You groan as you wake up and realize you only have 30 minutes to get ready for school. It's 8 o'clock, your bus comes at 8:30, school starts at 9, and you have classes until 4:30.
The scenario above may be similar to the schedule many teens are stuck in. Don't get me wrong; school is a great place to gain knowledge and even a safe space for some. However, is the school system giving us the best possible education?
Are all the funds for the school system being used correctly? Are kids even safe at school?
Let's take a close look at the "perfect," in some eyes, school system.
If you make the most of it, school isn't a bad place and is, in fact, beneficial to your life. With schooling, it is much easier and, in some cases, possible for your future to be set. You might be tempted to drop out of school due to some things in this article, but none of these should be the final straw for you to drop it.
Too Much Focus on Grades
We all know that feeling. Even if it's just once or infinitely many times, we have all been worried about our grades. An article written by Inside Higher Ed outlines the seven deaths at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (A prestigious STEM magnet school in Massachusetts), 3 of which were by suicide. It goes on to inform about a study done by experts at the school. The study, with a sample size of 704, shows that an alarming 82% feel too much academic pressure is being placed upon them.
This number is way too high to be acceptable, and something must be done to reduce the stress on the students. Even for a school filled with the brightest minds in the nation, the academic pressure is way too much. If this is the case, what about every other school and every child that might be suffering under the burden of grades?
I go to a school similar to WPI, and I know how many people, including myself, are chronically worried about our grades. If someone says, they aren't worried about their grades or haven't even once, everyone will catch on to that lie.
Simply put, students shouldn't be focused on how good their grades are, more than how well they know the content and how well they can apply it to the current generation.
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School isn't a student's whole life.
Some make it easier than others. Let's compare two students, Student A, and Student B. Both students are taking the same classes.
Student A has three siblings to care for and works a part-time job. On top of this, they have extracurriculars to do and other activities to tend to.
Student B, however, is an only child and doesn't work. All Student B has to focus on is their grades and extracurriculars. Both sides have their hardships, but how can we compare the grades of the two students on a standard field?
On top of academics, every student must maintain a decent plethora of extracurriculars to attend a good college. But judging two students with different backgrounds on the same tests is like comparing apples to oranges.
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School hasn't modernized
The original school system was meant to churn out factory workers as the industrial age took root in society. In this turn, education was essential to hold young minds and mold them into tough workers.
Nowadays, the factory industry is different from what students aim for. Why do we have a school system meant to aid outdated jobs when more careers are being created in the health, computer science, engineering, and law fields?
Simply put, the school system hasn't adapted in about 150 years and it is time for a change. Now isn't a time to make students into obedient and non-creative entities. Instead, we must teach discipline, hard work, charity, and respect, all while preserving creativity, street smartness, and self-confidence.
The school hierarchy is a mess/salary is terrible.
A study done by Qualitics shows that only 30% of teachers are satisfied with their work and profession. In a follow-up by EducationWeek, 11% of teachers are unhappy with interactions with admin, and 53% think their salaries need to be raised. Too many politics are involved in children's education.
Many schools have closed down because of the power imbalance in admin, and even kids are affected by this. When the admin is not willing to listen to teachers and students, this, in turn, leads to demotivation and an overall lack of quality in the education given and received.
Also, teacher salaries are terrible. The average teacher is currently getting paid 50K dollars. For reference, the minimum wage salary annually is 35K in Virginia.
Students see teachers the second most in their lives, ranking only behind parents. For these people who literally take care of children, teach 20-40 of them, and juggle their lives in the process, a 50K salary is unacceptable.
More and more teachers are quitting due to this and strikes are becoming a norm. We must safeguard the right to an education and this starts with paying teachers correctly.
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Not adequately preparing us for the future
School is meant to prepare us for a good life ahead. However, many critical things like financial terminology, money spending, interest rates, and mortgages go untaught. After all, these are more important for most people than the Pythagorean formula and the structure of a lipid.
Teaching kids how to invest and spend money can raise the percentage of financially literate people from 64% to 80-90%. Teaching Gen-Z kids can increase financial literacy from 42% to 70-80% in 5-10 years. Also, this brings relatability with the concepts taught at school because many things many students learn seem so far-fetched and useless for my life.
At the end of the day, I am left with a few strung-up concepts that will not allow me to survive in the real world. Also, many financial classes could be better taught and given equal importance to STEM classes.
There are many other issues, like school funding not going towards schools, too much homework, and others making school challenging in all the wrong ways for us. Nobody can deny that our school system is failing us in minor and major ways, and it is up to us, the next generation, to make it better and reform an old and long-lasting institution.