Excellence in Education The concept of excellence in education is one that, on the surface, seems to be unquestionable. After all, who would not accede that students within our schools should, in fact, excel? Certainly teachers, parents, and administrators can agree on excellence as an aim to shoot for. The interpretation of the term "excellence" is, however, less obvious. How do we regard excellence? Is it the college bound student with a broad liberal arts education? Is it the student who graduates high school trained in a specific trade? Many in the field of education cannot come to an agreement on how our schools can best achieve excellence for and from our students.
One of the many authorities who have contributed a model for what schools should be is Robert L. Ebel. According to Ebel, knowledge is the single most significant and most important goal in the education of children.
In his article "What are schools for?" Ebel answers "that schools are for learning, and that what ought to be learned mostly is useful knowledge" (3). He builds this declaration in answer to trends in education that focus upon other aspects of learning in schools. Ebel states in the beginning of his article, that he does not assume schools should be social research agencies, recreational facilities, adjustment centers, or custodial institutions. (3). While he does not deny that our nation is currently wrestling with a dreary array of social ailments, he does argue that the answer to such problems can or should lie within the jurisdiction of our schools.
In discussing education's mission to provide useful knowledge, Ebel defines what he means by the word knowledge: "It is an integrated structure of relationships among concepts and propositions" (5). Knowledge, the way Ebel describes it is not the same as...