Yousuf Barekzay15 January 2018Prompt 4cWord Count: 1170America’s Public Education ReformEveryone is different and special in their own way, so why does only one public education system exist for all? Once the standard of the world in public schooling systems, today America ranks subpar compared to other developed countries. Since the 1970’s, little has changed within the American public schooling system. Access to resources through technology has changed the way we learn. We must change this ineffective system to better benefit educators, parents, and students together. Teachers should be able to provide students relevant material without strict standards.
Here in Virginia, SOL standards greatly limit educators’ freedom to teach topics pertinent to their students. They must cover a wide range of standards in the short span of a school year. If pupils do not understand a concept, teachers must be allowed to extend the time needed to teach it. All students should comprehend the subject, not only those who are fast-paced learners or good memorizers. Sometimes, when I do not understand a topic in a class and notify my teacher, he simply tells me to get a tutor because he doesn’t have time to teach it outside of school. He cannot slow the course down even if many of his students do not understand a concept.This reform will permit educators more time to plan interactive and exciting lessons for their students. The use of time will be maximized, so students will efficiently learn.
Time for this type of learning can be accomplished with the elimination of assessments (creating, taking, and grading exams). Tests are scary, one must memorize a huge load of information and understand every concept to get a good grade on it. Assessments mess with kids’ minds and are designed to trick students rather than assessing their knowledge. In class, students learn topics but are perplexed on test day, as they see information they have never seen before.
Also, starting in eighth grade, students should be able to choose the classes they take, with the exception of English and basic Mathematics. Requiring students to specialize in a certain subject will demand schools to provide a wider range of classes, and students may express interest in a new subject. With this added motivation to learn, students can pursue a certain subject and look forward to school. Learning about topics students are interested in will allow them to push for innovation, rather than wasting time in classes they do not have interest in. The world is full of specialized jobs, after all.With the elimination of exams, project-based learning (PBL) must be implemented to replace students’ mastery of topics.
Rather than just memorizing facts, PBL allows students to demonstrate their knowledge by investigating and responding to challenges. In reality, when students become employed, most will be working on hands-on projects and solving real-world problems, not taking tests based on standards. Exposing PBL to students at an early age will be beneficial. Pupils will be less pressured to get good exam scores, and therefore perform better in the classroom knowing they don’t have to memorize seemingly useless facts. The class size consisting of twenty-five students, with teachers teaching up to six classes, is yet another factor of the ineffectiveness of the system. Class sizes must be significantly decreased so that teachers can actively satisfy every student’s needs.
It is important for every student to be educated and feel comfortable in the classroom, which is difficult when a teacher is constantly pressed for time and has to follow a strict curriculum. With such large class sizes, I do not feel like any teacher knows much about me unless I make the extra effort to communicate with through extracurricular activities. Teachers should really know their students, so they can help them when they are struggling in the classroom. I would much rather have a passionate teacher, rather than one who does not really care or just plows through the curriculum because of standardized testing.In addition to all this, year-round schooling must be implemented in all American public schools. More frequent breaks, increased retention rates, and effective building use are just some of the benefits of year-round schooling.
Students will have more vacation time throughout the year instead of having a prolonged eight to fourteen-week summer break. Whenever a new school year starts, I forget most of what I learned because I do not practice any of my skills over the break. Under this system, students will be constantly learning new information at a more natural pace.I, like many other high school students, should look forward to going to school, rather than being distressed due to the constant pressure I am put under. We must eliminate class rankings and grade point averages to reduce competition among students. Some believe competition is what motivates students to strive for excellence, but they are wrong. Since everyone is unique, self-esteems essentially get destroyed when students compare themselves to others. Competition leads to increased stress, which harms one’s overall health.
Students’ childhoods should be happy and uplifting, not stressful and depressing. Sometimes, I have three tests in one day. This causes me to stay up much later than usual because I have to study to get a good grade, making me stressed and ruining my mental health. Sleep is essential for growth, and even just one night of it being limited can ruin one’s health. The only reason why I want a good grade is that every grade counts towards my final grade.
In today’s education system, you must have stellar grades in order to get into a decent college; which is what many say is the key to having a successful life. Everyone is always talking about the future, but then what? Students get good grades throughout high school, get accepted into a good college, study hard, then they go into the real world. They suddenly realize that what they have been doing for the majority of their life has nothing to do with reality. No one needs to memorize all of the periodic table elements, so why do it in school? Virtually no job requires employees to memorize facts and take tests based on them. Even if students do not work, how will this benefit them in the future? Why does school not get students ready for reality?This new public education system reform idea could be introduced to the public through media outlets.
This essay is just a broad explanation of some of the major changes, but the proposed ideas will rapidly spread among people, and people can sign an online petition to show their support. When enough support is received, the idea would be suggested to legislature. If the reform successfully implements, every person in the public education system, and in future generations, will be positively affected.
The outdated system will be broken, and the greatest outcome will be a better and brighter future for the American youth. The United States of America will reclaim its throne of having the best public education system in the world.