Aspects of education are necessary

By Josh Haywood

Writer

The U.S. education system needs to restore its integrity and capability to produce a strong workforce, which in recent decades has faded. There are three definite issues in need of reform: the emphasis on standardized testing, forced education of irrelevant material and the ease of access to charter schools. All of these things are what hold our industrious nation from reaching the levels of achievement it had in the post-World War II era.

The issue of how much weight should be placed on standardized testing is far too great as it changes the role of education from actual learning and focuses on rote memorization. Standardized testing just forces teachers to meet standard requirements, whether the information is relevant or not. Why do we waste time and tax dollars trying to make a one-size-fits-all education system?  The world does not, and should not, work like this. Standardized testing does not measure a student’s creativity or innate knowledge of the world. I witnessed the negative effects that standardized testing brought on my class when 130 out of the 300 people didn’t receive their diploma as a result of failure to pass their 10th grade standardized test. I saw some great friends miss the chance to walk across stage with a diploma over a test that should in no way serve as a determinant for employment. 

Some people want to be a mechanic or a hairdresser, so why are we trying to teach them Shakespeare? Teach students what they want to learn. Do not force-feed them nonsense information they will never use. Our fill-in-the-bubble educational system ignorantly ignores the fact that, putting all other things aside, certain people end up going into a blue-collar profession. Let students choose what they want to learn, because it will de-emphasize the lack of respect school systems put on trade skills and provide support for those students who want to enter such trades. There is nothing wrong with being a blue-collar worker; they are the people who built America. From the steel high-rises of major cities to the highway system that pumps the economy’s blood, skilled workers have built this country. Too much emphasis is placed on going to college, and such focus acts as a depressant for those who do not want to attain higher education.

For anyone that does not know about charter schools, they are essentially privately run schools who get public assistance. These do not resemble that of Kent or Hotchkiss. These schools are designed for students who have failed at traditional public schools. The major problem with charter schools is that while they are publicly funded, they do not have to adhere to the curriculum guidelines of public schools. These essentially are graduation factories that churn out “degrees” that are worthless due to the dissimilarity between various charter schools and thus, possess no known value. Educational guidelines act as a set of loose state curriculum requirements that each school can hand pick to teach depending on what the school district sees as important. This is different from standardized testing because it is a set of information that the state seeks to test students on to make sure the teachers are able to complete their job. The issue is that standardized testing does not look at other knowledge possessed by students, such as trade knowledge, which is impossible to test for on a state level.

We need to continue our domination of world industry, and education is the key. Give students more variety when it comes to high school education because it will allow them to focus on fields that best suit their own abilities. Scale back how much we rely on standardized testing and eliminate these “cop out” charter schools that just waste money that could be used on education somewhere else. There is nothing wrong with trying to prime students for college, but you also need to remember that students need to fulfill their own dreams, not someone else’s.

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