The (Flawed) Schools in America

by on January 12th, 2011
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The public-school education system in the United States has long been a hot debate topic for this country for many years. It seems as if we are falling short of the expectations in this modern-day society in providing knowledge to the next generation of leaders and working-class people. Politicians have long been scratching their heads, wondering how to improve learning in the classroom and raise state and national test scores. Many techniques to do this have been implemented. However, these are very broad ideas, and we have turned off the lights when it comes down to what actually happens inside school doors.

An excessive amount of tax-payer money is put into making sure these schools operate efficiently and consistently within regulations of laws and minimum education requirements. To many Americans, this sounds fantastic. Their dollar is being stretched to the maximum for the sake of the future, even if the system is not perfect. There is a sad truth behind this: it is in actuality being squandered away by schools.

As a junior in high school, I had witnessed this dreadful occurrence on behalf of my own illness. Choosing to go to the best school in my district, it was my second home. For two years, I proudly adjourned Timberline High on the window of my car as I strove every day to get straight A’s in my advanced classes. That is, until I fell ill. Getting up in the morning was a fiasco in itself. Dizziness fell upon me and weighed me down each day, the fatigue and anxiety overwhelming my body and mind. No longer could I carry on, and as a result, I missed a lot of school. No answers were found as the result of why I was so sick until much later, but it still drained my flesh of energy every day. My second home turned into a sanitarium.

School officials hardly did the least to help me, even though I was a good student with no track record of being a trouble-child. Instead, they sent me a letter. Enclosed it described how I could no longer attend classes there and must go to another school. Also, I needed to go to court for truancy. Not because I was skipping, or doing drugs, but because I was confined to my bed as my unknown illness chained me down. I was no longer a student, but a criminal.

These actions are a great injustice. Not just to me, but to the entire school system and the taxpayers who expect more. Instead of investigating just a bit more, school officials jumped the gun. Going to court was stressful, but it was also a waste of resources. To help students gain the knowledge they need, maybe they should be treated as students instead of cattle. Happy workers are good workers – the same goes for school and the children in it. I was being deprived the best education I could get for something out of my control.

Instead of pondering complicated reasons for why education in this country is not the best it can be, and then applying expensive approaches to fixing it, why don’t we do one simple thing: treat students as human beings.

It’s not a revolutionary idea. You go into a huge store; it’s hard to find customer service representatives to help you find what you need. You go into a smaller version of the same place, and you’re treated like a person instead of just another dollar.

Of course it’s easy to point out problems, but even more difficult to find solutions. However, if we can find a way to monitor schools and the classrooms more efficiently, it could potentially evoke great responses in learning.


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