Come to school, wear the same thing as your peers, recite the national anthem, sit down, absorb useless information, recite useless information back, go home, absorb more useless information, rinse, repeat.
The modern American education system is not breeding independent thinkers or individuals that are prepared to be self-sufficient. It breeds robots, people who can only memorize facts, not process information and come up with their own original ideas. The majority of the curriculum taught in secondary schools is completely useless once that diploma is handed out. All of those equations, historical dates and names, elements on the periodic table and state capitals don’t matter any more. Unless you plan on becoming a professional trivia player, these facts are completely useless outside of high school.
With this being said, secondary education is necessary for teaching students to be literate and grammatically correct, as well as being able to do basic everyday math. But these skills can be taught within the first two years of high school, and any upper levels of these classes should be optional, not mandatory. Basic skills should be the main focus in the curriculum, as those are the most frequently used after high school.
Modern education does not live up to it’s name, as it hasn’t had a face lift in decades. Times are changing, and there are so many advances in technology that have altered the way “the real world” works, yet schools haven’t seemed to grasp that concept. Besides the use of the occasional iPad in class used to answer polls and questions, students are still being taught nearly the same curriculum now as they were in the past. Advancements in technology have changed the way people live, think and function. America no longer needs an education system that teaches memorization skills. America needs schools that focus on teaching more life skills like how to manage finances, how to do taxes, computer literacy and resume building. These skills are far more important for young adults to learn if they want to start out their independent lives as successfully as possible.
There is debate as to whether or not it is the parents’ job to teach these life skills to their children. However, there are many children whose parents are not well versed in survival skills such as money management and interview skills, so they would be doing their children a disservice by trying to teach them these things themselves. It is arguable that these skills are equally as, if not more important, than quadratic equations and every war in the last 500 years. So why not place the task of teaching these things to your children in the hands of someone who is qualified and trained to do so?
The amount of time that is wasted on teaching a curriculum that is obsolete could be utilized in a much more proactive and practical way. However, the system is so rigid and has not changed in so long, that making any adjustments would mean admitting that the logic is flawed.
A common goal that is preached in schools throughout America is that the schools want to make sure that every student is ready for college. The way that this goal is “achieved” (or attempted to be achieved) is through presenting the same curriculum to the students. There is not enough diversity in the way subjects are taught, or even the types of subjects taught. Each student is different, and while it would take more money, time and effort (yes, effort) to specify the individual needs of the students, the outcome would far succeed the sacrifices. Specifically, America should look into expanding a vocational track once students reach high school. Not every student wants to or is able to attend higher education schools, so they should have the same opportunity to get a job straight out of school as well. Students are far more likely to feel like failures or disappointments if they do not do well in comparison to their fellow classmates, but this is something that could be easily avoided.
On top of being taught mostly useless information, high school students are being trained to behave like factory workers. This method of education would make sense if it was still the industrial era, but again, times are changing. Schools run on a bell system, very similar to that of a factory or assembly line. There are no time management skills, the students and teachers are told exactly when they need to move from one class/task to the next. Students are also on a strict “do not speak unless spoken to” regimine, much like assembly workers.
This method of education is just plainly outdated and does not meet the modern student’s needs. Today’s schools train their students to be able to take tests, memorize and recite facts, and perform tasks on a set schedule. It is not producing students that are independent, critical thinkers, which is what America really needs. This is a time of innovators, not yes-men and yes-women who question nothing.