Education for Social Change essay

“We are convinced that education is the one unfailing remedy for every ill to which man is subject” (Counts, 1932). This line is seen in the first part of George Counts book entitled Dare the School Build a New Social Order? In this line, it is clearly observable that people have a huge faith in education. Education is perceived as one of the most important tools that will address the problems and issues of the society. Being the case, it is essential that quality education should be provided for every student.

When you say quality education it does not merely mean teaching basic knowledge and skills or discussing historical and current events. It should also include equipping the students with the necessary knowledge and skills for social change. Educating students towards social change is vital because of three main reasons. First, they are part of society that imposes upon them beliefs and norms. Second, individuals should control the situation that is happening in the society and not the other way around. Third, progressive education should be implemented because it gives people a vision that they should work for.

Every individual is part of the society whether he or she likes it or not. Belonging in a particular nation is not something that an individual has power over. He or she cannot choose as to where he or she should belong to. Counts pointed out that it is a fallacy that an individual is born free. In reality, he or she is born helpless. This is due to the fact that an individual gain freedom through culture. The life that he or she has is grounded in a specific culture, which he or she has no control over. In this sense, an individual is already imposed upon by birth by the culture that he or she has.

This could be exemplified by how a child is reared by the tradition of the society that he or she grew up to whether it is hunting, military, musical or others. It is also a fallacy that a child lives in a separate world because the people around him or her, regardless of their age, affect and influence a child. Even the idea that children are good by nature is not true, because they enter the world as a bundle of potentialities. They can develop into good or bad persons depending on the guidance that they obtain from their culture and purpose of living (Counts, 1932).

In this sense, an individual is already imposed upon by the culture of the society that he or she is born to. Being the case, society has already instilled in him or her beliefs and norms as he or she grows up. Due to the fact that the society has a huge impact to an individual, it is necessary and important that social change should be included in curriculum teaching. A society that no longer stands for the greater good of the people, but instead heightens immoral acts should be changed in order for the future generations to not be born in this same kind of environment.

People should act towards social change by taking control of the situation instead of merely adhering and following it. In line with this, the educational system has a vital role to play because they have the responsibility in rearing and molding a child during his or her formative years and even at a time when students will pursue their own career. This clearly debunks the idea that school should be impartial in its emphases because complete impartiality is utterly impossible.

As stated by Professor Dewey in Counts book, “school should provide a purified environment for the child” (Counts, 1932). In this sense, school must shape attitudes and even impose ideas for change. A new kind of progressive education should be implemented wherein the educational system will have a specific purpose and direction. This will address the weakness of the educational institution that is focused squarely upon the child because it will also give importance in dealing with social situations in a more fundamental and realistic way.

It should also be liberated from the influence of elite classes in order to clearly establish a theory for social change. This does not mean that the educational system should promote specific reforms, rather they should give children a vision of possibilities that will allow them to invest their loyalties and enthusiasm to make this vision a reality (Counts, 1932).


Counts, G. (1932). Dare the School Build a New Social Order? Carbondale, Ill. : Southern Illinois University Press.