Education These Days

Published April 17, 2013 by Britt

Ahhh school. Supposedly this is a place of learning and fun and all this good stuff. However, our education is filled to the brim with faults, to the point where it is borderline not good enough. It’s not the fault of a certain group of people, it’s the fault of many. And allow me to sit here, get on my soap box, and tell people my opinion on this.

Problem #1: Time

It is common knowledge that there are 24 hours in a day. I am awake for about 18 of them. I get up in the range of 4:30-5:15am, depending on how much I hit the snooze button and how much time I want to get ready in the morning. I am out the door at 5:45, the bus comes and gets me in the dark at the corner of my neighborhood and an incredibly busy road at 5:55am. I come home around 3pm and take naps. To top it off, I don’t get lunch every day (This is being remedied next year). My bedtime is 10pm, and between 3-10 I do whatever, unless I have an after school activity, at which point I am home around 6pm during handegg season and 5pm the rest of the year.

My mom and I went to this school drivers ed presentation thingy earlier this year, and one of the problems that teenagers face nowadays that leads to car accidents is falling asleep at the wheel. They recommended getting at least 8-10 hours of sleep. You just read my schedule, and 10 hours of sleep would me going to bed at around 8, which is before my 7-year-old sister goes to bed. When I had gotten back home from the meeting, it was about 7:30 and I still had homework. Some students take longer to do their homework and have other activities, and sometimes I have no idea how they survive.

The teachers yell at us if we fall asleep in class, and I see high schoolers drinking coffee to stay up in the morning, and then in health class they tell us not to drink energy drinks and that we need to sleep more. There are huge hypocrisies in the system, and next year when I do get a lunch every day, school is in for 15 minutes longer. I want to cry.

Problem #2: A System Similar to a Factory

The thing about school is that it’s filling us all up with the same knowledge. Sure, it’s taught differently, but the stuff that we learn is all the same. And we freethinking people think “When am I ever going to need this stuff? When am I ever going to need Stoichiometry, or need to know what the graph of a sine or cosine looks like? I have zero interest in going into a career with chemistry or trigonometry.” And the only reason it is required is because it’s needed to look pretty on a standardized test or add credit to your diploma. The options I am currently kicking around in the department of career choice are: archaeologist, lawyer, English teacher, or some form of journalist. The only one I can see using any form of chemistry is the archaeologist. I see no use for Trig. But yet I still need to take it.

Another thing that’s wrong with some of these classes is that some of the things are just overall confusing with previous things we’ve learned. For example, another chemistry story. The other day I asked my teacher a question about significant figures and why the heck we need them. I also exposed a huge flaw: you can shorten a day from 24 hours to 20 because of significant figures. And I look at my teacher and asked her why you would do that when it is a clearly well known fact that that there are 24 hours in a day. And she told me “Don’t worry about it! Just do as I say and use sigfigs!” Teachers are not supposed to do that. Teachers are supposed to  teach, and if they don’t know something, they are supposed to say “I’ll look that up and come back to you.” or “You should research it and get back to me, I would love to hear more.”  So, not only am I sitting here with something I will never use and is almost totally discredited, in a class I’m not very good at, with a teacher who can’t seem to teach correctly.

Since I mentioned standardized tests earlier, allow me to add something to that. They need to go away. The school system only teaches a certain amount things in a crunched amount of time because it’s required for the SOL. They don’t go in depth, they don’t have time for review or another day of learning, it’s “we have to move on and make sure we have everything for the SOLs!” I just Googled the names of the tests, and looked on the Wikipedia page.

The Standards of Learning(SOL) are a public school standardized testing program in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It sets forth learning and achievement expectations for core subjects for grades K-12 in Virginia’s Public Schools. The standards represent what many teachers, school administrators, parents, and business and community leaders believe schools should teach and students should learn. The Virginia Department of Education, schools, and school systems routinely receive essential feedback on the effectiveness of implementation and address effective instructional strategies and best practices.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. You know what that tells me? That tells me that

  1. Not everyone who is “in charge” think this is right
  2. Emphasis on SHOULD. That does not mean we HAVE to learn it.
  3. If you’ve seen any of the politicians on TV, you would know they are not that intelligent of people when it comes to decisions like that.
  4. Parents do not always know what is best for their kids. I’m not saying that my parents don’t, but there always are certain cases when they are wrong, because they are human. And so kids deserve the chance to choose for themselves. Let them make their own mistakes.

So, at the end of the day, I come out of school not knowing how to balance a checkbook, but I can do Stoichiometry! I’m sure that will really help get me out of debt!

I’m sure there are more flaws, and I can go on about total reform, which is definitely needed, but I’m just going to start rambling. Sir Ken Robinson did a very nice lecture that I believe sums up everything that I like, so I’m going to get off my soap box now and leave you with this video that I’ve seen twice in school. Enjoy.

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