Kevin is an aspiring author and commentator on a variety of subjects such as media, politics, social issues, history, and more.
This article exposes the three main reasons why our school system is failing our students and explores the solutions that may be able to fix these problems.
One of the biggest problems in our school system is bullying, which is repeated aggressive behavior from one person to another. Statistically speaking, these rates are only going higher, turning a place meant for learning and improving into a place of condemnation and humiliation. On the subject, let us look at the statistics for bullying. My source for this data is stated at the end of this capsule.
- About 35 percent of kids have been threatened online.
- About 58 percent of kids and teens have reported that something mean has been said about them or to them online.
- Other bullying statistics show that about 77 percent of students have admitted to being the victim of one type of bullying or another.
- The American Justice Department bullying statistics show that one out of every 4 kids will be bullied sometime throughout their adolescence.
- 46 percent of males followed by 26 percent of females have admitted to being victims in physical fights as reported in one report of bullying statistics by the Bureau of Justice School
As the data shows, we can see that bullying is a bigger problem than ever, thanks to social media. But is that the only cause? You would think that the school system would enforce stricter rules for these situations. But I am afraid that is not the case. They do the exact opposite.
An example of why this system is failing is that they took out one of the biggest weapons against bullying. And that weapon is self-defense. Multiple stories have been surfacing about children being suspended or expelled for defending themselves. I can remember one instance at my school in the sixth grade involving two boys, whom I will call Tyler and Harold instead of their real names for the sake of their privacy.
Tyler was verbally bullying Harold. Harold then began to punch Tyler in retaliation. While Tyler was expelled, Harold did receive detention. Justified? Well, some of us could say Harold went too far. But Tyler, being the bully, was rightfully punished. That was less than 9 years ago.
Remember the story of Cody Pines? Less than a year ago, he received news coverage for defending a blind kid from being jumped by another student. As the assailant was arrested, students feared that Cody would be punished for hitting the other student. Fortunately, he was not punished.
Nowadays, there have been multiple stories of bully victims receiving a harder punishment than the bully, if the bully was punished at all. Many school systems are not recognizing self-defense as a method of bullying prevention, which is a policy that slowly came to my school, my high school, even the schools of some out of state friends of mine are enforcing our children to run away and treating self-defense as assault. Not only does this teach our students to be cowards, but it also teaches them that any problem can be handled by simply running away.
As parents and as teachers, we should teach our children critical thinking skills. That includes teaching them that running away from our problems is not the solution. Do I advocate fighting at the slightest insult? Absolutely not. If it can be handled peacefully, then do that. But when everything has been tried, and the child is left with nothing else, they must protect their self-worth and defend themselves.
Source: Bullying Statistics, http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-statistics.html
Our schools do not use the advantage of being given permission to teach our students on a five day schedule, equaling around forty hours that they are teaching. Now, does this mean all of what they teach is not fit for our children? No. Subjects such as math and literature (Or English) are vitally important for our children as whatever job they do after school will involve either one or both of these things, as well as their career and life in general.
Math can help with taxes, home repair by learning measurements, and so much more. Literature covers all basic reading comprehension skills as well as writing and imagination. And history can tell us not only how we as a country came to be, but maybe even how that individual student became who they are. And they can also understand what we can do to make this world better. As the old saying goes, "Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them." These three subjects alone impact everything we know.
Now, what about science? Is it important? Well, let's see what it teaches us. The scientific method, okay, that is pretty good, we need to know this as it makes for interesting experiments and problem-solving skills. Biology, yeah it is pretty important to know about various forms of life and how it can affect us. What else does it teach? Evolution. Wait, why?
Let me go and explain that I am not condemning those who do agree with the theory of evolution, that's fine. But this is wrong on a couple of scales. First off, it infringes on the right for students to believe in their religion. Questioning their religion should be a choice they make. If they want to study evolution, at least make it an optional class but not mandatory. Second of all, you are wasting resources on a class that only impacts those who believe in it or eventually will.
I am not sure if this applies to all schools, but at my school, we had two classes called Career Management and Home Economics (Or Teen Living). Career Management taught job skills, how to put a good impression for being interviewed, and workplace etiquette. Home Economics taught us babysitting, the cycle of pregnancy, cooking, and sewing. Now, this is something that basically all of us will deal with. Shouldn't our students know about cooking? Job skills? This is prevalent in our lives.
Now you could argue that this should be taught at home, but there is the chance that maybe the student has parents who are not teaching them these things, and even then a little more emphasis on it would not hurt. These classes need to be made mandatory in all schools, especially for high schools and colleges.
Lack of Motivation
We do not make classes interesting. We don't give our students enough reason to want to learn. I want you to look at this honest but albeit humorous video of a young man scolding his teacher for making their class disinteresting. " Student Preaches to Teacher 'You Gotta Make 'em Excited' (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l468_QI7-BI). Warning: A few uses of slang and bad words, but not too much.
I will always remember my freshman and sophomore years of high school, thanks to my English teachers in both grades. My first teacher took advantage of our interests and used them to make class interesting. For example, we were reading Romeo and Juliet. A student bit their thumb at our teacher, which is an insult used in the book.
My English 1 teacher was not offended. Instead, he created a list of words used in Shakespeare's books, but we did not know the definition. Our assignment was to pick the words and come up with a humorous insult towards anyone in the class for fun, and then he would translate what we said into modern English, and we would laugh at the results.
My English 2 teacher was different. He made us understand the meaning of the class. His favorite phrase to use was this. "You're not reading for this happened, then this happened, and then this happened." He got us to get involved with the stories and expand our minds. My favorite assignment by him was a report we had to do at the end of the school year.
He let us do it on anything we want, but the theme was that it had to be something that influenced a culture or society. That and his ability to connect with his students was the reason that he became loved by good students and feared by the disrespectful. He was basically like a father, being loving and understanding when needed and being full of righteous verbal anger when he needed to be. While I had other exceptional teachers, these two stuck with me the most.
What Is Wrong With Our Schools Today?
It is their lack of critical thinking. It is their ignorance of the lives of their students. It is their misguided focus on telling our children what to think rather than how to think. All the school system is doing is shoving knowledge into our student's minds and not teaching them how to use it, and conditioning them to seek conformity and making them into nothing more than cowardly robots who accept what they are told.
AF Mind (author) on June 26, 2018:
I agree that they suck, but we should not give up. We should try to improve our schools.
David Gibson on June 26, 2018:
The day I quit teaching was wonderful,I no longer had to put up with nasty coworkers,management that was to the left of Trotsky and the dumbest group of assaultive inner city shitbags that ever disgraced a school.I started next day finishing cabinets for a friend
American schools suck give up deluded fools!