Education- It is what it is

photo courtesy of canstockphoto
photo courtesy of canstockphoto

The education system is slow to change. We haven’t had a change since the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind in 2001, and that’s working so great. Did you notice the sarcasm? Was it too thick? No Child Left Behind (NCLB) had a goal, that 100 percent of students would be proficient in math and english by 2014. Well, how’s that working out? The education system is obviously inefficient for the learners that we are dealing with today. “Hacking” the education system seems like a good idea to me. We aren’t teaching students anything that they will use. I haven’t used algebra since I took the class, yet I was taught to balance a check book in eighth grade, and never again. Which one do you use more often?

I think we need to teach students how to live a happy life. We need to teach students what is important in life. The majority of people aren’t going to use algebra to figure out their interest for their mortgage or car payment because it’s done for them. I like knowing how to do it, but I don’t. We need to teach students what they need to know to get through life. We can each learn to excel in school, but once we’re out, and real life begins, we’re helpless. We have to teach ourselves the best way to get through life. I wish that I knew how to make the changes, but that’s been left up to politicians, not educators. I think the people who are most frustrated with the education system are educators, and those who suffer from it are the students. Hacking the education system, making it more geared toward teaching students how to make happy and healthy lives, is a great idea.

Logan LaPlante, a thirteen year old boy who gave a TED talk, is currently being educated in a “hacked” system. He is highly intelligent, and knows exactly what he wants. He doesn’t focus in one area, and is probably smarter than many college graduates. He is on to something. Unfortunately, one thirteen year old and a small group of education “hackers” can’t make the change. It takes so much more than that. Most parents trust the education system despite having gone through a traditional education. I think that’s because too many people are afraid of change. We would rather let our kids be taught the things that they’ll never use, that they don’t need, than how to live a happy and healthy life. Heaven forbid we teach a little creativity! I think that kids need to be given a little freedom to pursue what they want, even if it’s finger painting in peanut butter and catsup. The education system needs a reboot, it needs to keep up with the times, because NCLB is just a new layer to what was established in 1965, Johnson’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Let’s throw all of that away and start anew. Kids today are smarter than we give them credit for, they don’t want to learn traditionally, they want to be hacked.

photo courtesy of abcteach
photo courtesy of abcteach
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7 thoughts on “Education- It is what it is

  1. I agree with your statement that reform is needed in our current educational system. I think that any institution needs to be constantly evaluated and modified to meet the current needs of its community. However, I think that traditional curriculum, such as algebra, are an extremely vital part of education. I would make the argument that yes, for some people. algebra and other higher math classes are used every day. Anyone working with angles and variables, such as engineers, architects, or just people doing simple home renovations, need to be fluent in trigonometry, algebra, and sometimes calculus. Even if a person never uses algebra outside of the classroom, becoming familiar with the language of numbers trains the brain to think analytically and logically, ways of thinking that are critical to anyone who has to make important decisions. So, while I believe that education needs to be continually evaluated and changed, the core basis of education is pretty solid.

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  2. Margaret, I’m not saying we should get rid of the core curriculum at all (we wouldn’t have jobs after college if that were so). I’m saying that we need to give students more leeway so they can study what they want. Instead of cutting the arts in school to make more room for math or science or English classes, emphasize them. If a student wants to work with numbers, that’s awesome, but give the student who wants to paint those same opportunities. I was just using myself and math as an example, I wasn’t saying get rid of it because I think it’s evil (though for me it totally is!) thanks for the great comment!

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  3. I understand your point of view much better after reading your comment! I’m a huge proponent for art in the school, and I think it’s a shame that the arts are usually electives and not requirements. While I enjoyed most subjects in school, art class was my release, and the one class that challenged me to create beauty that didn’t already exist. While I think it’s partly up to an individual to develop their creativity, pushing for more arts and creativity in school would definitely benefit all students, and would give students a little more freedom in their ability to choose their own curriculum.

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    1. I’m so glad that you understand now. I was so worried that I wasn’t coming across correctly. I agree that we do need more arts and creativity in schools. Maybe that’s why I’m not so creative!

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  4. I think that NCLB is a joke that they thought that all children would be 100% proficient in Math and English by 2014. These type of people do not understand that all children learn differently. Some learn by hands on, listening, affective, cognitive, just to name a few of the different learning styles. Many of the people on capital hill do not understand or know about child development and how it works.
    I have to disagree that while some people do not use algebra there are careers that do need to know it. For example Engineers need to know it and that is what my son what’s to do. But then I do agree that schools are pushing/doing away with the Art, Music departments to make more time for teachers to teach to the tests. Children need that time to be creative and let go of what is frustrating them.

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    1. I’m in agreement about NCLB. I think that we should keep math, that isn’t what I mean and if you, and others, misunderstand what I was trying to articulate, I apologize. I meant that I, personally, didn’t need to take four math classes in high school, especially when the class I took my senior year was less advanced than the algebra that I took my freshman year. I mean that instead of requiring so much math, english, or science, we should put more emphasis on arts, including music, visual, drama, even creative writing. I for one would prefer to have taken a creative writing class rather than that last math class. I think that every student should be given the opportunity to do as they please to a point. In my experience, students don’t want to do homework, even if it is fun, but if they are doing something they want, they’ll get more out of it. I’m glad that you agree that art should be more prevalent in schools. Studies have shown that students who have access to art are more likely to do well in their other classes.

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  5. I love your ideas about having a more balanced curriculum so that children are able to explore different ways of learning and participating in the world, to develop their strengths. There’s an interesting report about what 21st-century businesses are looking for in employees: critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, the ability to work together. And what does school emphasize? Consumption of information, doing what you’re told, conforming to the same standard, memorization. There’s a big disconnect here.

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