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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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Terrors Behind "Toddlers & Tiaras" - Beauty Pageants Need To Go!

Why Honey Boo Boo is not the girl we should be idolizing...

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Honey Boo Boo is famous for her extravagant persona, extreme temper tantrums, overwhelming attitude, and intense sassiness. All of these qualities are shared by many other young girls who participate in beauty pageants - not just in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" but also in TLC's notorious "Toddlers & Tiaras," a show that depicts the horrors of little girls who have dedicated their childhood to winning the crown.

These shows, and the pageants they glorify do nothing but force girls to grow up too quickly, send negative messages to viewers and participants and pose health risks for the girls involved.

Therefore, beauty pageants for young girls should be abolished.

The hypersexualization that takes place in these pageants is staggering. Not only are young girls' minds molded into having a superficial view on beauty, but they are also waxed, spray-tanned, given wigs, retouched in pictures, injected with Botox and fillers, and painted with fake abs and even breasts.

Sexy is the goal, not cute. Girls of ages 2-12 wear skimpy clothing, accentuating only their underdeveloped bodies. A 4-year-old girl on "Toddlers and Tiaras" once impersonated Dolly Parton with fake breasts, another dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (so basically, a prostitute), and another even pretended to smoke a cigarette to look like Sandy from Grease.

In Venezuela, people are so obsessed with pageants that they send their daughters to "Miss Factories," to train them to win. At these factories, underage girls undergo plastic surgery and hormone therapy to delay puberty in attempts to grow taller. In addition, they often get mesh sewn onto their tongues so that they are physically incapable of eating solid food. This idea of taking horrific measures to look slimmer is not unique to Venezuela. A former Miss USA explained that she would "slather on hemorrhoid ointment, wrap herself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes to tighten her skin and waist up." Many countries, including France and Israel have banned child beauty pageants because it is "hypersexualizing." Why has the US yet to follow in their footsteps?

Additionally, the pageants strip their young contestants of a childhood by basically putting them through harsh child labor. Oftentimes, girls as young as 18 months old participate in pageants. There is no way that a girl under 2 years old has the capacity to decide for herself that she wants to participate in a beauty pageant. Not to mention, education often takes a backseat in pageant girls' lives as long practice sessions interfere with sleep and homework. This causes long-term distress for the contestants, including widespread unemployment for former pageant girls.

Moreover, these pageants tie self-worth and self-esteem to attractiveness. They teach girls that natural beauty and intelligence are not enough, when in actuality they should be doing the opposite. In fact, 72% of pageant girls hire coaches to train girls to be more "attractive."

Finally, these pageants pose potent health risks for the girls competing. Not only do intense rehearsals interfere with their sleep cycles, but they are also impacted by the harmful methods taken to keep them awake. One example is Honey Boo Boo's "go go juice" - AKA a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. She is known for drinking this continuously throughout pageant days to stay awake and energetic - but the health risks associated with the drinks, let alone for such a young girl, are completely ignored.

And, the future health problems associated with pageantry cannot be looked past. Participating in beauty pageants as kids leads to eating disorders, perfectionism, depression - in fact, at least 6% suffer from depression while competing. "The Princess Syndrome," as Psychology Today calls it relates to a small study published in 2005 that showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction. This sense of dissatisfaction can so easily be translated to more severe mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) of a Beauty Contestant in the US in 1930 was 20.8, which is universally in the middle of the "healthy" range. In 2010, it was 16.9, which is considered underweight for anyone.

So, despite the entertainment these shows and pageants provide, they should most definitely be stopped due to the immense amount of issues they cause for those involved and those who watch.

Although Honey Boo Boo is (sadly) considered one of America's sweethearts, her experience in pageantry has certainly not been a positive influence in her life nor in the lives of her fans - and this is the case for nearly all young pageant girls.

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