BY CAROL LI
Money talk: we hear it in the headquarters of any type of business, whether it be a start-up company or global organization. And although this claim is hard to swallow, money truly does make the world go around. However, the subject of money is most emphasized in the least expected environment: school education.
While we may not realize it, the basic components of the American school system all point to the goal of attaining wealth. As high school students, we are told to put our best efforts into our classes to earn the highest grades, receive acceptances into prestigious colleges and acquire a stable, high-paying job in the future. Because our current school system teaches students to pursue financial gain rather than their own interests, it has developed a notoriously narrow measure to judge a student’s potential for future success: letter grades.
It is time to realize that how well we do in school does not necessarily determine our quality of life, but is simply a measure of effort and dedication we put into school. Instead of focusing on how one is deprived of opportunities to success due to the one “C” in a math class during sophomore year, our American education system should implement methods to encompass elements directly related to the real world, so adolescents are prepared to face the actuality of the job industry.
For example, take a glimpse at the strong emphasis on grades. Sure, they are a good indication of whether a particular individual is attentive to the course, but it does not necessarily guarantee a successful occupation in the future, due to the fact that our education system does not accurately depict the environment of real life. Though students are given multiple opportunities to improve grades by retaking tests or quizzes, in reality, there are no “second chances,” especially in the job industry, where competition is sky high. So, it can be clearly seen that the education system taught to students may not align with the requirements of the real world. It is significant to have education encompass the matters of real-life situations, because it allows students to gain experience and a better understanding of what the future holds after graduation.
However, public education is not catered towards real-life scenarios, which fails the original purpose of public education. Individuals assume that thriving in high school and college classes will ensure financial prosperity in the future; however, in reality, the subjects taught in education do not directly correlate to problems or issues that arise in the real world. In school, we are given knowledge, but applying it is a different matter on itself. For example, many AP tests provide rigorous classes that push individuals to cram a mountain of information into their minds, but do not teach how to apply the knowledge to real life scenarios. If today’s public school education is so different from the set expectations that so many have adapted, how can a student’s school performance determine his or her future performance in real-life situations? The correlation between school performance and future success is and should not be taken as fact.
Furthermore, with a constant pressure that the rest of their lives are resting on simple letter grades, it is easy for students to focus on elements, such as receiving a high letter grade, rather than furthering their education, which results in the unpreparedness for facing the real world. When students turn their attention on the scores they receive instead of the education they are given, it creates a dilemma where individuals are suffering due to lack of preparedness.
Ultimately, our current school system’s emphasis on grades and financial gain undermines the importance of following our dreams. To improve the education system that our country currently holds, schools should focus on what students are interested in and what students will need for their lives after graduating. Presently, it is mandatory for students to take classes for a variety of subjects, which is understandable since they provide the fundamentals for a student’s academic career. Despite this, educators should realize that every individual is different, and students should be able to have the opportunity to expand their knowledge on the subjects that they do enjoy. In fact, encouraging students to pursue their passions without the distraction of financial gain can contribute to the motivation of furthering their education or career.
As a result, society should focus on creating an education that accurately represents what students will face in the future and gives students a method to expand on their interests without the pressure to earn the highest grades or achievements; that way, we can truly give the future generation an opportunity to succeed.
The student-run newspaper of Glen A. Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights, California.