U.S. Education system calls for heavy repairs

By Michelle Chernack /// Opinion Editor

The room sat quietly while he handed out the packets of freshly printed-paper carefully stapled together. We all waited for his cue. “The point of this exam is to show me what you know,” the professor said. What I know I thought. Really? What I know. What I did know was that I spent the past few days memorizing and cramming six weeks worth of information I had “learned” into my head. Pen in hand, I kept questioning the point of the next hour. Would I be a better person afterward? Would I “know” more? Regardless, I sat there, wrote my name in the top right corner and scanned the first question.

***

The point of this exam was to abide by the illogical education system in order to produce a grade, in order to produce a ranking, in order to then move on to grad school or to get a job. Now, perhaps that’s a bit harsh and goes against the thought of the professor; he indeed does want us to learn, but in this system, learning takes on a new meaning. Education is an incredible construct, however, the manner in which it is executed in the United States today is flawed.

College is the societal goal after high school. It is viewed as a place of opportunity, with a promise of success afterward. Society has deemed that sitting in classrooms for four years, taking tests and writing papers will prepare you for the world ahead. The attempt to inculcate ideas and test how well we “understand” this information afterward has positive intentions, but has become a senseless process.

For most of what we “learn,” the information does not stay in our heads—that’s the problem. If we were asked to take a test from a year or two ago, we would not perform the same as we did before. We are trying so hard to comply with a system that has the right learning objective, but wrong execution of it.

The way in which we are evaluated in this institution and all institutions alike, does not provide an accurate measurement of the individual, but rather creates an endeavor to compare. The system is catered towards one type of person, but is serving millions. We shouldn’t be trying to standardize the mind.

Education is one of the most valuable assets we possess. Clearly, college has value to it; college is important—but we need to adjust the curriculum to the current zeitgeist. The redundancy of this antiquated method of evaluating us needs to be revamped.

***

Two weeks later, we got our tests back. I spent hours and hours studying for it—but my results say otherwise. The importance of this percentage is questionable. My capacity to memorize can only take me so far, but after I get that diploma, what good will that number do for me? These numbers and calculations only reflect how well I can comply with a system. They are not a representation of who I am or what I am capable of, but this institution tells me otherwise. And that needs to change.

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