America’s backwards education system

When America was first founded there were no cars. There were no computers, iPhones or even showers. But a lot has changed since the 1700s and a lot of it is for the better. Not only do we have advanced technology, but we have better ways of thinking. We work hard as a society to embrace new ideas, but the one thing that has not once evolved in our country since its birth is probably what is most valuable: education.
Now, while education has expanded, the requirements to teach have advanced, and the people allowed in specific schools have greatly improved, it’s still the same idea. Five days a week, kids come into class, listen to a teacher talk about a subject, and then raise their hands if they know the answer. No new teaching style has been nationally passed and so students all around the country spend seven hours a day wasting everyone’s time and banging their own heads against ridiculously large textbooks.
Except it’s worse now than it has ever been before. While our parents didn’t have to start any kind of homework until late elementary school – if they received any at all – millennials are dealing with an hour of homework in kindergarten. Homework that doesn’t matter and will have no effect on the future of America’s children, but is just placed there to teach them about homework and what it’s like. Once a student moves up the ladder from elementary to middle to high school, the load progressively gets worse. The average high school student does about four hours of homework a night. That’s after going to school, coming home from extracurricular activities, eating dinner, and fulfilling other basic needs that teenagers require. Then, after all of this, they’re expected to get a full night’s sleep. The excuse that most teachers use for giving their students that much homework is that they’re “preparing them for college.” As a college student of two years, I can say that this is absolutely and horrendously false and it brings into question whether or not these teachers have actually been on a college campus.
If the homework wasn’t bad enough, what happens inside of schools should be considered mortifying. Teachers all have different methods of educating kids and some of them are brilliant and groundbreaking. But unfortunately, most of them just don’t care enough to try. Since seventh grade, I’ve had to deal with pedophiles, racists and sexists for teachers. More and more people choose educational career paths for power-trips or because they can’t do anything else. It is very rare to find a teacher who is actually passionate about teaching and is willing to work with kids to help them learn in their own ways.
About 50 years ago, Finland was one of the worst developed countries to live in if you wanted a good education. Forty-five years ago, they decided they were sick of that reputation and thought that if they had nothing to lose, they might as well do some experimenting. Today, Finland is one of the leading countries in education, easily lapping America. What they did was take a relatively simple idea, did some brainstorm on it, and came up with a plan. The idea itself was basic and old in its right but brought together all new possibilities. The Finnish government took to the education board and looked at its students like they were real people. Not some rebellious punks who complained a lot, but human beings with feelings. They listened and learned, and while it didn’t happen overnight, the country began to learn. Now, Finland has almost completely eradicated standardized tests, halved the hours a child sits in a classroom and doubled the hours they spend outside. Finland has done all of this and so much more in a relatively short amount of time and it has actually had a great effect on their educational process.
America needs to fix itself because something is wrong. Every day, students are killing themselves or others because teachers and students are making them feel like it’s the end of world. But I am optimistic that one day, the cursed millennials will get older and be able to voice all of the terrible things that happen in high schools and change will come. We’ll have to wait even longer for people like Betsy DeVos to stop fighting, but it will come.