Followers: Did you like high school? If you could change one thing, what would you? Was high school a personal hell for you?
I’ve asked around, and it turns out that a generally even amount of people believe that high school was either the best or worst four years of their lives. No bills, no real-world responsibilities, but at the price of what? A social hierarchy? For a lot of people, the social hierarchy was great because you generally were near the top of it — and although something so seemingly insignificant in retrospect, it dominated attitudes across the hallway for four years.
For me, high school is a detached lover. I used to be in love with it: the schedule, the people, the spirit. It was all too much fun, but come junior and senior year, I fell right out of love with it, possibly into resentment.
It all started when I met up with friends who were in college. I saw the work they were doing for a College Algebra class, and it turned out it was work that I generally did in the eighth grade. I saw work for their history classes, and in my A.P. U.S. History class, we analyzed at the same depth, so much that I had helped some of my college friends understand their work, and all of these classes were college level for freshman. That’s when it hit me: I could have gone into college years ago! And I was upset to find that if I’d be doing the same work, I had wasted my time, so here are my amendments for the high school system.
Freshman year of high school needs to focus on, like a college would, general education credits: Generally, Algebra 1 & Geometry with applied mathematics, general science, a combination of history, government, and geography, and English skills with emphasis on grammar and comprehension. At the end of freshman year, students should be able to decide whether or not they’d like to continue their high school education. You gave them exactly what they need to know to function in society; there shouldn’t be anything else holding them in high school unless they’d like to further their education, maybe specifically in a community college program (i.e. Marketing, Nursing), or go on a college-prep course with classes like Physics, Chemistry, Calculus, Statistics, Language, Literature, etc.
The most famous line of high school counselors, “Well, what do you need for college?” College degrees do not make individuals 100% employable; not only that, but some students simply do not want their education from a classroom. Don’t fight me on this. Education is important but to assert that education is only achievable through schooling? That’s ridiculous. I’ve met tons of kids who don’t test well but can get a car up and running in five minutes. I’ve met tons of kids in biology class who can fix the CPU of a computer. Yet they don’t excel, and is it because they can’t? No. Is it because they’re lazy? No. It’s simply because they don’t want to and they know they know they don’t have to. They find the requirements ridiculous. Kids are not stupid, they know well that eventually, they will have to major in one thing, not a thousand different things. We can say that these make our children well-rounded individuals, but kids will not go on to be well-rounded by majoring in everything, they will usually choose one thing — one job, they will specialize.
But we aren’t helping them explore their options by letting them choose one track! Students will attend 9 years of school (including kindergarten) before high school. There are conferences, internships, workshops, and informational sessions that students can attend.
“Students are too young to make that kind of choice.” We expect 18-year-old students to select a college, 20-year-old students to select a major, and 22-year-old students to select a career. Certainly, 16-year-old students should get to choose whether they want college, work, or a career, and can change their minds at any time, high school is even better decision-making training: when they aren’t forking out for tuition.
That is how we let them explore.
We need to reality check our perspectives on education. Not everyone of our students will turn out to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher… Nor will every one of our students attend college or become famous, and certainly, not all of our students will be happy with what they do in the end, but what do we teach them?
“College degree holders earn more than their counterparts. There’s a slim shot at being anything without a college degree.” You can hang up the statistics, but there’s no doubt that common response and confounding variables play a stronger role than we’d like to think. Classroom intelligence is not the only type of intelligence, and if students want to specialize, we should let them specialize.
Be realistic, and don’t lie to the youth. You will fill them with resentment, and they will destroy everything in their path. We all well know that everybody rises from different roots, different soil, and we all have different abilities and to reduce kids’ worth to “what we think is best for them” is to keep this world as corrupted as it already is.I’ll be honest: high school. Hate it. I don’t know how to file taxes, look for a car, or fill out an application properly. But I know that Pb is the symbol for Lead and I find the slope of a line. A lot of my teachers give busy work, and I hate environment. I miss my fair share of it, and well…
Am i devaluing my school system? Do I take for granted that my nation protects my school rights as a student?
No. I think it’s great, but also understand that this nation is one of freedom — one where any person can choose to go where they want with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and if one does not want the school system, don’t stand in their way. One day I missed class because I helped a lady push her car from the road into the parking lot. I went into class late and turns out my classmates turned in 10 vocabulary words and then had free time. So if you think the best lessons come from the classroom, maybe you need to look around. Maybe, yes, people out there would like this school system, but simply, this is not how some people learn, and to say that they should stay in it just because other people don’t have it is like convincing somebody who no longer loves someone but has a healthy relationship to stay in the relationship just because not everybody else has such a healthy relationship.
Knowing that are educational opportunities that aren’t in the classroom and NOT taking advantage of them — that is devaluing everything this nation stands for, and I think we need to rethink the public education system.