The Flaws of Today's Education System

Today’s education system is deeply flawed. The education system’s attempt to conform the way students think and control every aspect of their learning and life is causing more harm than good. Schools today are falling away from the true focus of education.

Americans are replacing effective teaching with needless and tedious assignments, only to overwork students. Since when is staying up until one in the morning doing busy work more valuable than having free time to explore passions and learning life lessons through experience? Schools today are not preparing students to be lifelong learners and successful participants in the real world at an adequate level. Schools kill creativity. Students are not given possibilities to explore their areas of interest deeply, as they are forced to follow an extremely structured course of education. Ideas that do not fit within assignment guidelines are shot down and disregarded. Many students cannot succeed in this rigid system that limits their curious natures and personal passions.

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In his TED talk “How Schools Kill Creativity”, Ken Robinson talks about a girl who struggled in school. Her ability to focus and grades were not great. But she loved to dance. She learned best when she was moving, which schools restrict. Because of this, she transferred to a dance school where she became a successful and eventually professional dancer.

If she had continued attending a regular school, she would not have been able to succeed to that extent later in life due to the boundaries school set around how students learn. These restrictions can prevent learning more than they inhibit it in many cases. They cause students to lose their natural creativity and conform to dull, meaningless standards. In this way, schools often prevent students from flourishing to their maximum potential. The education system is too controlling over students.

Schools prevent students from growing and learning at their own pace, as intended in nature. Students are forced to change their motives to attaining good grades over learning at their own speed for their own benefit and personal fulfillment. The pressure from schools to keep up and follow the rigid schedule that is loaded with an abundance of work leaves students scurrying to get things done. The repercussion is a short fall in quality. Students scratch out work in order to complete tasks at the lowest quality possible while still attaining a solid grade.

The demand of the education system for students to excel in grades and scores so they will be accepted into highly regarded colleges causes students to do their work solely to achieve these high grades and scores, rather than with the honest intent to learn. In his essay “Education”, Ralph Waldo Emerson speaks of how students need patience and freedom of opportunity and ideas to become educated. Students learn best with an illimitable soul, searching to grow in understanding and discover new things. Emerson writes, “Now the correction of this quack practice is to import into Education the wisdom of life. Leave this military hurry and adapt the pace of Nature.

Her secret is patience.” If these tactics were applied rather than the current system, students could follow their natural passions rather than doing work for the wrong reasons. A by-product of today’s education agenda is health problems in students. Extreme pressure, lack of sleep, and piles of work are causing kids to crack. No student can be successful if he or she is not healthy. To be healthy, family and friends, and extracurricular activities should be valued in addition to education, but schools are not allowing students time for these things.

Students can learn just as much about themselves and the world from real life experiences versus structured courses in school. The film “Race to Nowhere” by Vicki Abeles talks about how one girl gets stomach aches from stress. She is also sleep deprived on account of large, unreasonable amounts of homework. Additionally, it tells of a 13-year-old girl who committed suicide. It is thought her reason for killing herself was insurmountable pressure from school. Her math class was difficult for her and she was not getting the grades she desired.

School should never play a factor in someone’s death. For these reasons, along with various others, the education system is functioning poorly. Students are not becoming life-long learners because their creativity and love of learning is stifled. They are not being prepared to be successful participants in the real world, because their drive is not towards becoming more knowledgeable, but towards attaining superficial titles or awards. The highly competitive environment of schools misguides students to want to have great grades rather than discovering the answers to their innate curiosities.

The pressure to succeed in work-heavy, difficult classes can result in compromised health and high amounts of stress. This is not how education should be. Students should be guided to become the optimal, personalized version of themselves, not limited to being defined by grades and their struggle succeeding in a flawed education system.