On education

The acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught. Does that sound familiar? Welcome to the actual definition of learning. Experience, study, being taught– there is no “memorization to regurgitation” in the definition of learning, so why is that the go-to for our education system?

Students are constantly tested, pulling all nighters, and try to fit into the criteria given to them by their teachers, all in an attempt for the best grade. We follow those motions, the “muscle memory” of students past, but we aren’t actually thinking or learning things to use later in life. We aren’t building up portfolios, we aren’t gaining real life experience, we don’t know how to jump a car, change a tire, or sew a button– some people don’t know cooking outside of a grilled cheese. These are, of course, “elective courses” we can take throughout our high school career, but that’s the point. Elective courses aren’t important, or at least not seen as such. It doesn’t matter if you can sew your button back on your pants, it just matters if you know the order of the 43 presidents and which one can not tell a lie.

The biggest problem is that teachers aren’t allowed to let us explore our options, they’re not allowed to teach us anything but a paradigm way of thinking, we’re not learning how to truly problem solve. They are not allowed to let us do things that and expand our horizons, but how could they? Our teachers are tested on their ability to teach by standardized tests and we, the students, are tested by our ability to memorize a book, the basics of the essay, and most importantly, how to please the supervisors for the best grade.

The response to this isn’t “that’s how it works. That’s what we do.”, no, the response should always be what’s the problem. We’re told that everything can be changed for the better, that things can always be adjusted to make life better. So why is it that artificial, meaningless-to-real-world tests and grades are the way we think we prepare students? Why is this the way that the self-worth of a student is determined?

College is the biggest ‘jump to’ for schools when defending their current system. Colleges give finals, they say. Students need to be able to pass tests, they claim. The problem with this system isn’t that we haven’t been taking finals, that isn’t why students are having trouble in our universities.

Northwest pushes for AP enrollment, for their students to apply themselves and attempt to take this big test filled with information, or to take concurrent credit, and attempt to gain it before entering college. However, why should we try to do that, when we’ve finally learned how to work the corrupt system? College courses require you to apply previous knowledge to develop your own theories, they require you to think above your current level of knowledge, and write an essay paper, or to attempt to develop a cure to cancer in the lab. These are things we should be learning to do, these are things we should be required to learn. In high school it’s all about making sure you have a 4.0, an A in every class possible, and are involved enough in school to look good on a college application. We don’t need to know how to apply ourselves, to ask questions for extra knowledge. We just need to know how to pick out the facts from our teachers and apply them to our multiple choice tests.

Our future education is hard, because we don’t know how to think for ourselves. Our ability to function outside of our homes is crippled. We don’t learn, we absorb and memorize.

A busted tire is not fixed by our hands. It’s fixed by a parent, or mechanic, as we calm our hearts on the side of the road. A busted button on pants is not fixed by a quick motion of needle and thread, but instead brought together by a safety pin, and then tossed into the trash. Diabetes is something unsolvable, an enigma with scientific reasoning that can not be cured. It’s not something we think to solve, to try and fix, because we can not see a way to fix it. We do not develop real life experience. We do not develop real life skills. We do not develop critical thinking.

We do not learn how to problem solve. We learn how to write, read, copy, and repeat. We are tested on our ability to spit out facts, to compose a sentence perfectly, and please the administration.

We are asked to write an essay with a paintbrush.