Recently there has been quite the hubbub in central Florida school system about the half-cent tax and frankly it was pointless. What’s the point of funding a system that doesn’t work? I mean yea having AC units that work and buses ( Oh wait we already got rid of that) are great, but the foundation of the education being provided from the schools is inherently flawed. A few notes before this rant gets started. I am writing this from both the perspective of a test subject and some one with a tad bit if knowledge behind the science of teaching someone. This rant/paper/essay is specifically about the schools in Brevard county in case you have yet to conjecture that. I will mainly be focusing on the fields of science and English in this paper because this is where I have found myself most displeased.
Scienceis a field I feel gets (excuse my french) shaft most out of all the subjects. First of all you don’t get any real education about science till 4th grade and even then its just crammed in so you can pass the FCAT ( at least it was still the FCAT back in my day). Up until 4th grade you rarely get any exposure to science except for the occasional “lab” thrown in and that is only if your elementary school teacher wants to. Next on the semi long list of things wrong with our education is the “Science fair”. Now there are several benefits of doing science fair such as: teaching the scientific method, teaching the scientific method, trying to teaching the scientific method, getting kids excited for science then immediately crushing that excitement by producing a science fair so step based that it is completely unlike the over glorified science fairs you see on kids TV shows. From the start kids are mislead to think that science fairs are a fun place to show off your cool gadgets you created with science, by TV shows and books. This is really sad because the stereotypical science fair perpetuated by TV is just so cool. What kid wouldn’t want to make a potato gun or baking soda volcano, both of these would be incredibly hard to incorporate into a science fair project for the school system. Finally, I would like to address the order in which things are taught, which in my opinion is just absolutely brilliant (sarcasm to the highest degree). In 4th grade we are taught a plethora of things about the ecosystem and since we live in Florida we had the chance to experience the brackish water ecosystem first hand( which was really cool). And then 5 years later in 9th grade we have the opportunity to take biology (for some 8th and for some 10th) which in my humble opinion was basically 4th grade.In biology you learn pretty much the exact same thing you do in 4th grade except with a little bit more elaboration the only major exception being DNA, but you learn that in 7th grade. You also learn about atom structure in 7th grade which is something you later learn to be completely outdated in chemistry (which is typically taken 3 years later). This continues on in 8th grade when you teach you more information that you will proceed to forget and relearn later on. Now I have nothing against learning the basics of something the year before (like pre-calc then you take calculus), however I do have a problem with learning something 5 years in advance, that’s just idiotic.
Now onto English, specifically writing. Back when the FCAT was a thing in elementary school they taught you the basic formula for acing the FCAT writes. Then later in middle school they told you how elementary that method was and taught you a completely different one (This happens twice in middle school, but writing really isn’t focused on that much until 8th again because of the FCAT). This just slightly similar to science in which they over write previous teachings. And then guess what happens again in high school, they teach you a completely new method of writing. And to top it all off the methods they are teaching you are completely contradictory of the literature they are forcing you to read. As time passes on you accumulate this concept of good literature and then in the classroom you are forced to write in a format that is not at all akin to the good literature you have been reading. Now granted you’re not writing full books, but the style is still different. And the topics they force you to write about are completely lacking inspiration material. So far in high school I’ve had to write about artificial intelligence (sounds cooler than it was), Civil War era clothing/ clothing design throughout history and “change”. These topics are not exactly thought provoking and just made me detest writing assignments more than I previously did.
Now all these could be fixed easily if the district wen’t so ornery. They could change the curriculum to be continues and flow like education should, not teaching something then either reteaching it later or teaching a new version because the last one was incorrect, but they don’t. Right now even when they are making changes they are not taking in advice from people who have actually seen what’s going on, mainly teachers. This is most clearly seen by the recent addition of EOC’s for EVERY class excluding AP classes of course( this even includes band and orchestra). I have yet to see a teacher that is pleased by this addition and if anything they just made themselves more work. But all this should be taken with a grain of salt as I am merely a high school student and by the transitive property and School board logic my opinion and any facts I point out are invalid and but those of an insolent child.