Today I got a rather large, yellow envelope in the name. I opened it and inside was a very thick packet full of summer work for my brother. You see, he got accepted into this really high-end middle school, with nerds, Asians, etc. For summer work, they sent him a huge packet for summer reading. Back when I went to middle school, nobody gave a damn about summer reading, but it’s become such a big deal now. And the summer packet isn’t really my main issue here. It’s the other packet they sent.
The other packet contained “helpful” information for incoming students. First of all, the packet was written in high-school level English, how would they expect 10 and 11 year-olds to comprehend it? Besides that, those so-called “helpful” tips listed in the packet are both absurd and infuriating. They want kids to carry binders with a ton of paper, 7 sections, and to also carry 3-hole punches with them. While these may not seem so large, when added to the textbooks and other crap that students have to carry, it makes for quite a large backpack, which can’t be too good for developing backs. The guide goes on to say that students should take vivid, detailed notes, using several college-level methods. Now, if I were to actually do that, I would go through paper like mad, and I’d run out of space to keep that crap pretty quickly. Don’t those educational bigwigs ever think of the environment? Of course not, because they’re money-hogging fatasses. From my personal experience, let me tell you something. I used to diligently take notes, but I was never a straight A’s student, and I never even used those notes after I took them. Most students (with the exception of Asians) never actually read over their notes. I never did. What’s the point?
Now, let me go on to criticize the obvious flaws in most educational systems around the world:
1) Reliance on homework. Homework. A word I have come to hate with a passion. Before, when the homework effort was miniscule, it wasn’t such an issue. Now, in high school, teachers actually expect their students to do several hours worth of homework each night. If I actually listened to that BS they spew out, I’d have little or no time left for things such as life and relaxation. In Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech (top-of-the-line schools in NYC), the main problem is that most students have at least 5 hours worth of homework each night, and a lot of students aren’t getting enough sleep. What is the point of giving excessive homework if the kid is going to be like a zombie the next day? Sleep is important, too, especially for developing minds. Don’t those teachers and prinicpals realize that we teenagers have something called a “life?” Probably not, seeing as most of them don’t have lives of their own. I say that if we can’t learn everything we need from 8am to 3pm, then there’s something wrong with the educational system. The teen and preteen years are the time for an individual to enjoy life, before he or she is burdened by the need to work. My solution: Screw homework. Don’t do it, or do it in the five minutes before class. If you absolutely must pass your classes, then just do a half-assed job with your homework. Copy from the textbook or make up complete BS if your teacher doesn’t read the homework. Sure, you won’t have good grades, but grades mean nothing anyway. At least you’ll live a rewarding and relaxing life. I never did homework, and never will do homework, and look how well I turned out.
2) Reliance on tests/studying. Let me tell you, I fucking hate tests. In almost every class, there will be exams, tests, quizzes, or whatever the hell you prefer to call those demonic things. In order to do well on them, one has to spend endless hours looking over notes and reviewing content until one’s mind goes numb. If one wishes to have a life, then one will not do well on tests. That is a horrible flaw in the system. Most teachers rely on exams and homework to set grades. Exams flat out suck. My solution: Don’t waste time studying for tests. Enjoy life. Who cares if you don’t get a 95 on an exam? In most states, the passing grade is 65 and in some places, it’s even lower. Aim for that. If you want decent grades, cheating isn’t a bad option, no matter what teachers/parents say. Your parents will be pissed at first, but they’ll get used to it. Lower everybody’s standards to the point of where you do very little and still get rewarded. Passing is good enough for anybody. Heck, failing isn’t too bad either. It’s just school.
3) Grades. Schools grade students solely on classwork, exams, and homework, not on actual skill/ability. And while a student may fail a class, he or she may actually be good at that subject. I’m a pretty good example of this. I failed English twice, in both middle school and high school, and look at this long, grammatically correct article I’m writing. That failure says nothing of my true abilites with English. I also failed History, and yet I got a 98 on the History finals. A student could be a genius in the making, but most teachers don’t realize that. Our society could have a lot more geniuses, but the modern school system takes these would-be geniuses and wrings/burns them out until they lose all of their ability. School often gives little or no oppurtunity for creative individuals to express themselves. For example, if a student is a great artist or a computer genius, but fails most of his/her other, standard classes, he or she is still considered a failure by society and by his or her parents. I believe that even if you graduate Harvard with straight A’s, and you don’t know anything other than what’s taught in the classroom, you’re still a failure. For example, look at George Bush, the US’ current (and soon to be ex) president. He graduated Harvard with top grades, and look what a complete failure he is today. Since when do creative/artistic classes count as less than “standard” classes, such as Math, History, and Science? A graduate can be a genius in his own field (such as art or computers) and have a C or D average, and most colleges will still not accept that student. My solution: Rip the system. Do what you want to do, not what your teachers or parents want you to do. Don’t let anybody else decide what you are to do in life.
4) Standard Classes. This ones pisses me off the most. You know how there are “standard” classes, such as English, Science, and History, all of which are graduation requirements? If you fail them or do badly in them, you’re considered a failure, or a bad student. The worst part of it is that you can’t really choose whether to take them or not. For example, having to take Chemistry when I plan to be either an artist or a web designer. Unless you’re planning on majoring in one of those “standard” classes, you shouldn’t be forced to take them. My solution: Make those standard classes compulsory only in elementary and middle school. By high school, one should be able to choose which classes he or she wants to take. While those standard classes are still mandatory, there’s only one thing that you can do. If your school offers a choice between easy and hard standard classes, always take the easy option.
In conclusion, the school system sucks. I’ll add more to this list of grievances as they come up.