Let’s just let the cat out of the bag, the American school system is flawed beyond belief. That enough should be obvious, however many people refuse to believe that the way our schools are being run are not at all good for its student population. For example, the importance of a letter grade has become more important than learning itself, that being okay isn’t even mediocre, and that there is only one kind of ‘smart’ in the world. These are just the basics but they all do the same job of proving how much the way we learn needs to change.
Grades and Grading:
Have you ever thought about why students cheat? Is it because they didn’t study the day before, maybe they’re desperate, or maybe they just wanted to secure a high grade. Either way, all the reasons have one thing in common and that is, the need for a better grade. One of the biggest problems I have with our schools is that they have a letter grade be of more importance than actually learning the material. Why would students cheat if they really wanted to test their knowledge.
In addition, the fact that a grade deteriorates a student’s performance and class pathway. I myself have decided against taking classes where I can benefit more and test my capabilities just because of the fact that I did not want anything worse than a B on my transcripts. What’s the point in going to school to ‘learn,’ if you only take easier classes that do not challenge your capabilities as a scholar. Bottom line is, the importance of grades has become overwhelming. As a child I went to school to learn, now I go to get the A.
Being Okay or Being Extraordinary:
“Absolutely unacceptable. Colleges will never accept you if you get a B for BAD.”
Goodness the number of kids I know who think a B is the end of the world. In the American school system, being okay or good is never good enough. You always have to be better at everything and anything. The worst part about it is that while a small population students are praised for being better, the majority of students are left feeling like they’re nothing because they aren’t as good. Students are punished for not matching high expectations and as a result, many lose motivation because they feel as though they will never be able to catch up.
However, the few students that meet the expectations don’t have it all too easy either. They are forced into a cycle of constant improvement and show of performance. Even if they make the smallest of mistakes they are looked down upon. In the ‘gifted’ world you don’t make mistakes, otherwise you’re just a nothing too. In this world of expectations many students live with the fear of failure and the constant demon called stress. Being afraid of a normal experience of life is not how one should live. Failure is a part of us all, we are all meant to fail somewhere and somehow, but it is also our job to make sure that those experiences can be learned from. When you fear failure, you become afraid of everything you do and you end up living a life of paranoia.
What is Knowledge:
Obviously, it’s knowing how to do calculus, speaking 7 languages, knowing how to build a robot, or finding the cure to cancer. This thought process alone is the reason why many students feel inferior. Even though they may shine in other categories, the one’s that ‘matter’ and the ones they are tested on are not their strong suits.
Howard Gardner, an American developmental psychologist, came up with a theory of “Multiple Intelligences.” The idea behind it is that people excel in different categories. However, when you test on only one type, your results become biased towards a specific group of people.
The American school system is flawed in that it is biased towards a certain population of students, and that it is mistaken in its list of priorities. As Albert Einstein said,
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”