.

Changing Education

Today, there is a crisis in America that goes beyond the economy, health care, and national security. It's in our schools.

Every year, 1.2 million students drop out of school in the United States alone. Why? For a majority of these students, school is not relevant. Students follow a methodical pattern in which they are encouraged to memorize information to pass tests and then willfully accept the grade they receive as a compliment or insult to their intelligence. That is not what education is – it cannot be defined as the process of giving and receiving systematic instruction to achieve short-term satisfaction. A test score or a letter on a piece of paper cannot measure a student’s success. Instead, education should be defined as an enlightening experience in which students are able to acquire relevant, unique knowledge through innovative means. The education system of today is not broken; it is outdated. And it’s suppressing millions of students around the country.

Intelligence is more complex than we have been led to believe by formal academic education. Formal academic education shies away from critical thinking as it seeks to teach students through routine memorization of backward-looking knowledge, reinstated as nitty-gritty and delivered through bottled lesson plans with predetermined time constraints. Instead of developing necessary skills and natural talents, school prepares students only for one possible future: college – which is, essentially, more of the same. This traditional cycle of schooling kills creativity and hinders students’ full potential. And it has been going on for years. Teachers, administrators, and students can work together to find relevant, applicable solutions. It’s high time to put learning into education.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Nathaniel December 14, 2012 at 11:56 PM
"school prepares students only for one possible future: college – which is, essentially, more of the same. This traditional cycle of schooling kills creativity and hinders students’ full potential" Again, how do you know that our educational system KILLS CREATIVITY? does your nose say so? again, as a 10th grader, it is to early for you to decide whether knowledge in said area is useful or not. Furthermore,requiring high schoolers to learn other "irrelevant topics" has multiple purposes. 1. It allows Students to experience what careers/majors they want to pursue in the future. Some people don't know what they want to do when they grow up or whether a certain major is interesting or not. 2. It trains work ethic. No matter how hard a class is, working hard can easily get you an A. Trust me, I've been through this educational system, and I can say for sure that I wasn't naturally talented intellectually, but I still managed to pull off straight A's. This is one of the MAJOR reasons why colleges value standardized testing and GPA so much. 3. "A test score or a letter on a piece of paper cannot measure a student’s success." -true. BUT IT CAN MEASURE HOW HARD ONE WORKED. No matter what major you plan on pursuing, you need to work hard at some point. It also tests how much hard work benefits you. If you failed a test, it means that you didn't work hard enough, or didn't pay attention in class. Both are vital skills for success.
Nathaniel December 15, 2012 at 12:12 AM
"it cannot be defined as the process of giving and receiving systematic instruction to achieve short-term satisfaction...Instead, education should be defined as an enlightening experience in which students are able to acquire relevant, unique knowledge through innovative means." Last time I checked, our educational system is an Enlightening experience that gives students relevant knowledge through innovative means. I don't know what you mean by Enlightening, but every subject can develop any part of your mental abilities and strengthen it. Math promotes problem solving and creativity. English promotes comprehension, eloquence, and creativity. History expand's one's mind and promotes work ethic/memorization while also being a fun topic to talk about. Science promotes creativity, curiosity..etc. If these mental aspects aren't enlightening, then I don't know what is. 2. Last time I checked, Highschoolers could choose what classes they take. Sure, some classes like math, literature etc are required, but there ARE electives. This freedom/liberty alone allows a student to learn MORE of what information they think is RELEVANT. Furthermore, having a strong foundation across vast subjects prepares students for vast dilemmas.
Nathaniel December 15, 2012 at 12:12 AM
3. Innovative. Our educational system isn't INNOVATIVE? mind you, our educational system has existed for less than 200 years, and compared to ten years ago, we're making progress. Teachers are already encouraged to diversify their teaching methods, and if the don't do that, then it's probably because if you plan to major in that field, then that's all you would be doing. Take chem for an example. People who major in chem do labs. That's why Chem teachers have the students do labs, so that they're prepared and know what chemists do.
Arooj Ahmad December 15, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Gary, that is a very interesting story! Thank you for sharing. I agree that people must be aware and knowledgeable of the other subjects. A journalist should have knowledge of basic algebra as it comes up from time to time in their lives. In fact, they should be exposed to several subjects outside their passion. However, in today's education system, students are forced to progress their knowledge in subjects that they are uninterested in beyond the essentials. Sure, one can take lower math classes if they are not interested in them, but that causes colleges to believe that the person did not apply themselves. On that note, allow me to address Nathaniel's points. Wow Nathaniel, thank you for sharing your thoughts! I am always open to criticism. Education does not kill creativity. School does. My proof comes from my experiences and knowledge of others' experiences. I am currently a high school sophomore enrolled in 3 AP classes and 3 Honors classes with good grades. I have not given up on the system, but rather, I want to reform it. I do not wish to abolish school, as the institution itself is very beneficial, but change must arise from within our schools. I do not advocate a loose system in which self-proclaimed geniuses do not do a "stitch of work". If there was a family tree, hard work and education would be related. But school is a distant cousin. I agree that hard work, diligence, and education are the keys to success. But schools are locks.
Kevin December 17, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Some classes teach you HOW to think. That is a LONG process- and it requires rules & memorization. Most (many?) high school classes are trying to teach a student how to learn, so when you are ready to move on -be it graduation OR before, for some- you have the base to teach yourself. Is it at times constricting? Of course. That's what happens when you have a system that trys to teach EVERYONE. That's the main issue with the US education system. We believe EVERYONE has a chance to learn at a high level. Other countries encourage creativity better, but they only reachout to the highest-achieving students. If you're lower, you go to trade school (or none at all). The merits of THAT system represent a different debate, but our system is the way it is because of our goal- educate every student.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »