What students should be learning


By Maddie Baker

Illustrated by Maddie Baker
Illustrated by Maddie Baker

Education is important. The level of education that people receive determines the rest of their lives. In the United States, education is so important that children are required by law to receive a public or private education for at least 12 years. Schools claim they want to help students better themselves and grow as functioning humans in the “real world;”  however, they are tied down by systems like Common Core. There has been a growing generation of students and teachers who believe that the American school system can be improved by reevaluating Common Core and the effectiveness of standardized tests.

The way that lessons are taught does not aim for long-term memorization. Lessons are taught in a way that students only memorize the material, regurgitate it for the test, then forget it by the next unit. Everything should be taught so students understand the material instead of just cramming for the next test. There will always be some information that needs to be memorized, like the alphabet, problem-solving and skill development should be daily classroom exercises in place of memorizing trivia.

Busy work is not a necessary element in schools. Teens should not be hospitalized for panic attacks due to crippling anxiety over how much schoolwork they have. The paradox in having to stay at home because students have too much homework is that now they have mountains of makeup work to look forward to when they finish the IV drip. Four quizzes, three projects, three essays, six worksheets, and eight pages of notes is not an unrealistic expectation for students to anticipate if they are absent for only one day.

Not every student has the same strengths and weaknesses nor the same interests. The public school system is currently a “one size fits all.” Instead, schools should tailor the needs of the individual based on what that person is good at and cares about, changing it as needed. Teens feel stupid for getting low grades in classes that don’t hold their attention or aren’t applicable in their desired career field: this problem is especially prevalent for students who don’t excel at math or science in an increasingly STEM-based society.

Standardized testing is not a necessary element in schools. It is a sad day when a student’s worth is reduced to a string of test scores and percentages. That day is today for every American student. Standardized testing doesn’t benefit students in any way, shape, or form. It takes away from class time where students could be actually learning. Many of the questions on the test aren’t even content related; they are just testing to see if students can decipher over complicated questions from convoluted wording and excess information.

Schools are utilizing a system designed for another time and another society. Education should grow and develop as society does beyond updating textbooks. Teens today are woefully unprepared for life on their own because for 12 years they have been taught how to act and think. Students deserve an education that prepares them for life outside of school, not an institution that makes them hate learning and fear growing up.