Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Is school a scam?

This article got me thinking. It is about a high ranking school official in one of the biggest school district in the country. I don't know where that is, or who this is so I am just taking it on face value. What he does is take a standardized test that is required of all the students in his district. He basically fails it. The article states that this guy has multiple degrees, lives in a big house, has control over a 3 billion dollar annual budget, an all around successful guy. So how could a man like that fail a test meant for a 10th grader? In my opinion, because it has nothing to do with determining how smart a child is, or how well they will do in the "real world" when they get out of school. What these tests are, are political weapons used by politicians, cash cows for businesses running the tests, and are not a good measuring stick for how good a school is, how smart a child is, or how great a teacher might be.

Something that I hear quite often from friends of mine who own businesses is that they always have to train new employees when they arrive. Not that they have to show them where to put time sheets and how the printer works. But they have to teach them how to be an engineer, or an architect, or a business man. Now why would you have to do that if you just spent the last four to even eight years learning how to do this? It's because school isn't really teaching you anything, it is taking your money and giving you a piece of paper saying you can now be an engineer. They are the trolls guarding the bridge and you have to pay the toll.
I have kids who everyday work themselves to the bone to learn all this information that one year out of school they wouldn't remember anymore. Why? Because no one uses it! Except for rocket scientists, who we need lots of, (not sarcastic) who needs calculus? Unless you are going to be a doctor, pharmacist, or a scientist, why put kids though years of advanced science classes? I know that there are people out there that need these classes. And without allowing kids to try them how would they ever know if they wanted to be a quantum physicist without the advanced classes? You still can.

How many people out there are in school now just so that they can teach exactly what they are learning to the next group of students, who will then teach the same thing? What is the benefit to society, to the human race, when a type of knowledge is only created to be kept in a closed loop? I feel that it is created for the benefit of scholar class, to make a university seem greater because of how smart it's professors are. Also what is the benefit of teaching outdated, or overly complicated ways to do different activities? Money, the more a school has to teach or can teach, the more they can make you pay them. What if it only took six months to teach someone to be a stock broker? That would only be one semester worth of tuition rather than the eight needed now.

In my area of study I had an entire year that was basically a waste. I was a fine art major at the U of I and majored in oil painting. Every artist's first year was taken up by basic drawing, photo, graphic design, and every other art discipline. I didn't give a crap about any of that stuff, I just wanted  to paint and draw. So I liked the drawing courses, and I know why we needed to take the art history classes, but every other class was just another avenue of revenue for the university. I had to take calculus, foreign language, what for? I have never used calculus, I use adding and subtracting, I balance my budget and pay my bills. I don't need to be able to speak another language to know what is going on in the world. I read the news every day, I read multiple blogs, news papers, and can't get enough about world happenings. 

I think those who are in charge of making these tests, and deciding where they think the american children have to go in terms of learning are all wrong. I think it is human nature to always do more every generation. So every year children are expected to know more and more, in less time. But quantity is not always better than quality, in fact I would say the opposite is the truth. That means kids should be learning more about what life is really like younger, get more kids into a craft. Specialize more and stop making kids learn so much NOTHING.

I don't know if I am talking out my ass and am a total idiot but it is how I feel. Schools fuckin suck, and kids are not getting what I think they should out of it. I'm out.

1 comment:

  1. What school really needs to do, and does not, is mentor, teach how to learn and critical thinking. Critical thinking being the most important and the most shunned in the classroom. A nation of people who can not think for themselves is easily led down whatever path the nearest idiot leader chooses. I could discuss this forever but I'm on my phone and it is bed time, but Nick, I love where you are going with this. I believe you are right on target.