Think about your school experience - elementary, junior high, high school, even college - what did you actually learn? I’ll bet you learned some valuable equations and some not-so-valuable ones. For example, you were probably taught that hard work plus ambition equals success when that’s not really true for everyone and it doesn’t have anything to do with luck or chance. It’s called the Meritocracy Myth and it disguises the fact that there are deep-rooted systems of oppression in place in our society which prevent certain people from doing as well as their privileged counterparts. But the American school is supposed to be “the great equalizer” and make success possible for everyone. In Ed. Studies, you’ll find out that the way the government and big corporations control the country and impact public schools makes a 100 % success rate impossible.
One of the most important things you’ll learn in Ed. Studies is simply how the world works. The people who have the most power can only keep it by taking agency away from others. This manifests in the form of general injustices like racism, gender inequality, and discrimination, and more localized effects like the school-to-prison pipeline, violence against women and minorities, the wage gap, and children most certainly getting left behind. At the end of the day, you could chalk it up to people being deeply flawed. In Ed. Studies, you’ll come to the realization that there’s something to be done about these problems standing in the way of peace among peoples, and it can largely be accomplished by educating children on these issues and teaching them how people should be treated.
If you want to take courses specifically within your major/minor and not spend time on anything else, that’s up to you. But, if you value the concept of a liberal arts education and think you might care, even a little, about making the world a better place, you’d better stop wasting time and take an Ed. Studies course. As a member of the Educational Studies Department at Colgate, I can tell you with one hundred percent certainty that meaningful work is being done here and taking an Ed. Studies class is nothing less than one of the most valuable experiences you will ever have. It literally does not matter which course you take, the outcome will be the same: You will be a more informed, empathetic, and thoughtful person by the end. In Ed. Studies, you don’t just learn how to be a teacher or even solely about our school system; you learn about the world and human nature.