For many students, high school is a four-year ordeal that includes waking up early in the morning and rushing to school in order to avoid detention. While students hold their end of the bargain by dragging themselves to class, the high schools of America forget to educate them.
Every high school student is well aware that college is academically more challenging than high school, but this really means that the goals of high schools are not set high enough. High schools fail to teach students critical thinking, writing and test-taking skills. ‘Advanced placement’ classes do not expose students to the real challenges of college classes and a 4.2 grade point average does not guarantee a successful future in college. Due to low standards in classrooms, a high school diploma is little more than a certification of completion for waking up early to go to school to receive little education.
Because of its failure in educating students, our corrupt high school system turns students away from textbooks and allows our society to teach them. Television becomes the ultimate teacher for students while Kobe Bryant’s illustrious NBA career becomes the guidance counselor for someone’s future. Even worse, drugs and gangs become alternate routes for some since our schools cannot educate people properly. In addition, the importance of the stock market, politics and other ‘grown-up’ material is avoided and maturity has vanished. In this sense, high schools are guilty of endangering our society since its wellness depends on the education of its people.
The federal, state and local governments are the ones to blame for the ailments of the structure of education. According to http://www.ed.gov, one mission of the federal government is to ‘improve the results of our education system for all students.’ When looking at the effectiveness of high schools in teaching, it becomes apparent that the federal government and the Department of Education have completely failed in their task of providing a decent education nationwide. Consequently, a much more effective way of supervising education is necessary. The state and the local governments are also responsible for cutting educational funds that would otherwise benefit the needy high schools of America. Due to monetary constraints, most after-school programs are canceled and buying new textbooks becomes a luxury for all but a small number of schools.
The solution is simple: Have the state governments implement higher standards in classrooms by creating a system that is similar to colleges. State governments should design a curriculum that is equivalent to college coursework so the students will become familiar with the real challenges of college classrooms. This resolution also gives students the necessary resources such as critical thinking and better test-taking skills to succeed once they are in college. Moreover, the effectiveness of this solution lies in the fact that the gap between high school and college will be eliminated.
In recent years, concerns such as teaching evolution and prayer in school have gotten a lot of attention. The problem is that these secondary issues distract from what should be our primary concern, the abysmal system of education in our high schools. The main focus should be on how to improve education for the younger generation while allowing students to decide upon the validity and necessity of evolution, religion and other such secondary subjects.
Educating the younger generation must be a priority in every society since they hold the future in their hands. However, a future in the hands of the uneducated does not guarantee conservation of values such as democracy and freedom because such ideas cannot be safeguarded in the minds of the illiterate. Thomas Jefferson once wrote, ‘I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.’
Arin Torabian-Shams is a second-year biology major.