The Downfall of Education
“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Andy McIntyre
Our education system is brutally flawed. I’m sure we have all heard this, and I would bet 100 bucks that most people would agree. But what is it that makes the system so flawed? How do we fix it?
You see, I believe that our education system is constructed all wrong; fundamentally, in fact. We are a society built to believe that the only way to succeed in life is to graduate from high school, go to college, get a big corporate job, and makes lots of money until we die. What they fail to leave out is fulfillment, passion, meaning- call it what you will.
We squander those who believe their calling in life is the arts, music, underwater basket weaving, as the ol’ cliche goes. And while we may laugh at these connotations, what we have done is make this type of squandering the norm, thus producing a never ending sea of clones.
We expect great things from generations who we have molded in our own image, and are absolutely appalled when one of our clones decides to buck. Why? Because that’s not how we do things, of course!
I was one of those kids who felt that even though I was brilliant in the classroom, my passions laid outside becoming a doctor or lawyer (you know, the smart people jobs). Luckily, my parents were pretty supportive of my endeavors, at least to a degree, so I was able to explore my talents. But what I noticed is that school doesn’t allow for growth in any capacity beyond what the “big man” dictates.
They are paper mills. That piece of paper means absolutely nothing in the real world (kind of like our money). We produce individuals who come out knowing the Pythagorean theorem, but can’t do taxes. We remember Sine CoSine and Tangent, but are ignorant to the complexities of buying a home.
Why do we do this? Why are we so afraid of teaching the leaders of tomorrow how to ACTUALLY fend for themselves? Are we so wrapped up in the great educational race that we are failing our own future?
As an ex-teacher’s aide, I know what we are doing to our children, and it isn’t good. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of good, wholesome teachers doing their best, because there are. But in all reality, the educational system isn’t actually teaching anyone, anything. And I have concrete proof.
I have a 14 year old sister (I shudder even as I say it) who recently informed me that her entire Pre-Algebra class, which is considered the highest math class you can take in middle school here, cheated their way through it. They had a group chat where they shared all the homework answers, and while they couldn’t cheat on tests, they still managed to (mostly) all pass with high B’s or A’s. Now I know that part of their education is their own responsibility, and believe me, I do try and explain that to her, but honestly, why does it even matter? Especially for a kid who wants to be a detective? She couldn’t care any less about Y-axis and square roots. I can’t say I blame her either.
My point in telling this story is to bring to light that fact that most kids aren’t going to use these classes that are required past the basics. She is dreading taking actual Algebra, but is overjoyed at her ONE elective, Criminal Justice. Why are we not feeding into these already predetermined strengths and passions?
Because passing standardized tests is more important than nurturing a child’s dreams?
We live in an age now where the possibilities are endless, yet here we are, stuck in the 19th century. It’s time to revamp the education system and start doing right by those who will lead our country, our world, tomorrow.
Every passion has it’s place in the world and it is our job as their teachers and mentors to give them the opportunities that we didn’t have. Just because we were raised as clones doesn’t mean we haven’t learned anything, that we can’t think for ourselves.
Nothing great ever happened from staying in the mold.