5 Flaws That Prove America's Education System Was Broken Before DeVos

5 Flaws That Prove America's Education System Was Broken Before DeVos

From the perspective of a college student.
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Education is one of the most important aspects of being in the United States simply because our public schooling system is free, unlike many other countries. But what most people do not take into consideration is all of the flaws of the American education system. Yes, we are very fortunate to be able to get an education here in America but there are some things that could use improvement.

1.) Most of the time, students are not taught anything truly useful.

You would be surprised at how many young adults do not know how to balance a checkbook or even simply write a check but thank goodness they know the Pythagorean Theorem and how to balance a chemical equation. Those types of things should be saved for college classes when it is more applicable to your major or hopeful career path. Another thing most young adults do not learn about in our public education system is how taxes truly work. They may spend a short period of time learning about taxes in classes but what is supposed to happen when they are thrown out into the real world where taxes are an every day factor of our lives? The things students need the most in life are not being taught at the appropriate times they should be.

Like Tupac Shakur once said, "...school is really important. Reading, writing, arithmetic. But I think after you learn reading, writing, arithmetic, that’s it. But what they tend to is teach you reading, writing, and arithmetic then teach you reading, writing, and arithmetic again then again then again, just make it harder and harder, just to keep you busy. And that’s where I think they messed up. There should be a class on drugs. There should be a class on sex education, a real sex education class. Not just pictures and diaphragms and unlogical terms and things like that. There should be a drug class, there should be sex education, there should be a class on scams, there should be a class on religious cult, there should be a class on police brutality, there should be a class on aparthy, there should be on racism in America, there should be a class on why people are hungry, but there not, there’s class on gym, you know, physical education, let’s learn volleyball. because one day…you know…there’s classes like algebra where I’ve yet to go to a store and gone xy+2 and give me my y change back thank you. I think you can let me out, I’ve lived alone by myself. And the things that helped me were the things I learned from my mother, from the streets. Reading has helped me, I mean, schools taught me reading, which is, I love. Reading, writing and arithmetic, that’s it. Like foreign languages, I think they’re important, but I don’t think they should be required. Because…actually they should be teaching you English. And then teaching you how to understand double-talk, politician's’ double-talk. Not teaching you how to understand French, and Spanish and German. When am I going to Germany! I can’t afford rent in America. How am I going to Germany? This is what I mean by the basics aren’t the basics for me."

2.) Students cannot truly expand their learning simply because of the stresses of memorizing things for tests.

Most students only care about getting the questions right on the tests to get a good grade then they will forget about the material until they are forced to learn it yet again. This is not the student's fault because this is what the teachers are expecting them to do; get good grades, pass standardized tests, move on to the next level and so on. How do they expect students to learn things for the benefit of gaining knowledge when even teachers are only concerned about grades?

3.) Knowledge is purely based on scores and numbers these days.

Quiz scores, standardized test scores, SAT scores, ACT scores and so on. If a student does not receive a high number on a test, the teacher or institution automatically assumes that this student is not knowledgeable. A student's GPA also plays a role in this. A student might get good grades, have a high GPA score, but then do poorly on an SAT because they are not great test takers. They will then send those scores to colleges and that simple number could then make or break them. Also, most colleges do not even look at the writing section for SAT's when college is all about writing papers and essays. It just does not make any sense.

4.) Some teachers only care about making themselves look good, rather than caring about what the student has learned.

In some school systems, standardized tests are given at the end of each year to see how well the school is doing on an academic level. Some teachers will then openly admit that they want their students to do well on the tests so they do not lose their jobs. Why should a student care about these standardized test when the teacher does not even care about helping them succeed?

5.) Our education system can sometimes be seen as a competition, rather than a thirst for knowledge.

Most students only care about getting better grades than other students simply so they have a better chance at getting more opportunities such as higher ranked colleges and universities. They will sometimes do anything to get on top such as cheating or plagiarizing which proves that they do not care about the things they are learning, just the scores they receive.

Finally, high school does not prepare students for college as well as they say they do. Most students go off to college thinking everything will be easy and smooth sailing but what they do not realize is that college is one of the most difficult time periods of their lives. First, they will have to figure out how to pay for the huge college expenses, which is yet another flaw that I won't even get started on, and how to manage this financially through all the years they are there. Then they will have to learn about time management. Finally, the assignments students get in high school are nothing compared to the ones they will receive in college. Most high school teachers conditions students to write in certain ways but in reality, every professor is different and students will have to adapt to the writing styles that they prefer.

In conclusion, these are only a few of the flaws in the American education. If all students stand up for what they believe in and what they have learned, maybe one day in the future these things can be fixed. As for now, I hope that teachers and school systems take these things into consideration as time goes on.

Cover Image Credit: CNN

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Clocking In: The 9 To 5 Feminist

Jane Fonda, #MeToo and Fashion
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She puts the finishing touches on her makeup, so they say she is in dress code. She buttons to the top of her blouse, so they don’t stare. She smiles and asks politely, so they won’t call her uptight. She doesn’t smile too much though, so they don’t think she’s flirting. She doesn’t question her salary, so they don’t report her. She doesn’t tell anyone what her creep of a boss did, so they don’t fire her. Just another day at the office.

She is not alone. The modern woman is forced to deal with workplace discrimination and sexual harassment in silence. Even her dress code, from the makeup on her face to the heels on her feet, is designed with a restrictive double standard.

Despite past efforts to combat such inequality, this has largely remained the status quo. However, 2017 marked a turning point in the fight for a workplace equality with the viral social media campaigns #MeToo and #TimesUp, which are aimed at combating sexual harassment and sexist double standards.

These campaigns amplify the forceful rallying cries of working women and shines light on the unspoken reality of their experiences in the workplace at the hands of men. These protests echo the feminist movement of the 1970s which was in part influenced by its representation in film, an iconic example of which is Jane Fonda’s trailblazing production of “9 to 5.”

Taking inspiration from her friend’s Boston organization of female workers “Nine to Five,” Fonda sought to bring to light the untold stories women in the office often experienced in a way that was palpable to the public: comedy. The 1980 office satire “9 to 5,” starring Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Fonda herself, addresses the wage gap, sexual harassment and blatant sexism through the lens of three women fed up with their villainous, misogynistic male boss.

In “9 to 5,” the boss subjects the feminist trio to different aspects of the same sexist narrative. He calls the new girl stupid and incapable. He demands his secretary to turn around and bend over for his viewing pleasure. He takes the credit of the only female office manager to further his standing with the company. The sexist dynamic between him and the trio is reflected in their attire and connects the events of the movie to the feminist movement as a whole.

Stereotyped as the weaker sex, the female employees of “9 to 5” adhere to a strict dress code characteristic of 1970s workplace apparel of below the knee skirts, silk ties, blouses adorned with bows, heels and a full face of makeup. The physical restrictiveness and beauty standards imposed on women by their male superiors shows the subtlety of sexist workplace culture.

Outside the office, women of the 1970s were embracing comfort and function in their casual fashion. Denim jeans, loose-fitting shirts and flat Oxford shoes reflected the growing movement of women to make their own choices and live as they please, free from the limitations of the patriarchy. Within the walls of the office, however, it was still very much a man’s world.

The requirement that women maintain feminine standards of beauty in the office ensures that the standard of acceptable clothing for working women is decided by the men. As a consequence, men use this double standard to solidify ideas that women are incapable of a man’s job and are not to be taken seriously. Sexist ideas like these supported the wage gap and kept women from advancing, despite having the qualifications to do so.

By the film’s end, however, “9 to 5” rejects this pervasive narrative that women’s capabilities are limited by their clothing. Following a series of bumbling mishaps, the trio find themselves in charge of the company and replace the sexist status quo with a progressive and equal workplace, fulfilling the goal of the feminist movement.

In showing the efficiency and progressiveness of a female-run workplace, the film shows that women are equally capable of a man’s job (and that they can do it better). “9 to 5” redefined working women as competent and equal to men, shedding the stereotypes of how they should dress and behave to appease the sexist status quo.

Considering the current political climate of social regression, despite changes in clothing and office technology, the dynamic between men and women in the office hasn’t changed much. Women still earn less than men. Men hold most positions of power. The goals of the current #MeToo and #TimesUp movements mirror the fanciful aspirations of “9 to 5.”

But what’s changed? What has made the contemporary feminist movements so much more powerful and influential than any before them? Deemed radical for its time, the progressive themes of equality and a workplace free of harassment are now contemporary feminist staples. The era of inclusion is fast approaching. Thanks to the current feminist revolt and the trailblazing of the past, men in positions of power are no longer able to use their influence as a shield to silence women or hide behind the public eye.

In a symbolic exchange of the unending struggle of the feminist movement at the 2017 Emmy Awards, Fonda reminds us that “back in 1980, in that movie, (Parton, Tomlin and I) refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.” Tomlin reminds us of the challenges that lie ahead in the final push for equality. “And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”

Cover Image Credit: Rob Young

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To The Students Walking Out On April 20th

Build the change. Push the change. Be the change.
Cali C.
Cali C.
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Dear students participating in the national walkout on April 20th,

On March 14th, you walked out of your schools for 17 minutes to remember the 17 innocent lives that were brutally taken at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On March 24th, you marched in one of the 800+ marches around the world to demand long-overdue change and you stood up for those who cannot anymore due to gun violence.

You may have been ridiculed for what you did. You may have received ill-mannered remarks from your peers, and surprisingly (but not really, if we’re being honest here), adults. Some of your schools’ administrations even punished you for protesting peacefully. Some people said that what you were doing "won't change anything." The list of negative expressions towards the walkout and the march could go on and on, unfortunately.

However, all if not almost every historical national movement also faced criticism. But they kept going. And their voices were heard. And change happened.

On April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, you will walk out again to remember the victims of that day (it’s daunting how many events correlate to that statement) and to tell the world that silence is no longer an option.

You will no longer go to school, a concert, the movies, the mall, church, anywhere and have the fear that you may not make it home that day. You will no longer live under laws that remain unchanged after far too many lives have been taken by something that should have been taken care of a long time ago.

You will no longer tolerate the cycle of “shooting...thoughts and prayers...debate...no change in anything...life goes back to normal.”

You’ve probably heard this everywhere these past two months, but do not stop after that day. Because this is so much more than just a walkout. This is so much more than just a march. This is so much more than the hashtag and the videos and photos you’re seeing on social media.

Educate yourself on issues that matter. Go to your town hall meetings. Get involved in your school, city, and state organizations. And most important of them all - register to vote. If you are too young to vote, that does not mean that your voice does not matter. Volunteer at the polls. Discuss current events in your community. Practice civic engagement. Whatever you do, do not stop contributing to this turning point in history.

You are the future. You are the leaders we need.

It's about damn time something is done to end gun violence, and it starts with you.

The world is going to be a better place because of you, and don’t you dare let anyone convince you otherwise.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram
Cali C.
Cali C.

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