How the Educational System can Stop Reducing Students to a Letter

My day yesterday consisted of having a life and responsibilities up until about noon, when I committed to writing as many gosh darn essays for the Common Application as I possibly could before the day ended. Five essays and four episodes of Doctor Who later, I had denounced misandry and misogyny, written three separate essays on why a Sociology degree was a good choice for me even though I have no clue what to do with my life hahahahahahah, and eventually solved the issue I’ve had for the past few years with the educational system, which will be introduced as a rant and solved through theory as best as I possibly can with the words available to me.

Here’s the issue I have with the school systems: The value placed on GPA and letter grades, also known as numbers and letters that are labeling students based on their ability to retain and regurgitate information, is higher than the value placed on each individual’s intelligence and ability to cognitively process ideas and artistic concepts. Some of the most creative people I know-people who are bound to succeed artistically, musically, mechanically, etc. etc. etc. are the ones failing classes because their minds are ruled differently than those who can easily conform to the system that has been set in place.

I, for one, am a conformist. Fortunately, most academics flow a little easier for me than for some, so I can’t even imagine the anxiety and stress levels of those who work tirelessly for their grades. I’m always in the running in the pursuit for perfection-though the finish line is always static, three feet in front of me, and the road I’m running on is more of a treadmill than anything that ever lets me get any closer to the goal-and for those who share my sentiment, we’re not really stoked for what the real world holds because we don’t have letter grades and GPAs once we have careers. We have bills, student loans, and other miscellaneous costs we have to manage, and these things they don’t teach you in school. Once I graduate college, I’ll be able to recite what SOH CAH TOA means from memory, but Lord knows I won’t be able to change a tire. Sure, I can have someone teach me outside of class, but that’s true for most anything. The point here is that basic necessities we must know to live and function in society aren’t taught in schools and that what we are taught in schools is taught so generically that those who could be artistic prodigies, athletic phenomenons, or even the next Henry Ford/Benjamin Franklin/Thomas Edison are just thrown away with the trash. Sure, it’s true that some people just don’t try, but has anyone ever considered that maybe they don’t try because they can’t? That maybe it just so happens that some people have a harder time than others learning the same material because everyone learns differently? WOW! What a coNCEPT!

I don’t think everyone’s academic functionality should be judged the same way if we all don’t learn the same way. For some crazy reason, that just makes sense to me.

It also makes sense to me that if there is an issue, there should be a proposed solution to said problem. I’m not the kind of person who likes to complain without considering the fact that I could probably do something about it if I put my mind to it. Thanks, Kindergarten. You helped me learn things that are actually useful.

There was some slight difficulty on my behalf when concocting this solution because everything I originally believed would solve this nation’s educational issues pointed toward a society reminiscent of Veronica Roth’s Divergent and I’m not about to feel responsible for the separation and consequent uprising of a large community. That sort of Socialist nation would not be something I’d be proud to create.

But then, it hit me. I propose that we administer a test to students at a young age that does not categorize them into the smart, average, or struggling boxes, but categorizes them into niches, based on how best they learn. It would be a sort of Kent Career Tech Center type deal, but without the conscious choice. We would have to administer the test at an age where each individual student has matured enough to be self-actualized in their approach to life and schooling so that their learning style is static, but not so much so that they can skew their results with worry or pressure. This sort of borderline maturity would have to be decided by a psychiatrist on an individual scale due to the various rates us human beings decide we’ll ‘grow up’ at. It’s common knowledge that there’s a 2-year splice between the maturity of males and females, but that grouping is too generalized. If we are to improve the educational system for all students, all students need to be prioritized.

From this point in the process, students would ‘graduate’ the basic schooling that they are being provided with, separate into the school with the correct style of teaching that it has been found they thrive with, and then carry on with their lives while having the nurturing environment that will help their strengths blossom and their weaknesses improve.

No doubt, there would be adversaries to this proposed ideal. I predict that their worries would be similar to those who don’t support modern home-schooling: “Where do you find the diversity?”, “How do the children learn social skills?”, “How do you avoid spoiling the students?”, along with a more nationwide issue of, “How much will this cost?”

Here’s what I say.

The diversity is found in the students themselves. The only synthesized similarity between the students would be their learning style-all other similarities would be by happy chance. The diversity is there, but comprehension would aid in their cooperation. Social skills would be learned exactly as they are today. Our personalities do not dictate the style by which we learn the best, and vice-versa. The students would be met with the same amount of ease or difficulty they would have had creating friendships during a traditional schooling. As for spoiling the students? I believe there is no such thing. We provide services-and at most, medication-to those with physical and/or mental ailments. There is no medication that can align a child’s niches to those that are idealized by the education system of today, but we can treat an ailing student the same way as we treat an ailing human being.

The cost factor would, no doubt, be extensive and a large issue, especially in our nation’s time of economic struggle. However, it does seem as though our push for perfection academically is intensifying, and I believe that we would eventually create a list of pros intensively longer and more relevant than that of the cons in deciding how to best spend our nation’s money. I dunno, but spending it on the next generation to run said country seems like a pretty good investment to me.

But yes, these things are the sort of things I think about. I want to fix this, and no matter how problematic this could turn out to be in the long run (I have, no doubt, overlooked many different issues that with more thought would/will become apparent), I’m happier thinking that eventually, maybe, we can improve how things work and help ourselves help ourselves.

Much love,

Quinn.

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