If we don't change, it will continue to go downhill.
A word that makes every student cringe and internally starts sobbing.
As a child who was homeschooled and in public school both, I do understand that education is valuable and needed as a society. As I was homeschooled, I was driven to get everything done as quickly and efficiently as possible, which taught me much about time management and work ethic.
However, there are some ways that the institutions for "learning" that end up hindering students from reaching their full potential.
School enforces conformity to a schedule, which can be fine, but it does take away from a student's need to learn how to make decisions for themselves. If this choice is going to continually be taken away from them, they won't be able to make decisions for themselves, which really isn't conducive to the obligatory preparation for adulthood that school is supposed to give them. If we want to prepare them for the world, we need to guide them and help them make educated choices, not simply bark directions at them. I happen to read at over 600 words a minute, and my first-grade teacher absolutely hated me because I was ahead and vocalize my opinions on what we've read. She actually recommended that I be tested for ADHD.
The school system also takes test scores as validation, not the individual children and their needs to understand materials. While grades are important, they do not define the students in a classroom, and we need to realize that. Educators and parents put so much pressure on students that it seems not only impossible to get good grades, but approval from those they care about the most as well. Grades are not everything, and they are not worth mental breaks that come with that stress. Children are what are important, not test scores.
And while STEM is amazing, we're losing focus on things that children value--art and music. Funding keeps getting cut so dramatically that students are losing their chances to express themselves. Art and music are things that help us cognitively and can improve memory and coordination. The way programs are centered is part of the main issue, because there are more to our children than STEM and sports.
We need to start focusing on the actual students in our schools and their needs if we want to improve our school system. It isn't fair to put them under such stress that it's equivalent to the amount of stress that put adults in mental institutions in the 1950s.
College students especially are one who is affected the most by these conditions: from school not closing even though it is 20 below and snowing to trying to juggle a full class load and working two jobs, our stress levels are through the roof constantly.
Once again, it boils down to making the students and faculty the priority. If we can't do this, the system is just going to continue to deteriorate and do more harm than good. If and when we learn that students are people and have limits, that can be a good start, but we have a long way to go.