American Education Sucks

<p>This was written by a valedictorian from a high school. She can see the traps of the American Education System.</p>

<p>Please have some patience, and read this amazing Valedictorian speech.</p>

<p>America</a> Via Erica: Coxsackie-Athens Valedictorian Speech 2010</p>

<p>If I had to sit through that tripe, I'd be more than a little annoyed. But I guess that's one of the perks to being vally.</p>

<p>^How is it tripe?</p>

<p>She doesn't "see the traps of the American Education System." She spews out some crap about how school must discourage passion and critical thinking because she wasn't passionate and just ground out being valedictorian. She exaggerates and misrepresents the issue. School doesn't preclude free thought unless you think it does. Feel free to challenge your teachers with difficult questions. Sorry if rote memorization is one part of the process.</p>

<p>Also, nobody wants to hear about it on their graduation day. I don't understand what she's upset about, she got what she wanted, no?</p>

<p>So true, it's so flawed. Get rid of grades and just let kids learn.</p>

<p>
[quote]
We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class.

[/quote]

Hmm... well, isn't this what she focused so hard on? She is graduating as first in the class.</p>

<p>
[quote]
“Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn't you learn something? Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have.

[/quote]

So, she admits that she isn't as smart as she could be.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination.

[/quote]

Then don't be proud. You don't have to go to college. Just stay at home and ponder away at the "flaws" of the American educational system.</p>

<p>
[quote]
While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker.

[/quote]

Tell me... how does taking notes help you become a good test taker?</p>

<p>
[quote]
I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I'm scared.

[/quote]

Well, apparently you didn't take something out of high school that pretty much almost everyone else has. You skepticism has led to you not believing in any system whatsoever. You loss, not mine.</p>

<p>
[quote]
We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt.

[/quote]

I don't know about you, but I certainly wasn't trained to ace every standardized test; I was trained to master the material. And apparently now, if you aren't good at taking tests, you will be held in contempt by every single educational institution. Give me a break.</p>

<p>And she goes on... and on...
If, according to her, all she "learned" was to memorize how to ace standardized tests, who wrote this speech? It couldn't have been her? After all, once again, according to her, she didn't learn anything. She just learned how to follow directions and ace tests.</p>

<p>This is beyond stupid, school didn't quell her passion, she did herself by allowing herself to develop that mindset.</p>

<p>All of you are stating that it is her fault that she hasn't gotten much out of high school, but I will ask you this: you all are extremely active members of a website that encourages perfect scores and 4.0 GPAs and 4 million awards and extracurriculars. You claim to know more than she, but do you really?</p>

<p>If you know the allegory of the cave, you will understand what I mean when I say that high school (for the most part) keeps us in a cave, stifling our knowledge and keeping it limited. Teachers do not expand on the basic knowledge because they believe students are not ready for it, but I believe we have been conditioned to be that way since elementary school. Teachers teach to the test, not to expand our minds. We are in for quite a shock when we leave our caves.</p>

<p>There's no question that the emphasis on standardized testing is a problem.

[quote]
You claim to know more than she, but do you really?

[/quote]
Believe it or not, it really is up to the student. My GPA could be higher. I work hard on my assignments (and I put in a full effort into even things that won't be looked at by the teacher), but I typically forgo extra credit because I don't really mind getting an A instead of an A+. In AP Chem we were allowed to check our problem sets in the answer book before turning them in. Pretty simple way to ensure a perfect score, essentially curving your grade. But then my homework doesn't demonstrate my capabilities to do chemistry, just my ability to attempt chemistry and fix my mistakes by copying the solution.</p>

<p>You can be passionate in high school. I would say I'm passionate about English. I have friends who are passionate about different subjects. And then I have friends who take the easiest route to an A+ and don't really care about any subject.

[quote]
If you know the allegory of the cave, you will understand what I mean when I say that high school (for the most part) keeps us in a cave, stifling our knowledge and keeping it limited. Teachers do not expand on the basic knowledge because they believe students are not ready for it, but I believe we have been conditioned to be that way since elementary school.

[/quote]
This is the kind of conspiratorial postulation that always accompanies criticism of the school system. This is what I mean about exaggerating and misrepresenting the problem.</p>

<p>There will always be exceptions, of course. I've had some really good teachers that allowed me a lot of freedom to learn. My psychology teacher is an example. He was one of the best teachers that I've ever had, and I learned so much in that class. Our tests were always curved so that if we missed a few things, it wasn't a big deal. And during some units, we didn't even have a test. That class was truly about learning. I got a 5, I did not study, and I still remember everything I learned. </p>

<p>My hostility towards public education likely comes from my teachers' lack of enthusiasm about teaching. It's a cycle. Students become bored, so teachers no longer want to teach. </p>

<p>A perfect example: Last year, I took APWH. My teacher was excellent, and I considered her to be one of the best history teachers I'd ever had. During the first two months of school, I learned so much about early Meso cultures, China, and India. I was extremely optimistic about the rest of the year, but then her husband contracted a serious illness and she was forced to resign. Her replacement was exactly the kind of teacher that restricts young minds. What she would do is lecture and put random facts about that era on the white board, then give us a test from our textbook with specific questions that she didn't teach us about. She didn't see this as a failure on her part. She saw it as "all my students want to do is get an A so I'll give them tests they can memorize and then give them those tests to take". I didn't learn anything. I got a 3 on that exam, by using what little knowledge I had retained from the beginning of the year, and outside previous knowledge. </p>

<p>While every teacher is obviously not like that, I've come across a lot. I just think the education system is flawed and I don't know why someone would become an educator if they didn't want to expand young minds. </p>

<p>I also have a bit of a bad attitude toward education because my mom was fired from her job as a teacher because she was trying to do exactly what we all want our teachers to do: teach us, broaden our spectrums, inspire us. The school district she was in taught to the test. And she didn't want to, so they fired her. I have heard this story too many times to ignore it.</p>

<p>We're on the same page, then.
[quote]
My hostility towards public education likely comes from my teachers' lack of enthusiasm about teaching...I just think the education system is flawed and I don't know why someone would become an educator if they didn't want to expand young minds.

[/quote]
I have no respect for teachers who don't care about teaching, and I've had a handful of them. The problem I've noticed with this is that, fairly often, it means the teacher doesn't care much about grading or even reading homework, so students learn nothing just because they can get away with subpar work.</p>

<p>I've had similar experiences with teachers. I've had some really inspiring teachers. Others have been quite awful. But at the point I'm at now (as a rising senior), I do feel inspired, passionate, and capable of critical thinking, so I don't feel right slamming the education system (granted that I attend a private school, but it probably bears more similarity with a decent public district than an elite boarding school).</p>

<p>Part of it is not wasting a class just because the teacher is bad. I go to a Catholic school, so I not only take a religion class every year but also deal with other classes that are infused with Catholic pride. The religion classes aren't honors, but I can spend them trying to think of arguments against what the teacher is saying, or by validating beliefs that are generally accepted, which winds up being an exercise in critical thinking.</p>

<p>"I just realized that I wasted the last four years of my life, and now I'm going to make all of you listen to me talk about it."</p>

<p>And here I thought this thread would be about something important, like failing inner city schools.</p>

<p>I definitely agree with you, notanengineer. I have definite interests, but only because of very few teachers that dared to push me, as well as my friends that like to think and learn as much as I do. </p>

<p>As far as the private school thing goes, I would say that someone who went to a private school probably got a better education than someone who went to public school. I went to private school for 3 years in elementary school, which put me ahead when I started public middle school in 6th grade, but in 8th grade, I met a large group of students who came from a K-7 school. Their minds were obviously expanded far beyond mine. I think education could definitely be proved, as long as funding isn't cut.</p>

<p>@Dolorous- How is failing American education, whether in an inner-city school, or in a suburb not important?</p>

<p>
[quote]
@Dolorous- How is failing American education, whether in an inner-city school, or in a suburb not important?

[/quote]

Except this isn't failing education, it's just some girl in a good school who realized that instead of learning what she wanted and having fun, she played the game a little too much, and now she's blaming the school. She had a good education, she just didn't enjoy it.</p>

<p>Conversely, the inner city poor schools are actually failing, contributing to the cyclical nature of poverty. Affluent students in the suburb competing for a meaningless title, or poverty perpetuated by failing inner city schools, which is an actual failing of the system, and which is just some spoiled brats gunning for #1?</p>

<p>Dolorous, what has been your experience with the education system?</p>

<p>I must say, that's a rather overmilked subject. And doesn't make for a very encouraging graduation speech.<br>
Our valedictorian address was far more entertaining. It was about how the repainting of the school changed his life. ;) I'd prefer that over a rant of the American education system.</p>

<p>Let's face it. School does not prepare you for life. Sure, basic writing skills, and arithmetic is something we all need, but whatever our passions are, the schools are not trying to develop and let it flourish. Because the mindset "let's teach the children what they need, and work with every child individually to develop their strengths(which is virtually impossible in any public school today)" is abandoned,we want to teach a bunch of robots how to "master" the material, and give them a test to take which eventually equals nothing in life.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Dolorous, what has been your experience with the education system?

[/quote]

My school zone was a range from working-class to rich, though the concentration of the wealthy in a couple towns meant that it was a fairly well-off district.</p>