Educational Reform in the United States

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The fact that standardized test scores are improving doesn't mean anything. It's not a good thing. I'd even go as far as to say it's a bad thing. I'm still in school, so let me tell you what it's like: most of the time we are being fed information so that we can perform well on tests. Focus on that for a second: so that we can perform well on tests. Not at life. In Pennsylvania, in grades 4-8, we take the PSSA's. They test us on Math and Language arts, and in 8th grade, science. However, they aren't testing us to see if we are proficient in those subjects - we take them so the state can see if the schools are teaching well enough. Doesn't that seem kind of odd to you? Why should I care about Algebra II (which I remember basically none of despite losing countless hours of sleep due to studying it) if I want to make video games or write music when I grow up? Well, guess what: I don't. I make sure I do well in school just so I can get the validation of the educational system, get a diploma, and go to college. But as soon as I don't need it anymore, I want to make myself forget that Algebra II is even a thing.

Our schools are based on memorization of knowledge.

WHAT

Why should I need to memorize a piece of information when I have a database of INFINITE KNOWLEDGE AT MY DISPOSAL ALMOST CONSTANTLY  F O R  F R E E ? Instead of making us memorize things and then testing us on them just so we can forget about them, why not test us on our ability to use our resources to find knowledge? Wouldn't that make more sense? Today, schools use technology more and more. Smart boards replace chalkboards. Chromebooks become available. Technology becomes more and more prevalent in our schools. And guess what? The only times we can use the Internet to learn things is research for projects. WHAT IS THE POINT OF THAT?!?! As the world becomes more internet-based, why not teach children HOW TO USE IT?

It's truly sad that if I want to learn, but not what Common Core says I have to learn, I don't get a choice.

The worst thing the schools do is the oppression of creativity. I'm lucky enough to live in a very good school district, where the high school has an entire part of the building dedicated to the arts. That's great. But not every school district is that great. Some just teach the curriculum and nothing more. We are told that what we learn in school will help us in the real world. That's true for some of it, but at what point in my life will I actually need to diagram a sentence? Well, if I want to be an English teacher...and that's about it. School needs to change. There are plenty of videos about what's wrong with the educational system and why it needs to change. It's time we actually do something about it.

A number of things should be done to improve schooling:

  • Let students create their own schedules, so as to reflect time management in the real world
  • Place students in groups based on understanding, learning style, and learning ability
  • Teach subjects that are beneficial to the goals of the student

Every student is different. We shouldn't treat them like they are all the same. Students should have education tailored to them and their goals, not tailored to what Common Core says they have to learn.



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