Friday, April 25, 2014

"No More Homework" by J-Story

Schools believe that the amounts of schoolwork and homework they give is appropriate for students.  The argument towards justifying the excessive amounts of homework is that students will be moving into careers that are as or more stressful than school. However this is not always the case; school doesn't necessarily prepare the student for life in the outside world. Instead school should be focused on what the individual prefers. It could minimize requirements for all but certain subjects that are important to what the student wishes to study and pursue outside of school in the real world.

This would allow individuals to get the most out of their ‘free’ education especially when it sets them up for their real world job and what they wish to pursue in college. And for those who aren’t certain what they would want to study, it allows them to try and experience different careers they may be interested in. As a student currently enrolled in the final months of his junior year of high school an education in this way would have been far more beneficial to me. I would have liked to experience what college is like aside from the general AP course which may or may not count towards college credit. Whereas not only do I have standard American high school courses and hours of homework alongside the athletics I’m in I have to explore college courses and prepare for standardized tests. It is just not possible and what makes matters worse is that teenagers have to make a life altering choice while under a ton of pressure and they are completely unsure as to what they want to study outside of high school. Why should we pay extra money to change our college majors when high school could prepare us for college better and eliminate unnecessary and pointless standardized tests. Plus it would eliminate homework that is completely unnecessary and only give homework if it were absolutely necessary.

Education would be focused on what it was meant to be: educating. Not forcing masses of persons who are completely different to memorize general trivia. Of course some of the common knowledge is necessary in order for a student to be well balanced but it would be better if the knowledge was condensed into a shorter span. Here in the United States we cover information we learned in grade school a second time, which takes away from continuing on an educating ourselves for the working world. Wouldn’t it be better to eliminate this ‘review’ and make it an optional course in school or make it available for those who absolutely need the review. This would also eliminate the extra trivial work and homework that is not completely unnecessary for students. Restructuring our education system with less homework and education focused more on the individual would be more beneficial to society. Especially now when there is so much ‘general’ to memorize. This would allow for specialization and allow persons and competition to improve in all sectors of the work force.

Also think of the teachers. They are basically forced to teach towards a test. They must have their students score well on test that is focused on general knowledge of general areas. Why not make school mean something for teachers? If schools were focused more on the preparation for college rather than the mediocrity that is teaching to a test teachers would be further motivated to teach with passion and care. Think for a second: a teacher who controls everything from homework, if any, to any sorts of grades given. There is no big ‘necessary’ test at the end of the year the state requires. Instead free education in which students and teachers feel motivated and obligated to do well. A variety of courses could be offered with the restraints of common knowledge; engineering classes, literature and poetry, arts, music, business and administration, technology courses, history, and mathematics for individuals interested in all sorts of careers.

One of the leading countries in education, Finland, doesn’t give homework to its students. They have less stress and are encouraged to pursue balanced lives outside the educational system. They are given time to relax and do not have to balance work outside of class with their extracurriculars. They are encouraged to be social, to go outside and meet with friends. Where as other countries like the United States have seven hours of school and can receive up to five to six hours of homework on top of extracurricular activities. Scientists have proven that students across the United States have the same anxiety levels as insane asylum patients during the 1950s. As a student in the United States high school educational system I can verify that the system needs change desperately.  Homework is only one issue that induces stress and hinders personal performance in life and society. It saps motivation and emotion from people; encouraging people to do whatever they can just for the sake of completing the work. If not done right, work can actually hurt the student so why should the student be practicing without the teacher supervising them, making sure the student has the competence to perform well.

Another way the system has failed us as an educational device is how state and federal governments have standardized tests and lessons. There are students, like myself, who take certain tests which are designed to be easy and find them hard, but when we take a harder test we find them easy. These tests make intelligent students fall behind the diligent ones and if you do not understand the difference between intelligent and diligent then you need to go back to middle school. How is it fair to victimize students of higher intellect such as myself and a countless number of both friends and peers and place us with individuals who have ‘bulled’ their way through? It is an intolerable obstruction to fair education and opportunity. Such tests should be eliminated for such a reason, aside from how wealthier families can afford to send their children to prep classes designed for them to ace these tests even though they haven’t scored higher than a C average their whole schooling career. Where is the equal opportunity for in that?-nowhere. The school in which I am currently a member of only a few are fortunate to afford one of these classes at a lesser quality for a cheaper price, but a majority of students won’t bother because their parents cannot afford to place them in college. Then there is the school on the other side of the district where everybody is in the top ten percent of the American economic hierarchy, not only can they afford these classes but they can afford to send their children to Princeton and Harvard without aid. Yet most of their children are over privileged and incompetent, I know I’ve met many, and these are going to be the future leaders of America. No wonder we are the ‘doomed’ generation.

Finally let us not forget that homework is one of the leading causes of stress in the world. The extra work focuses on the most important information that the majority should know. But it doesn’t allow for individuals to cover certain topics they need help on or want to explore more. It only aids in the general knowledge and excludes individuality and self exploration. The only ways to fix this issue is to add even more homework to the already super stressed student body, or completely eliminate homework altogether. But this will never happen because we are too focused on pressuring students rather than helping them. Along with forcing teacher to teach to a test that only further limits the areas of which they can teach to us.

It would be nice to see such changes to the education system for when my potential children might one day attend school in America. But then again it most likely won’t because what do I know?-aside from being a student who constantly deals with such issues on a regular basis. We can only hope dramatic change will come and we must pray that it is a good change.

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