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 The education system of today is not broken; it is outdated.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.