freire, an educator, philosopher and advocate of critical pedagogy in “Pedagogy of the Oppressed."
The challenge of making space for substantive critical analysis of both the content of a class and its sourcing within the existent systems of society will weigh heavier on professors of these core courses. There must be an allowance for healthy discourse of dissenting opinions as well as majoritarian. Rutgers’ changes to the core curriculum adds fundamental pillars to the education of its students, strengthening all explorative paths at the University moving forward.
The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 151st editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.