Changing Educational Policies

Megan Weins, Writer

A huge problem in the United States education system is the lack of understanding towards young students. Decision making is done by the National Board for Education. A majority of the members on this committee exceed the age of fifty. Therefore, they have not gone through the public school system in a very long time. They lack understanding of the damaging effects of their regulations, such as exceeding amounts of standardized tests, and a tough-to-beat attendance policy. A logical decision on what students should learn, and tests they should take can not be made by someone who has not completed it themselves. Another huge distinction in the Educational Board is the gap between men and women. 71% of members running the system are men. This can cause biased opinions on what should be done about teaching America’s youth. The curriculum being taught to public school students needs to be changed, and corrected, and be looked at by a whole new set of eyes. It’s time to rethink America’s approach on education.

My math teachers jokes when we ask her when we’ll use a math equation she’s taught us in the future. She laughs and tells us we’ll use it on the test next week. When we ask her anywhere else she’ll say “the final” and we laugh along with her as she tells us how she honestly doesn’t know, but it’s state law and it’s her paycheck, so she has to teach us what they tell her to. My mom jokes when I ask her what percentage of what she learned in school she uses on a weekly basis. She laughs when she tells me maybe 10%, but that’s pushing it. My principal jokes when he tells us that he knows us students don’t want to be at school today, and that he doesn’t either. He laughs and then goes on as usual. However, is this really a laughing matter? My math teacher doesn’t know the point of why she’s teaching us what she is. My mother admits she doesn’t use 90% of what she spent her whole childhood trying to remember. And, my principal says he would much rather be somewhere else besides school. Instead of finding these things humous, they should be taken more seriously. More should be done to change these ideas of school, that even my principal has. My teachers should feel pride in what they teach us will be useful, and adults, like my mother should be able to come back and say “what I learned was useful.”

I’ve heard that everyone is born with an instinct and likeness to want to know more about the world around them. This is why children ask so many questions. They want to know how everything works, and why it works they way it does. “Why?” is a very common question to hear out of the mouth of a toddler. Even if they don’t really care about the answer, or there is no reason to why something is the way it is, small children still ask the question. This is because they are full of wonder. Everything is new to them and asking the question “why” is what they’ve always done even before they could voice it. They love to learn, and explore, they’re fascinated with the world. Unfortunately, this all changes when a child takes his/her first steps into school. Instead of being able to play, and learn in a grass filled garden they are instead given pictures, and writings about the gardens right outside the door. Confined to a 30X20ft classroom to learn about the 25000 mile long world. Imagination is soon covered by white walls and “inspirational” pictures they will soon need to get used to for the next thirteen years of their lives. Gradually what they once found fun and interesting becomes a chore. A chore needed to be done for almost eight hours everyday. Soon they’ll be playing sick because they simply don’t want to be there. However, eventually they’ll have to head back because of the strict laws set in place to keep kids coming back. By high school they’ll be in a routine of reciting memorized information on a test. Checking their grades everyday to see how smart they are, and seeing how many assignments they can do good on so it will boost their GPA. In return they’ll hopefully get some money for future schooling. In math class they’ll memorize countless formulas they may never use in their lives. The lovingness to learn will be robbed right out of them as it was with a lot of us.

This has to change. Pointless information taught in school that are not useable in future life is not something students should have to spend their time on. Students should enjoy learning just as they once did. Education should not be sitting in a room with a textbook, education should be learning by looking at the world in person, not behind a screen or a page. Teachers should know what they are teaching will help students later on in life. And, our school officials should enjoy being at school to see kids learn. Rules should not be made by white men who have never done what they’ve told kids to do. Instead it should be decided by people with strong knowledge in a young person’s mind and how it works. By changing all of these aspects in American government we can have a stronger, smarter nation. We need to rethink our approach on education so hopefully one day when my daughter asks me how much I use of what I learned in school, I can say “all of it”