School: It matters.
What does being successful in education truly mean? It’s not just a letter on a piece of paper; a solid education means options. It means we have a choice of what to do when we graduate high school. Today, though, the sad truth is that over 30% of Americans will not have options, they will not have a choice of what to do because they won’t graduate.
For a nation that puts so much into providing exceptional education chances for our youth, the amount of students that simply do not care has become overwhelming. In 2006, studies show that on average, less than 70% of students graduated high school. In some cities, the graduation rate was under half. Approximately 1.2 million students drop out of high school per year. It may not seem to matter to the students who do work hard, but when half of your peers have decided to give up on their education, they are also giving up on you.
As a country, we work together to get jobs done, but with so many students dropping out, less and less jobs will be able to be filled due to lack of qualification. So eventually, employers will most likely have to start accepting less qualified individuals and in turn, the progression of the nation will be reversed. The U.S. is defiantly near the top in terms of educational opportunities. With public schooling, essentially every child has a chance to learn.
We are a country rich with colleges that explore all different interests. And yet, we are not taking advantage of our chances. If people think that getting good grades and trying in middle school and high school doesn’t matter; they are wrong. It does matter, and it does impact our future. Not only do our efforts in school determine what classes we will be taking, or what colleges we can get into, but also schooling teaches us responsibility.
We are taught to work hard, to stretch our minds and ask questions, to study and turn work in. What it all comes down to is that education is probably the most important thing for our futures. In places all around the world, like the Middle East and Africa, education lacks much quality. Schools do not have funding; therefore students are left to write their lessons in the dirt, to sit in a classroom with children five years younger than them, and teachers are left will salaries less that one dollar a day. Yet they still have a passion for learning.
We have all heard stories about the children in Africa who walk miles and miles just to get to school everyday so they may learn basic skills like reading and writing that many adults they know do not have. But in the U.S., school is certainly not treated at something so sacred. For the most part, it has almost become more of a chore than a privilege.
Some consider it a waste of time. I can’t help but wonder what a better use of time it could be then to spend half of the day learning about all different subjects and skills that will benefit us in our future. As students, when we don’t try, we are not only giving up on our peers and ourselves. We are giving up on our teachers as well. The same teachers that spend countless hours of their time preparing lessons, grading papers, teaching classes, and making sure all students are performing to what they are capable of. The same teachers that don’t get paid half of what they deserve.
But still, they come in, five days a week, despite the attitudes of teenagers, to pass the knowledge into us that we will need in able to reach our goals. Of course, over 30% of us repay them real well. “Thanks so much teachers, for wasting such a large fraction of your life feeding us information that we decided to flush down the drain!” As an 8th grader, I am aware that many students don’t feel like it should matter at this age because after all, colleges only really care about high school grades and credits. However, if you don’t pay attention in middle school, don’t do your work, don’t take in any of the information, how do you expect to be successful in high school? If middle school really didn’t matter, it wouldn’t exist. It is here to prepare students for high school and the studies and work that will happen there. If students aren’t responsible in middle school, there is no way they will be able to make it once they move on to 9th grade.
All over the world, there are millions of children eager to learn. Children that have hope, even though they may not even have the basic necessities of life. So I question, where has our passion gone? Why does education seem to not matter anymore? As a country that does so much to make sure that it’s students are taught well and put through good schooling, it is infuriating that students don’t take advantage of it because they don’t care, because it doesn’t matter. It does matter, and it’s time for all students to put effort into their education because the future of this country and the world relies on our generation. It’s time to step up.