Most would agree that part of the reason you attend college today is due to the idea being pushed upon us at such an early age. When meeting with teacher and guidance counselors, they’ll hammer home how important it is to get a college education. While research has shown that a college education isn’t always necessary, we are told time and time again about the importance of college. Yet, early education doesn’t really prepare us for the four years of stress and debt.
Across the board, the public school system’s curriculum provides little room for students to build life skills outside of academics. The lesson plans are cookie-cutter and bland, tailored to fit a broad audience and look fancy. While great test scores look impressive to school boards, this does not prepare students whose interests lie outside the classroom environment.
In recent years, the approach to teaching math and language arts has changed to a more “holistic” approach. While some of us can remember memorizing math facts, spelling words and grammar tests, the reality is these are not common today. Students are taught why to multiply and the theory behind it, but are not forced to memorize the basics.
This practice can actual harm those who have a hard time with math. The glory of the “Plug and Chug” method was that while it required memorization, it always worked. No matter the math problem, knowing the basic rules of algebra could get you through it. Now students are taught to identify the problem, but without memorizing the basics, it goes in one ear and out the other.
The same holds true for spelling and grammar. For as painful as it was to memorize spelling words and when to use a comma, it made students better writers. Now, teachers have said that students don’t need to worry so much about their language skills because “there is always spell check.”
That is great and all, but what about handwritten communication? What happens to those students who learn to rely on a system to tell them when their wrong as opposed to identifying it themselves? You get college students who are unable to draft emails to professors without using the wrong “there.” It makes those 12 years students spend in the education system seem like a waste.
Not only did they do nothing they were passionate about, but also their basic communication skills are mediocre, and they are now being expected to fork out thousands of dollars into a poorly prepared for experience in higher education. If you think about it, most people go to colleges a few hours away from their families, so it would be beneficial for them to know things like how to change a tire, budgeting and taxes so they can be better prepared for life after high school. Not everyone has that kind of support at home.
While it is not the role of the education system to get as many kids to go to college as possible, the least it could do is give everyone the basics and offer opportunities for other careers. Many kids go straight into the workforce, the military or trade schools. In the end, college isn’t mandatory, but much of our early education makes students feel that there’s no way to succeed in life without it.
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