This post is divided into two sections:
Part One: Education
Low Level: The College Bottleneck
All schooling before college is done to prepare students for college. In late high school, students who don’t drop out will spend lots of time (and money) prepping for exams, which are equally expensive.
Afterward, they will apply for college. Most will fail, and the competition causes a problem: Where do all of the rejects go?
Obviously, we have community colleges, but not everybody is willing to give up on a good college, so rejects will pay even more money out-of-pocket for remedial courses.
In 2010, over 1 billion dollars was paid out-of-pocket for remedial education throughout the US.
Personally, I have no problem with community colleges. My goals in life are not insanely high, but there is still competition for people who stoop down to my level, too.
Education is failing to prepare students to be adults. College should not be the priority. My high school’s motto is literally only about making students ready for college. This needs to change because the bottleneck for successful college applicants will only get tighter.
The following are existing tactics that are already improving the education system.
Test students more thoroughly
This reduces the chances of incorrect rejections, saving money on unnecessary remedial education. Many colleges already do this, cross-referencing past GPA, old records and new test scores to accept or reject applicants.
While this reform makes college acceptances and rejections more accurate, it does not necessarily help with the vast amount of money spent on remedial courses.
Local high school companionship
Colleges can provide high school students with opportunities to earn college credits or to be prepared by doing college-level courses. For students, this involves getting used to people talk at 2x speed and wondering why you got placed in advanced math when you signed up for the lower level.
Students who take remedial education risk falling behind. This can be solved by compressing courses into short super-intense periods. This could also be applied to extracurriculars to open up a wider door of possibilities where an entire year isn’t gobbled up.
Deeper Level: Eventual Damnation
Schools run on a magic substance obtained via blood, sweat, and tears: Money.
Public schools that have the least money will get more Federal funding, which is distributed by the state. On the other hand, schools that boast rigorous courses and are not poor will receive enough money to survive on-edge and without enough money to invest in new books and equipment, resulting in lowly schools getting the best stuff for themselves.
Public education is ill-equipped to deal with some major problems such as:
Heterogeneousness – Public schools lack resources to support different students. Quality will be traded for equality as students enrolling continue to become more and more different.
21st Century Skills – The new skills people need in the 21st century come down to problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, and critical thinking. They are skills that cannot be quantized into courses that can be taught and graded. Rather, students usually learn these skills off campus or through group projects where the teacher arbitrarily grades the “Teamwork” section on the rubric based on whoever passive-aggressively put their name as the second-to-last one on the Powerpoint because they did the whole thing.
Fast Advancement – Values for what the most important skills are will continue to change and schools must regularly update material. The new skills may be even more abstract and unteachable with traditional teaching methods.
Lack of Funding – Schools cannot afford to regularly spend thousands of dollars on the new updated material and students will fail to learn the important skills they need. It’s highly unlikely schools will be able to reform before the shit hits the fan.
Lack of Incentive – The incentive is mostly provided to teachers, who can already seek easier and higher-paying lines of work for their high qualifications. Seriously, kids are dicks. I’m a dick. I wouldn’t want to be around me, either. Students do not legitimately care about college until a fire is lit under them.
Possible Reform Tactic
Full-digital self-teaching classrooms
This would heavily reduce costs for new material and allow publishers and providers to easily update material much, much faster and efficiently. Simply moving from physical books to 100% e-books would be a game-changer by itself. The conversion into full-digital would also allow for more competitive pricing.
The first areas to target for digital reform would be the fastest-growing areas like computer science or digital art.
Seriously, my computer science class uses a book from 2008 and recommends using Notepad or Microsoft Word to edit code. Computer classes are a different topic altogether because they deserve to be ranted about in whole.
In full-digital, the material could be modeled around each student. ESLR students would be given material that they could understand better and students with disabilities would get versions of material they could use without a hitch. More work could be graded automatically, and the technophobic teachers would be forced to accept AI supremacy.
Self-teaching would let students learn 21st-century skills while still completing all of their A-G courses. Self-teaching would also heavily reduce the blowback for teachers because they would not need to constantly race to learn the always-improving material.
Students would need to grasp basic concepts and solve problems independently. Concepts would be presented in different ways to ensure students could figure out how to learn because the ability to learn and pick up new information is more important than graphing stupid quadratics.
Example “Introduction to New Concept” Problem for Self-Learning:
Example (already solved)
2 + x = 12
x = 10
1. (not solved)
5 + x = 12
x = __
Students that fail the self-teaching could move into a different classroom where a teacher gave the material to them with traditional teaching styles to kickstart the student into understanding concepts they may have missed so that they can self-learn again, learning 21st-century concepts while advancing at their own pace.
These traditional-teaching checkpoints would throw the finishing punch to knock information into a student’s head, also clearing up any misconceptions made while self-learning.
A personal example of self-teaching would be how I learned to solve polynomials without knowing 6th-grade math. I had little knowledge of positives and negatives and how numbers worked or how solving equations actually happened. I just used reasoning and came up with my own thought process on how solving equations worked. Once I was taught how to ‘actually’ solve equations I realized there could be different paths of thinking for a straightforward math problem with only a single answer.
Even math is capable of teaching important 21st-century skills about critical thinking and creativity when it is self-taught.
The not-so-radical version of this reform would be to just do the full move into digital. We’d still be perfectly on-track for an education overhaul, and even if prices for digital books don’t drop, schools will have updatable material.
There is no secret teaching method that we forgot and now everything is going downhill because of it. We’ve been advancing pretty well, and these long-term problems will be very gradual.
Lots of people have been combating student malnutrition, drug abuse, chronic tardiness, and all of the other problems that fill schools.
Despite these improvements, there are still more problems that need to be solved, such as the rising suicide levels and the amount of shit that somehow gets on the ceiling of the restrooms. The amount of leftover Good Samaritans to think about the gradual long-term issues is too low, and those who do are often branded as “fight the system”-type people trying to elicit fear rather than helping.
Part Two: Fear (and other stuff)
With the media reporting more and more assaults and violent acts, men are terrified of crossing any lines with their female coworkers.
Even unemployed high school students are afraid, and not in some gross pubescent way, but as a real problem.
It only takes something recent and large to pop up on the news, and people will think that the large and recent event is suddenly more probable.
Nobody wants to be ostracized and falsely accused of harassment, and students are terrified of accusations being thrown at them despite the chances being very minuscule.
The problems are as such:
- The false accusers don’t get punished
- The victim gets turned a blind eye
- The victim never ever recovers
Schools are only interested in protecting the victim, which, in all fairness, makes perfect sense. However, it is completely unethical to leave a student to the mercy of America’s finest, as punishment should be handled in a way that is accountable and reasonable.
High schoolers are on a whole different level of sadistic, almost capable of topping Saddam Hussein. Nobody deserves to be tormented on such a level. At the very least, schools should handle the punishment so that there is actual justice rather than mob mentality.
However, the other problems are as such:
- We still need to punish people for real crimes
- We don’t always know if someone is being falsely accused
We need to protect both sides of a conflict, but by the time a problem reaches OSPI-level recognition, the damage is done. Anyone can boast about protection for two sides of a conflict, but the truth is that nobody really wants to protect someone once they are accused of sexual assault and the “protection for both sides” ends as soon as a conclusion is reached.
Protection is bullshit, and we need to strengthen it (or just use tear gas on the students doing bullying).
At my school, there is an intersection where a large amount of paper in a glass case is displayed. This is normal, and people walk by many these cases on a regular basis because seriously, am I really gonna stop and read an essay for fun?
However, one day I was walking through the hallway during lunch hours, which meant the intersection was no longer an endless stream of bustling bodies. Which meant I could finally see what was in the case.
In large messy cut-out letters, the display was named “Stressed Out?”, which makes you wonder if the question mark was added due to the questionable tips presented or because whoever came up with the title thought it’d be a good idea to ask a question that has a unanimous answer: “Yes”.
It is common knowledge that students are stressed. It is also common knowledge that students are highly unstable.
Stress snaps people.
Examples of Snapped People:
- Workaholics pushing physical limits.
- Complete resignation and lack of drive.
- Emotive numbness and detachment from friends.
- Academic numbness and over-reliance on friends.
- Starting a blog called Enchoseon.