Friday, July 2, 2010

Fundamental Education Replacement, Not Reform

Today, America’s children are stuck in a situation of 13 wasted years of school. Now does this mean that every second spent in the classroom was a waste? No. However, the way our current education system is set up wastes the most of it. Should students not direct themselves and choose their own futures? Shouldn’t they be allowed to start looking at different options, different career paths, and different areas of study through these 13 years? Now school boards, teachers and politicians will say that students can choose their futures, they can direct their own path in high school and middle school with electives and that in high school there is even more freedom. I’ve been told this numerous times, yet it is not the truth of reality. In reality students know exactly what they must do to get into a specific college, to graduate, etc. Now if you want to be a scientist, it makes since to take a lot of different science classes and start to look into what particular field you should enter. However, why should one’s focus be on science classes to get into a college that looks closely at your science classes and grades when in that college you want to major in English or Liberal Arts? I’m not saying no one should have to take science, I’m saying no one’s priority should have to be science when it makes no since that a student waste time on extra AP and honors science classes when their direction is nothing near science.

The potential excitement and energy we could create would be enormous if students could choose what would best benefit their own lives and futures in school, especially high school. The opportunities would be immense for students to be able to look into every direction of what they might want to study in the future and in college or in life and work. Forcing students to take certain classes to only graduate at the top of their class is extremely stupid when in the long run, they’ll get to college and the real world and know absolutely nothing of what they’d want to do, then be forced to eventually choose a major and direction and then realize too late, they absolutely hate what they are doing. Nobody cares about our current failed curriculum in the real word and there is no use for it. If you want to be a scientist, learn science. If you want to do something with math and physics, take those courses. If you don’t know, try out as many things as possible. But there is absolutely no logic in requiring students to take 13 years of science when they don’t want to be in the direction of science.

Are basic fundamentals important? Yes. Is forced diversity in the subject choices important? To an extent. There is need to throw new things at students, to challenge them, to open up doors, but there is no need at all to require them to take years and years of something that will not pertain to them in the future and if they decide much later on to switch directions, then they can learn it then. If you’re going to be an engineer, you will learn all you need going through your engineering major and in the real world. There’s no point though, in moving every student on the track to become an engineer. For every student, somehow and somewhere in their lives as a student, teaching and class time will be a waste for them in some area.

Think of the possibility of a more productive, more caring world with time much better spent. With energy high and the want to learn high. Think of how much more likely it would be to bring a kid out of the darkest alley and on the road to success if he or she had the ability to choose their future and a drive to actually want to their what they choose to learn. It is amazing to think how much more advanced our society and each one of us could be when maximizing these 13 years to the best of our abilities.

There is a number of things we can do from the government’s side, from the teacher’s side and the community’s side to benefit students in education.

*School choice

*Updated technology

*Qualified and caring teachers

*Greater choice and variety of electives

*Merit-based bonuses

*Parent, Teach, and Student communication

*Well used time and a meaningful core curriculum

However, the one key element that will keep America from being the top in the world education wise, is the drive and heart of the students. Government, teachers and the community can reach out a hand, but unless students hold on to that hand, we can never be the best. No matter how much we spend wisely, no matter how much effort is put into the system, if students do not care to learn, it is all a waste because that motivation is the difference from failure and success.

As a nation, we should owe it to the students to give them every tool they need to succeed, as well as the opening of the door of motivation. And as students, when that door of motivation is open, it is the student’s duty to use it to the best of their ability. Together education can be replaced and put back on the right tracks. Alone, no one can do the task that faces us.

We are running out of time. Countries all around the globe are getting smarter and more efficient much faster than us. We need replacement of our current education system now in both K-12 and higher education. Students, parents and teachers must work together as well as higher and lower education systems. If one of those elements is missing, fundamental education replacement will not be possible, and we must have replacement. Starting right now, we need replacement; because it is long overdue.

We welcome your comments and suggestions.

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