A Student’s Perspective. My students have a lot to say about the current education system. Instead of telling you how they feel, I decided to let them speak for themselves.
In a world filled with radiant colors, the students remain black and white; their canvases stripped of all personalization. Confined between four walls and a closed door, stressed out teenagers are forced to make a choice between their grades and knowledge. School has extinguished the desire to learn. Instead of opening the growing adolescent’s eyes to the world outside, the education that we are provided sheds minimal exposure when it comes to understanding material. When students enter high school, they are immediately stripped of their personal styles of writing, art, and expression. If we do not succeed in a certain area or subject, we spend the rest of our years believing that we are failures and begin to believe that we will never accomplish anything in our lives. We are taught that every person is a unique individual; however, school attempts to make all of the students the same.
The key to success is memorization. The common core does not make a difference when it comes to learning; math, history, science, and literature do not test for ability, but rather how well a student is able to memorize and recite the given material. Schools are trying to educate the children on how to succeed in the 21st century, but the standards are set by adults who were educated in a completely different manner. The past and the present are incomparable time periods. Education has to change accordingly. So how are we as students expected to be successful when we are forced to disregard our personal talents and focus on receiving a degree, which does not even guarantee us a future career?
Students are blamed for being too distracted and having no interest in school. The adult solution is to placate the kids with pills or subdue them with punishment. There is so much more to the world than what we are expected to learn inside of the classroom, and that is why students question what impact trigonometry or committing the periodic table to memory will have in their future.
We strive for rebirth, but are rewarded with destruction in the form of a letter grade. Schools label the students with flashing numbers and letters. We are compared to each other based on our grades and how well we are able to regurgitate the information that teachers assign. Kids who are naturally built with intelligence feel insignificant simply because they cannot excel in all areas. There is no given average anymore; the average grade “C” has become a failing grade in the minds of students and teachers alike. We are all programmed to strive for an “A” or a 4.0. Students live as numbers and letters. Some would rather cheat and lie just so that they can pass a class and receive the socially acceptable grades needed.
Teenagers struggle with mental health issues and anxiety but are ignored because this is not considered a “valid” reason to not attend class. Mental health issues have been grouped and shoved into a corner, and labeled as just stress, when there is so much more to them. How is a student expected to aspire when he is forced to complete hours of material in order to achieve a passing grade, and in the process feel suicidal because he is not allowed to learn at his own personal level of capability?
The American Education system strives to become similar to other countries. The attempt to copy and paste certain techniques into our own system is not a practical way of learning. Students around the world learn differently, and therefore we should not be motivated to change our system to fit into the mold. Instead, we should utilize the skills that our young adults possess and in that sense, customize our own way of instruction.
We are not being educated through our talents, but instead only downgraded for our faults. We are putting our students to sleep through an anesthetic educational procedure instead of opening them up to the universes that they possess inside of them. There is an invalid supposition: The most important aspect that children share is how old they are, which is why students are grouped into grade levels instead of levels of capability. We are told that there is only one answer in certain subjects, such as math, which resides in the back of the textbook, instead of the endless possibilities that our minds are all capable of generating.
Education has become a business; it is no longer about the students or the teachers. Standardized testing reduces a student into a test score rather than a person of value and individuality. Education has divested young adults of their voices, and maybe that is why we cannot speak up for ourselves anymore. I may be one person, and to the school I may be just a GPA, but I cannot be stifled because I have learned something during high school: No one can quench my voice if I allow myself to be heard.
This is me, taking a stand, and I will not give up. I will not be silenced any longer.
Some articles originally appeared in The LHS Revolution (thelhsrevolution.com); others are created specifically for this blog. Their parents have signed permission forms to share their work here. Read, comment, question, but remember they are students; be respectful. Thank you, Pauline Hawkins