School is a Factory
June 2, 2015
In today’s aggressive society, it is quite evident that America as a whole has placed an overwhelming amount of emphasis on competition: 196 existing countries continually strive to achieve certain advancements to serve as confirmation that they are “sophisticated”, “superior”, and “ advanced”. Competition has ultimately resulted in a variety of beneficial outcomes including Neil Armstrong’s expedition to that illuminating rock orbiting in the atmosphere and the reputable era of the Roaring Twenties; however, it is also exhausting. In order to keep up with this fatiguing “race”, America is concentrating on its ability to “churn” out manufactured students: these students embody America’s rigid vision of what it discerns ideal members of society to be. Many are neglecting to realize that although molding people like silly putty into human thesauruses produces momentarily positive results, those results are fleeting and are eventually replaced by a cascading effect of negative consequences. It is rather selfish that America utilizes its ability to control individuals through core curriculum and standardized testing in order to possess a “competitive edge”. As opposed to focusing on an individual’s morals and integrity, the pendulum has swung considerably; this change is evident even in individual school districts. Society is expected to be content with the fact that students receive their diplomas aware of how to graph polynomial functions instead of receiving them as well rounded individuals who are aware of how to write a check and maintain an acceptable credit score.
The tests that are currently handed out simply evaluate a student’s ability to tediously remember information and spit it back out on paper. Students are taught to memorize math formulas in geometry class and plug numbers in for variables; it is highly unlikely that they are aware of what they are actually solving for and how to apply it to real life situations. This modern method may dramatically increase test scores, and furthermore, improve America’s reputation; however, these results are obviously ephemeral. Statistically speaking, people forget 97% of what they learn after a month.
It is incomprehensible as to why four years of both science and math are mandatory when only one marking period is required of classes that teach applicable life skills such as health, gym, and art class. A majority of America’s most innovative thinkers had such immense impacts on the world due to their creativity and overall cultural awareness as opposed to how rapidly they could solve systems of inequalities. It is rather selfish that America is sacrificing an individual’s ability to function in the real world simply to appear “erudite”, “prestigious”, and “ elite”. This is obviously inconsiderate to the individuals who graduate from high school and immediately feel as if they are being drowned in a sea of responsibilities due to the fact that they were not sufficiently prepared.
Recently, I was sitting in Algebra 2 when a fellow classmate’s hand shot up into the air, a perplexing expression plastered across his face. “ Why do we have to know this?” he questioned, simply out of curiosity. The instructor chuckled before responding sincerely, “ To be honest, you’re never going to use this again, aside from the test you take on it in two weeks.” At least he was being brutally honest and admitted the obvious problem we currently face.
Theoretically, students should be able to take care of themselves when thrust into adulthood; after all, they’ve been taught how to for the past 12 years. In reality, the Google Search Engine probably serves as a better instructor in that category than most of today’s teachers do.