Sitting tirelessly in a classroom, drumming my pencil against the desk, listening to my teacher drone on about a topic that has been beaten to death, I have a thought, “well this sucks”. Nothing unique or special. Just a normal thought everyone has when lazily sitting at one’s desk, waiting for the bell to ring.
Although, I did have another thought, “why does school seem to be like this?" I have since come to the conclusion that school has been dumbed down to accommodate for everyone, and this has had adverse effects in our classroom and in our education system as a whole.
When former President, George W. Bush, uttered the words,” No child left behind,” we had to rapidly change our society to support everyone. The mentality that everyone is a winner has damaged the motivation of young individuals to pursue anything challenging for fear of failure. We as a society have made it so that anyone should be able to win because we have foolishly simplified the education system. We have stifled the creativity of individuals who wish to branch out, and we shame them for being wrong. If you don’t succeed at first, you never try again.
We say that we are granting an equal chance by giving everyone the same understanding of thinking, but we neglect those who have multiple intelligences. Those are individuals who may not meet the four basic common cores of thinking: Math, Science, English, and History. We call them stupid and dumb for not thinking the “correct” way. We have made students think the same and have caused the regression of society to a hive mind mentality. You are damned if you stand out, and you are damned if you don’t. We expect everyone to be exceptional. If we are all winners than we need not progress any further as a society because we have reached perfection.
The use of the Common Core Curriculum has made the modern education system what it is today. We have systematized the classroom into data points. We have made every student a point on a graph. We have measured their intellectual growth through their school careers based on memorization for an exam.
What Common Core did was remove the individuality from the student and turn everyone into a number. Instead of critical thinking, we have forced teachers to teach for an exam that the students have to memorize to pass. We see the growth of a student based on their capacity of memorization, not on their variety of intellectual attributes that make up who they are. Teachers no longer teach to test the knowledge of the student by taking what they have learned in the classroom and explaining how to apply it in real life.
I propose a new deal. I propose that we rid ourselves of the Common Core Curriculum and move to more of a grassroots movement of education. The Network for Public Education, an interest group, is currently advocating for more grassroots-led education. What this means is that schools would be able to develop their own tests for their students, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of their student body the best. We would have certified individuals who would evaluate the teachers and the schools to check whether they are functioning properly.
This would advocate for better teachers, administrators, and learning equipment. Money would be given to schools that are lacking, to enhance their level of education so every student is accommodated for. This would remove the stress and the pressure of teachers specifically teaching for a state exam. Teachers would be able to conduct their classrooms how they see best for their students; very much like a college professor.
Teachers would be able to test their students' knowledge base better through exams that ask for application and understanding of the material. The final exams would be graded by teachers in the same district to remove any bias from the students. This would also allow the district to see if a teacher is teaching incorrectly, or if the students are lacking the understanding of the material.
This would also require more money for education, increasing the demand of good teachers, and making the education system better. Students are a human investment. The more money you spend to make sure they get the best education, the more the return is on your investment in our economy.