The School Fallacy
Our years of youth are relentlessly advertised as the fleeting, golden years of life that are to be taken advantage of before disappearing into the void of nonexistence for the rest of eternity. But, the only gold there is to our years of youth is grossly gilded.
The American education system has little remorse for its students. The majority of the knowledge it encourages us to accumulate is knowing how to get to the top. Integrity is somewhere further down the line, right around where institutions care about the struggles that students endure—dead last. I know several students who will graduate at the top of their class having spent more time than others cheating their way to the top, which is concerning—not on an individual moralistic standpoint, but as a society, considering that the youth is the future. Instead of school promoting creativity and innovation, age-old ideals and processes are still in use. Students find themselves in an endless cycle of receiving information and remembering it long enough to be able to spit it back out for a sufficient grade. School is an extrinsic prison founded on intrinsic ideals, and it has ultimately failed us.
Luckily, there is more to school than academic courses. Extracurricular activities and organizations pick up where academics stop. Here, leaders are more likely to show themselves, where more freedom and student guidance are allowed. Still, seven hours five days a week in classrooms where students either pass or fail can be terribly monotonous and even brainwashing. For an institution that is supposed to prepare us for adulthood, school is horribly unlike the real world.
The real world is easily forgotten when we’re in a constant grind to get decent grades. But life does happen outside of mine and yours. Because school often fails to address the injustices that happen every single second around the globe, students have to take their own measures to be well-informed. Fortunately, with social media, it’s easier now more than ever.
However, taking into account that school is supposed to be guiding the bright minds of the future, the world is not talked about nearly enough—which is an understatement. Teachers, principals, and superintendents don’t even talk enough about the world of students, which encompasses far more than grades and hopes and dreams. The school system frequently seems to forget that students are humans, too.
The most resemblance that school has to the real world is perhaps that the real world is somewhat apathetic to the problems of individuals. Conversely, college campuses have taken it to the extreme opposite, where the amount of safe spaces and censorship has put a tight leash around freedom of speech to the point that campuses have grown to vaguely take after dystopian societies. A balance needs to be found, whether it be nudging teachers who need a little more work on being a teacher in the right direction or adjusting curriculums. Inevitably, education is highly political. Instead of trying to smother the fact, schools need to find a proper way to embrace it.
Although it is impossible for schools to sate the desires of everyone, it is arguable that there is not enough communication for schools to know enough about the desires of their staff and students. School is in the business of raising humanity, and for an industry that is so involved with humans, there seems to be a shocking lack of humanity in the process.