After having sat through another class with my AP Language and Composition teacher, Mr. Clarke, he always leaves me feeling highly motivated and slightly depressed at the same time. Well what was it this time? Well, we just started our education unit, and to start the whole unit off, we watched a video that was entirely intriguing and made a lot of sense, I’ll post it at the end of this blog. Basically, in a nutshell that I’ll crack open momentarily, the American school system is hugely flawed and is one of the major reasons why Americans are rapidly losing their foreign advantage and why students’ futures look so bleak. These are all coming from my teacher, and I happen to agree with what he said, and of course the video. My aim with this post is to get people thinking about the whole American system and perhaps spread it, get the word out about much needed reform.
First of all, the system is outdated. Public education that provides the basic skills deemed necessary for work is largely outdated, because in today’s world, specialized labor is what’s needed. To keep our competitive edge, we need to be making CEOs, inventors, and people who will create something that benefits America, not a bunch of burger flippers and cashiers. The system is, again, created to get everyone the general information needed to go to college, where they can get the specialization needed to earn a career. The system is also outdated because of how the school runs. People are assigned to grades based on their age, or “date of manufacture”, rather than their academic ability. The schools run on a bell system, where we’re processed and sent on to the next phase. That’s another thing: specific subjects. I’m not sure how it works in different systems, but each class we have is split into different subjects with very little interweaving or cooperation of information. This system is outdated because in today’s economy, we need to learn how to communicate and how to tie information together from different subjects into one cohesive idea. The separation model worked well for rapidly educating people for basic jobs, but you don’t use a Phillip’s Head screwdriver on a flat head screw and expect it to work optimally. It’s time we adjust the education system to match today’s needs.
Another thing is the lack of individuality. This school system forces students to conform to what they think is necessary to get a job. Like Albert Einstein said, I won’t quote cause I don’t know the exact words, but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it’ll live it’s whole life thinking itself stupid. Some people are naturally gifted in math, or science, or English. But others are creative, and maybe they are better at painting, or drawing, or playing the violin. Placing higher value on math and English courses and forcing students to complete them does have some value, but the classic argument I hear from everyone who isn’t planning on going into math education, engineering, architecture, or something of that nature that requires a lot of numbers and calculations, is “Why am I doing this if I’m never gonna use it again?” I always assumed they were just too lazy to put in effort to basic math, since I’ve always been somewhat good at math. Now I think there is something to be said about not getting math, some people just don’t excel in different subjects, and school teaches us to conform, when what we really should be doing is breaking out and doing what we’re good at. I consider myself a good writer, and if I were given the chance, I would stop taking math courses and science courses to take up English courses and acting courses, things I actually plan on using.
Also on this individuality thing is the fact, proven by test scores in Finland, Germany, and other European countries, that individual attention helps students learn better. In class sizes of about twelve-fifteen, the teacher is able to devote more attention to each student where the student needs it. I’m not familiar with the exact plan, being a part of the public school system, but it should foster stronger relationships with the teacher, other students, and give more necessary skills like collaboration and communication. In the public school system, there are very few teachers I would go talk to about struggling, because they quite frankly are too busy to care about my grades or my issues. My fellow students mostly feel the same way. When students can get individual attention, it fosters better feelings, like the teacher actually cares about what happens to you, and automatically provides more motivation instantaneously. There are private schools in America, but they are expensive! If America were to adopt a system in reverse of what it is currently, in which I mean public school was available but not emphasized and private school was funded more and made more available, we could expect to see drastic changes in the quality of education in our country. My teacher had his kid reading fluently before he entered Kindergarten and in the first grade, the teacher was calling the parents of the child, saying that he was acting out in class and correcting the teacher, that he was falling behind and may have ADD. Well my teacher had his kid tested and when he was in the first grade, he was reading at a ninth grade reading level. Now, in the third grade, the kid is reading Jurassic Park. But not only that, he is also writing a PAPER, not a paragraph learning about different parts of a sentence, an actual paper about the feasibility of cloning described in Jurassic Park. This kid is eight or so years old. All as a result of being put into an individual learning program.
I may make a second one of these to go a little more in depth, but for now I think this is plenty, and I’ve provided the video. There are certainly a lot of barriers in the way of achieving the reform, countless. America is ultimately tying itself into one big knot and pulling tighter daily expecting it to get better. Anyway, share, like, comment, follow, and I’ll talk to you all soon.