As with anything, the American education system is riddled with faults and flaws. With a system responsible for the future of America itself, the problems must be identified and changed. Children deserve a chance at the future, and right now they are being set up for failure.
One of the most prevalent problems associated with the education system is rote memorization. With a testing schedule that is far stretched, students more than ever procrastinate until the night before exams, then “cram” all the information.
This form of studying allows for short-span memorization in which the student learns nothing, except how to pass an exam. The skills that a student needs to know to get to the next level, whether that be in education or their profession, is skipped over, and only a numerical grade determines that they were even “taught” this information.
It can be argued that grades are a great motivator for students to do better, but it can also be harmful. With the grading system, there are varying levels of passing.
In real life there is not going to be varying levels of passing. Employers do not want to hire someone who can only do part of a job. A person can not survive if they “almost” know how to do something, or halfway know how to do something.
When in a hospital, a patient would not want a doctor performing an operation that he just memorized for an exam years ago, and does not actually understand himself. Grading as it is currently used is more harmful than beneficial.
Instead of earning a numerical status that determines knowledge, it should just be a pass or a fail and nothing in between. A student should either learn the material and pass, or not learn it and fail. School is technically designed to guide students to the next phase of their lives, and reality does not allow for halfway successes.
Another hotly debated issue with the education system is the subjects taught, or more precisely, the subjects that are not taught. While students learn theories and algorithms only beneficial to one specific subject, they do not always learn life skills necessary to survive.
Students can solve complex equations, quote Shakespeare, and spout out theories of evolution, yet they do not know how to file taxes, or how to handle insurance policies; they do not know how to gain credit, build their resume, or score an interview, and there is no excuse for that. If success is aimed for, then the things that come with success should be taught.
Another large issue with the education system is the busy work. Educators have come to rely on assignments that take large amounts of time and serve little to no purpose other than to “encourage thoughts, or to inspire creativity.”
With so many small assignments due, school alone drains the student’s energy, much less if they are involved on campus or working. Busy work is the death to curiosity and imagination.
Bright students that would otherwise be intellectual and find information for themselves that interests them, are now thrown two choices; a student can either do their work and pass while being too tired to do their own learning, or not do the required work and actually learn something that matters to them while failing.
The choice is deadly either way, and is setting up our students to fail. Skills and knowledge are essentially worthless without a formal education, yet an education without skills and knowledge will be equally lethal in the employment world. There has to be changes made or the world will stay the same, and the first step to change is to embrace the future through the students who will be writing it.