The Problem with Public Education

Public education is not cutting it. When a person spends 13 years going to school and it does practically nothing to prepare them for college or the real world there is a problem. High school is the worst culprit for this. In elementary school you are at least learning some essential basics that are vital to be an educated adult. High school on the other hand is somewhat useless. At least to people like me.

I spent the majority of high school and middle school as well reading books instead of listening to the teacher and doing only a minimal amount of the homework that was assigned to me. I’m a bright girl though and I do wonderful on tests, especially multiple choice tests which most tests in high school are because the teacher doesn’t have to hand grade them but just put the scantron through a machine. Based on how hard I worked (more accurately, how hard I didn’t work) and how little homework I actually did, I should have failed most of my classes in high school.

The fact that of my four years in high school I never got a single F and only got a D in one semester of Honors English should cause people to pause and what is wrong with our education system. Now, I realize that there are honors programs and advanced placement classes that I could have enrolled in. The thing is that I was used to it being so easy for me that I didn’t want to take the hard classes.

Some people who had a harder time in college may be thinking that I have nothing to complain about. Perhaps they are thinking they would have loved to have just sat back all during school and passed for doing almost nothing. I admit it was nice at the time.

There were repercussions.

College is different. You have to be motivated and you have to work hard. There is no one calling your parents if you don’t go to class and there are no teachers or security guards standing around campus to make sure you don’t skip. You are responsible for making yourself go.

The work is hard. No matter what teachers tell you in high school, college is not merely listening to lectures and taking tests. I would love if that were so. If that were so I would be doing excellent in college. The truth though is that they do assign a lot of homework and give you little time to do it. On top of that there are the papers to write and the tests to take. These tests require studying in order to pass, unlike tests in high school for me.

I’m doing horrible in college. I’m not used to having to actually work for my grade and falling below par. I’m being dropped from classes and I’m failing classes and having to retake them. I’m ashamed of it, because I am smart. The classes aren’t even that hard.

Public school made me lazy.

Some of you may not be convinced and may believe that perhaps I’m just an inherently lazy person who is using this article to complain that for once in my life I have to actually work for something. Let me give you an example of the ineptitude of our education system.

There are a lot of books on tape these days. People usually listen to them in the car when they can’t actually read the book. There are a lot of tapes on books for children books. In lower grades such as first or second teachers sometimes play the tapes so that the children can read along.

My eleventh grade teacher had us read along to books on tapes. I should hope that provided the students don’t have disabilities or aren’t learning English as a second language or anything similar that by the ELEVENTH grade they would know how to read a book. I was able to read an entire chapter by the time the tape was done with a single page. Suffice it to say that I did not learn much in my time in that class.

Something needs to be done. There needs to be programs for students like me who are smarter then the average student. True, there is AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), which I was in during middle school and ninth grade. During middle school I was told it was for smarter students and it seemed to be true. In ninth grade however I discovered that is not really its purpose. AVID is for students with potential. These are students who are bright, but just need some help with study skills and things like that. In AVID class every student was required to have 2 questions for the tutors every single Tuesday and Thursday. I had to make mine up because there was nothing in my classes that I didn’t understand. We also had to have notes for every day, for every class we were in. Every class does not have something to take notes about every single day.

There are AP classes, but those are hard and cause a lot of stress for even the smartest students. There needs to be something in between. We need some sort of program where the classes are challenging and make you work for the grade but not be so hard that by the end of the year you’re completely burnt out from all the stress. At the very least high school classes should base a larger percent of the grade on homework and projects so that they truly are required in order to pass the class.

I’m sure this is not a nationwide problem (at least I certainly hope not). It is a problem though and one that needs remedying. I don’t want any more smart young adults like me ending up spending four years at a two year college.

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