School: Called ‘Lower Education’ with Good Reason

School is a big part of many problems, perhaps the biggest part, and one major costless thing that can be done, other than removing it’s compulsory attendance -which I strongly advocate-, to improve education in general is to make it required for schools to have adequate advancement programs. Programs, that allow those capable, to either complete at an accelerated rate or skip entirely sections of the curriculum. Credit by exam is a concept public school should make real use of. School moves rather slowly for some and as a result they lose interest, sleep a lot, and spend a great deal of time indulging in less than educational activities. This greatly weakens their ability to learn anything meaningful in that setting. If massive room for improvement existed along with an incentive to complete assignments, such as the possibility of completing school years early, it would help students significantly. The majority of students correctly feel that hard work in school is a waste of effort considering that no matter how hard they work without some sort of special exemption the education process will consume an equal amount of their time. Given that the natural human tendency is to lessen the amount of work they do, most students seek to “coast” through that time expending as little effort as possible. There is no goal for them. I think that if speed were a factor, as well as endurance, it would teach the students a lot more about life in general. Take the private sector for example, an employee is slated to advance through promotion, but in a student’s life there is no promotion of any real kind, just entry into more difficult classes, which speed up the overall educational process not one whit. We must make school more like the world since its charter is to prepare children for it, and as a result students will enter it with a feeling of preparedness rather than the near culture shock they now are obliged to deal with. This approach would have a great many advantages, not the least of which being, the impact on over population in schools. If the more advanced students were allowed to graduate early and the concept of “social promotion” were abandoned, then the students who needed help would have the extra attention they require to absorb the information, and the advanced students would be free of distraction and allowed to rise to their full potential. Students would have none of the embarrassment of asking questions, because they would know that the people around them are level with them on the playing field.

We all know someone who is gifted, someone who simply absorbs information naturally and easily, the one who eventually stops answering questions in class out of guilt, and we also know the inverse of this situation, some poor soul who can barely read. Now who other than a person with a vested interest in overcrowded schools that don't even provide safety, much less education, could possibly demand with a straight face that these two types of learners attend the same grades for the same amount of time. The system is happy to allow students to stay longer, by repeating grades but there is no real universal system for skipping them. Could it be the per capita annual payment? Could it be text book sales? Or something even darker and more hidden. Let me be clear by “vested interest” I mean the conspiracy of individuals and corporations that shamelessly tap the captive audience nature of school for the express purpose of profit, all the while hiding under the banner of public service. The people that dare to charge 800% profit on a book, or 300$ a license on software, only having the audacity to do so because the schools have no choice and we say nothing. And they can only do this because school is required. Note the price gouging effect on required materials over optional materials in general. School also is not required by any social standard mind you, it is required by government decree alone. The success of “unschooled” children shows, time and again, the validity of that statement. Those that claim school is integral to social development are usually the ones that profit from it emotionally or occupationally. Such as the ones that have the almost spiteful attitude towards the young, “I did it so they should have to as well”. I need only remind the reader of my grandparents’ generation to demonstrate this. Many of them made very meaningful contributions to society with only k-6 educations and anyone who dares claim that my grandfather was not a smart man can do so to my face, or his living peers and watch them or I laugh in yours. Public social interaction is enough to teach. Life teaches about life. In my opinion there are several advantages to making education totally voluntary, and the unschooling movement is bearing these out.. The school setting in general isn’t one bit an accurate representation of society, any skills or traits learned at school outside of subject matter will most likely serve the student in the world of crime rather than the job market. This will have to change if our school systems are to ever become a really educational endeavor. It is imperative that we give our students something to strive for. The petty reward systems implemented by most schools are wholly inadequate and are an affront to a child's ambition. To think that it's fair to trade a solid year of perfect attendance for a 20$ CD player, or at least to assume a child thinks in that fashion, is at best woefully naive and at worst oppressively insulting. School in its

current form supports monopoly, discourages economic competition, and attempts to install an almost socialist love for the status quo, to me this seems somewhat unAmerican. Among the positive impacts of the changes I’ve suggested is the possible economical gain on the part of the school itself. If the school systems aren’t forced to send each and every child through each and every facet of its system then it follows that it won't be required to expend as many resources. The changes I'm suggesting could in fact stimulate competition between text books suppliers as they move towards the practical rather than the rhetorical, thus lowering over all costs. After all, competition breeding lower cost is a well established economic aspect of the free market system. So in conclusion the whole point I'm trying to make here is not so much a change in school itself or how it's executed as much as it is a change in the policy governing students' exposure to it and the speed of that exposure. I truly feel that if this simple change were implemented one would see immediate positive results in terms of overall test scores, and a dramatic reduction of violence in school. These benefits would also extend into society. Education has been popularly referred to as the silver bullet for any number of social ills. Do I expect these changes to ever be made, as simple and beneficial as they are? No. Why would they not do this you ask? Well, just consider the true purposes of school for a moment, assume it isn't about education and your answers show themselves. Forcing everyone to carry a hammer does not make them carpenters, just like forcing them to go though school does not make them educated. But if enough of us stand up, we can make them change. School’s purpose is not a rite of passage, it is a tool. Another reason they would never allow this is the possibility for the existence of a large number of “children” with full educations. Children, articulate and skilled, demanding their rights given that they have the same training as adults. It has been said in other works that the purpose of school among other things is to delay their entry into the work force. What if it’s merely about keeping them busy till they can be exploited as adults as well? I suggest an adulthood test. But that’s another essay.

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