The problem with American Education

by fredwardwilhelm

Recently at MHS we had class pull out meetings where we talked about among other things how this is the last year to impress, college visits and getting ready for senior year. However what stuck with me the most was when we were told to “take a break” every once in a while and how “grades aren’t more important than your health” and that “you should “get a good nights sleep.” Well my friends at MHS let me make this as clear as possible so your can understand. That. Is. Not. Possible. and  also: You. Are. So. Hypocritical.

Many students strive to have the best grades possible and to boost our GPAs by loading up on AP and Honors courses. This in my opinion is not a bad thing, students should push themselves to be the very best that they can be. I myself am currently in 3 AP classes and an Honors course. However when we talk about classes such as AP Chem and Bio it leads many students- or from what I can see- to the brink of insanity. Finding molar masses and chemical reactions are all fun and games until we see all these kids have hours upon hours of homework for a SINGLE class. From what I can tell the kids who do double up on AP Chem and Bio are constantly working on just that. Chem or Bio. Giving them no time to “take a break” or “get a good nights sleep” and by doing this making it nearly impossible to put “your health before grades.”

Now given, these students all sign up for these courses, but an should they really be allowed to? I have multiple friends staying up and saying how they only get 2-3 hours  sleep because they decide to load up on AP classes. This is not ok and this needs to be fixed before MHS becomes a highschool MIT- which may sound like a good thing until you realize MIT has the highest suicide rate out of all US colleges. It should not be in the hands of the students to choose to take 6 AP classes to get their GPA to be higher than the next person’s. Now I may be ranting on and on about how much kids challenge themselves to be Valedictorian or whatever. But I will offer what I believe to be the best option.

In Spain (yes classic Freddie bringing up another european country) has a system in which students can choose to study math and science or language and history. Now this sort of system implemented at MHS would allow students to truly study a path they enjoy. While at the same time eliminating the ability to load up on 6 AP classes. I know plenty of students who would rather cut out the english and history or the math and science and focus on the other solely. I know that I would personally love to never take a higher level math of science course again. For example a typical junior under this system may take AP Chem and Bio and honors Precalc while taking regular english and government, or on the other side AP Gov and Comp with Algebra 2 and chemistry. Now no system is obviously perfect and I truly believe that just implementing this system does not solve every problem, but it’s at least a start.

To fix these problems we once again look at european nations. Many countries in Europe (Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Spain, etc.) have better education than us. Some key factors for this include, incentives for becoming a teacher, separation of school and sports/arts, and little to no homework.

Incentives for teaching, in America we pay high school teachers a pathetic amount of money, being around 45k a year. To put this in perspectives Butlers, Toll booth workers and Strippers all make more money than teachers. Let me tell you that is disgusting. If we gave more money to our teachers we would not only reach higher education standards but we would also have less teen suicides and just better teaching in general. If teachers were paid more there would be so many people who would want to be teachers which creates 1 more competition which would result in teachers TRYING to teach students and not pull some harkness method crap our way because guess what you’re a TEACHer. If teachers were paid more then it would greatly increase the chance of them doing their job.

Separation of school and extracurricular activities, as someone who is part of Speech and Debate, Cross Country, Student Government, and more. I believe education would be far better off if we kept these sort of things separate. Now there are so many opportunities outside of school to be a part of a music group or play club soccer whatever. Why do we need extracurricular activities. Now I’m not going against extracurriculars it’s a great way for extra competition or to alleviate stress. But when mixed with school it can cause a mentality of the sport/club/activity being more important than school resulting in lower grades and poor performance. Getting these things outside the school do not completely eliminate the problem I know. But they help to resolve it. Just ask any country with better education than the United States!

Finally I end with this little to no homework. Now I may sound like a lazy teenager who doesn’t want homework. But hey, I at least do my homework! Now we once again look at european countries such as Denmark and Sweden who give their students little to no homework. These students have less stress and can actually have fun after school is out and focus on their other activities rather than juggling their time. This method leaves students under less stress allows them to get more rest and it doesn’t brainwash them because they don’t learn at home. They still study for their next test or quiz at home which yes takes time out of their day but it allows them to take a stronger hold over their education. Rather than constant repetition of something a student already knows it can allow a student to study at their own pace and not stay up till 4am doing homework.

To finish this blog I want to add a few more things that I don’t feel need to but reasoning behind. School starting later, less classes, quarters and year long school. I feel as if these things would help to bring the United States back to the TOP in terms of education along with lower college tuition interest and tuition free public colleges for those who meet requirements. (If you wanna fight me on the whole “free college” thing you will lose bc I actually know what I’m talking about.) Good bye all.