March 31, 2014 by Liberty
The information in this article is not going to be fun for most people to hear. The problems discussed in this article are usually treated with a soft touch. Any criticism of the educational system in the United States is quietly discussed in hopes to not offend anybody. That disgusts me.
Year after year children are forced to endure the terrible education system in America today. Despite spending more money than anywhere in the world, the politicians, the educators, and the parents allow this atrocity to continue. I will not be treating this subject with a soft touch because it deserves a harsh kick (or worse.)
This may not be pleasant but it’s absolutely essential to understanding how to combat the problem.
If I set out to create a system that completely eliminates a person’s love for learning, I couldn’t do that much better than the American educational system. I could bounce around ideas for weeks and weeks while but I would struggle to come even close to the strategies currently used.
Eliminate The Choice
One of the most effective ways of ruining a person’s passion for learning is by removing the choice from the matter. Humans are naturally wired to rebel against control. If you have any doubt about this, just consider a child from the age they’re capable of saying “no.” This same natural tendency continues all the way into adulthood. Just look at the way most adults treat the speed limit as the “kinda speed limit.” On any highway the average driver is going 5 mph faster. It’s just the way people are wired.
Children are forced to go to school from an early age. Those children are being told they’re going there to learn. By the end of elementary school, most students begin to realize how little choice they have in the matter. To rebel students often play sick or find other ways to avoid the inevitable.
By the time high school comes around, most students really couldn’t care less about the information they’re being told to learn. While they may aim to keep their grades up, the intention is not to satisfy their love for learning but to get out of that school once and for all.
When the students finally get into the real world or college, the idea of learning for fun is completely foreign to them. Education is not something that’s supposed to be suffered through, it’s supposed to satisfy curiosity.
Forcing people into “education” (especially subpar education) just weakens their natural desire to learn. Instead of learning the things that are important to themselves, the students are taught learning is about pointless recitation. That brings us to the next problem…
Learning is an inherently personal thing. I can’t learn you something. I can only present it in a way hoping you choose to learn it. If you want to ruin someones ability to learn or teach, you need to eliminate the options they have in material. The education system has done a great job recently of killing any unique educational material being presented in the classroom by teachers. Teachers are required to teach so much information that they have no choice but to end the students education there.
When teachers are forced to follow a specific curriculum, a teachers ability to connect with their students is eliminated. You might have heard someone mention, “A teacher can’t cater to 30 different student’s individual needs.” That’s completely true (and another problem) but it goes farther than that. A teacher isn’t even allowed to cater to the 30 students typical needs when the material is restricted. The system requires the bureaucrats (not the teachers) to cater to millions of student’s needs.
Teachers are forced to teach the same things to every group of students they are supposed to educate. This might be what we’re used to but it’s complete insanity. Individual students have individual needs and individual classroom’s of students have individual needs.
That being said, the problem of standardized education gets even worse. How inspired would you feel to teach the same lessons to students year after year? If you’re like most teachers, it would get old pretty fast. How is a teacher supposed to inspire a classroom of students to learn when they’re forced to be boring a passionless?
I’m not much for forgiving teachers but they’re certainly not given a fair shake in this respect. That brings us to one of the most scary problems in our education system.
Teachers Wanted: Qualified Need Not Apply
First thing: This isn’t meant to be an insult to great teachers. There are amazing teachers out there. The real insult to the great teachers is not my judging them but in the idea that they’re not capable of being judged. It’s kind of like if my teachers gave out grades to every other student and then came to me and said, “Okay, I graded everyone else’s test fairly but I knew you weren’t as capable as them so I gave you some bonus points.” It’s an insult. Not providing fair feedback is the real insult.
Education is one of the easiest college majors statistically. Think about that. The men and women that are expected to prepare the next generation are some of the least challenged throughout college. Wouldn’t it make more sense to go the other way around? Of course it would, but the system was designed to prevent that from happening.
Teachers are members of some of the biggest unions in America. Despite the regular complaints most students end up hearing, teachers are paid right in line with other careers when you account for the time they have off. On top of that, their job is one of the hardest jobs to lose.
Teaching is a very difficult career. No one should doubt that for a second but just because a career is difficult, it doesn’t mean a teacher should be allowed to suck after a few years on the job. I’m sure you’ve seen the young and vibrant teachers that work their butts off. I’m sure you’ve also seen the old and lazy teachers as well. Now, not every teacher falls into this trap but what right do any teachers have to fail to educate while still getting paid?
Teaching is a hard career that not everyone is meant to do for their whole life. It’s like the NFL. You wouldn’t expect a person to stay in the NFL for 40 years because it takes a toll. It’s alright if education ends up the same way. It takes a toll on a teacher. In fact, it’s ideal that education kicks out it’s worn out teachers. Doesn’t every student deserve a passionate and capable teacher?
I find it disgusting that schools so regularly insult qualified teachers by forcing them to work with lazy, unmotivated, and completely job secure teachers.
Discount The Problem
The biggest problem is not the educational system. I know, after a whole article of bashing the standard system, this might come as a bit of a surprise. The real problem is not the forced nature of education, the standardized material, or even the terrible teachers. The real problem is the way society treats this problem.
Let’s say you went to a restaurant and find a hair in your mashed potatoes. It doesn’t bother you too much but you call the waiter over to get a new bowl. You point to the bowl and politely say that you found a hair in it. The waiter then looks at you a little funny and says, “Yea. That looks like one of Jamie’s hairs.”
You then ask, “Can I just get a new bowl? It’s alright.”
The waiter looks at you funny again. “Yea. We’re working on it.” The waiter continues to stand there for a minute and then walks away without taking the mashed potatoes. A few minutes later, you call the waiter back and ask, “how are those mashed potatoes coming?”
The waiter looks at you like you’re being rude.
You then ask, “Can you just take these mashed potatoes?”
The waiter says “no,” and then heads back to working the tables ignoring any of your requests.
This is the way people are treated for questioning the current system. Absolutely everyone knows that it’s a problem but absolutely nothing is being done about it. The problems I discussed in this article are my interpretation of the problem. I can respect the possibility that I’m wrong. What I can’t respect is the fact that everyone admits there is a problem while ABSOLUTELY NO ONE does anything about it. The system is virtually the exact same as we had 50 years ago.
The educational system in the US is little more than a machine used to squeeze the passion out of the students subjected to it. There is no reason to treat this issue with a soft touch. It is an absolute atrocity.
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