Education is Getting an F


Lauren Briggs, Editor

What grade did you get? Is it in Skyward yet?

Whether you know it or not, there’s something wrong with these questions. We, as students, are too concerned about the grade. Yet it’s what we are told to worry about. It’s what parents yell at us for. This is not our fault—it’s the system. And an entire system is not easy to fix.

Money is one of the major problems in education. We cannot blame districts for taking grants. They are about as free as “free” money gets. “I’ll give you this money if you use it for what I say.” How do you say no to that? But why do we receive grants to improve our cafeteria but not to buy new books?

Every department in this school could use more books and updated books. The problem of curriculum is compacted by old books. How teachers teach division may change, but the books stay the same. It almost seems useless to upgrade when we all know there will be a new book in the coming decade. We push the ones we have well over that timeframe, damaged or not.

Standardized testing is a problem. For as little as we retain after a test in school, we are expected to walk into a test that takes hours without really knowing what is on it. The content could be anything from your full 12 years in school. The mental strain, the weight on those numbers, the preparation leading up all amount to… I guess you could say it’s for college, but we have to take these tests whether we want to or not. The state makes deals with different Standardized Testing Companies and those deals affect which tests we take. You don’t have to wonder why we switched to SATs anymore.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, this is a system error. This is not our teachers’ faults. This is not our district’s fault. You do what you have to do.

Be better than the box that state funding put you in.”

— Lauren Briggs

Even how we are taught is sometimes a barrier, though. Sometimes being “traditional” does more harm than good. Your classes from elementary school to high school is enough proof for that. 5 paragraph essays are not real, folks. I dare you to bring that to Mrs. Connolly’s class.

We are given these constraints and told this is the way. How many people actually write for fun at this point in their education? It’s not accurate to say school is the sole cause, but it adds to the problem. There is a science to analyzing things, and yet we struggle to be critical thinkers in our science classes.

Science is one of those classes where you cannot get away with “what’s my grade?” Yes, there is a way to go about a lab, but you have to think about what you’re doing. Our critical brains are being stunted by thinking of, “How do I appeal to this teacher?” You can’t do that with chemicals. You can’t do that with force equations or the matter of the universe.

Always we are taught to care about the grade. Taught we need the information for the test. Taught to take the tests that lead to your future. Taught to do everything in the wake of the teacher. But are we taught to think for ourselves? Are we really taught to know what we are learning or memorizing?

Stop asking “What’s my grade,” and start asking, “What can this do for me?” Be better than the box that state funding put you in.