The American education system is a massive subject for debate, and one which involves multiple angles to view it. Should we look at it through an economic lens? A political lens? Or even a psychological one? Even once you decide which lens to use to view the issue, each of these sciences is filled with a number of radically different and confusing perspectives that are usually difficult to wrap your head around without researching the issue in detail. So how do we know how to handle this?
Like anything in society, the structure of school should be at least partly determined by the opinions of those who work under it every day- in this case, students. What do the actual students think of this system that they spend most of their days being dictated by?
Some students take a fairly straightforward look at things. While all these students asked to remain anonymous, they’re all nonetheless distinguishable by their views on this divisive issue that affects each of them with the same acuteness, and yet leads them all to different views. One student, when asked about it, simply answered “Yeah, there’s definitely room for change. I don’t know a whole ton about how they’d go about that, though.” Embodying the views of most of the student body, this high schooler gives voice to the general sense of discontentedness that most students feel.
Other students take this vague, universal feeling of discontentedness to the next level, going so far as to offer specific revisions to the way that education is administered under the current structure. “I feel that most/all of the actual schoolwork handed out should be optional, with the final test being a majority of a grade, as that gives more power to the students and ultimately customizes their own learning a little bit better. In regard to the SAT/ACT, I disagree with them, yet at the same time feel that they are mandatory as I can’t accept the current state of GPA within schools (grades shouldn’t mean anything.) It should be more about student ETHIC and attitude towards learning, and their willingness to seek information out for themselves,” said another student.
Regardless of whether or not they’re correct, this shows us that the current methods of education are bringing about massive discontentedness within the student body, to the point that they’re actively seeking out potential alternatives and revisions. Shouldn’t this anger and discomfort alone warrant change? Students spend most of their time in school, after all, when they aren’t on break; shouldn’t they be able to feel comfortable and fulfilled in an environment they so often occupy?
In spite of all this, some students support the American way of education. “Well, I do believe in the American school system, but I think there could be some tiny bits of changes here and there.” While they acknowledge the need for change, they don’t advocate for the same radical overhaul as others.
While none of these perspectives are exactly the same, they all share a common desire to at least revise the American education system. Bringing things full circle, this begs the question: even though education can be viewed through so many different lenses, each one offering a multitude of perspectives and demanding a lot of learning, is it possible that we have an obligation to study the subject in spite of how confusing and difficult it may be? Education is what conditions the younger generations of our society for adulthood; if all of the youth are disgruntled and uncomfortable, what are we doing but training them to spend their lives that way? Training them to mindlessly submit to whoever it is that will replace the teachers and principals when they move into further society? Regardless of how this issue is addressed, the thing that matters at the end of the day is that it is at least addressed.