ABetter Education SystemBackground Education is quite possibly the second most importantthing in our society, next to money. America is known for having the topcolleges and universities in the world, but what about our education beforethen? If you ask current college students, such as the ones on my dorm floor,what they thought of their high school education before they answer thequestion they’ll most likely state some complaint about high school. Thecomplaint is along the lines of “I wish high school taught me more useful realworld things” or “high school took up way too much time”. Both of these arevalid complaints that America’s current education system fails in. America’sschools are quite notorious online for having an absurd number of standardizedtests that add nothing to the education of the students. These tests are purelyfor funding of schools, which you would think since there are so many of thetest that the funding is adequate but that’s not even true, the government ishorrendous at funding schools evenly. A problem with thecurrent school system happens to be the actual students. As said earlier thecomplaint that high school didn’t teach anything real world useful is universaltoday.
You see this complaint on twitter, Tumblr, YouTube comments, and even inmovies. But why even is there this complaint? While, yes, school does not haveclasses in finance or job applications worked into the core classes, in mosthigh schools they are offered as side classes. However, people seem to miss theentire point of high school. The point is not to give you a baseline ofinformation and then send you to a job. The point of high school, and why it isso hard to teach, is it is supposed to give the students a wide variety ofknowledge that will hopefully lead them into a career that they would like todo.
Not everyone is going to use differential equations in their lives, mostpeople won’t really use anything past Algebra 2, but some students may not knowthat they like those classes and taking them opens a whole variety of jobopportunities for the student. As for the second complaint of high school takes too muchtime, this is true and sadly for the wrong reasons. In a week there are a totalof 168 hours, 120 if you only count the school week.
Of these 168 hours roughly32 hours are in class, 47.6 are sleeping, 15.55 are homework, and 21 are sports.School lasts 7 hours a day for 5 days where classes meet 4 hours per week, theaverage amount of sleep for a high school student is 6.8 hours, the averageamount of homework per weeknight is 3.11 hours, and the average practice lengthof sports are 3.5 hours. These hours total up to 116.
15 hours per week spentdoing high school related activities, this is excluding any clubs or out ofschool sports related activities that a student may do. These statistics mayseem fine since it leaves 51 hours of free time, this is where things get crazyfor high school. According to pretty much any college the proper way to studyis about 2 hours for every hour spent in class, this way it’s a consistent studyand the brain retains more information than just cramming the night before.Except, if 32 hours a week are in class, and since high schools generally useblock scheduling each class meets the same amount per week, this means 70 hoursa week should be used for studying properly. Based off the current schoolsystem students need 180.15 hours per week just to keep up with theirschooling. It’s no wonder high school students are more stressed out than ever.According to UCLA high school students now are partying a fourth as much astheir parents, and hanging out with friend half as much.
Standardized testing, 93% of studies say that they are apositive impact on a student’s education, but students seem to disagree.Standardized testing starts in second grade and happens yearly through juniorsin high school, some years there are multiple tests per year. Students aretired of standardized tests that take place of actual instruction time and addno real academic value, they don’t go on your transcript, and they’re purelyfor funding to the school. Last year in Colorado there was a huge uproar overstandardized testing. Colorado decided to usher in a new wave of standardizedtests, the CMAS, this test was to be given to high school seniors which madeeveryone go into an uproar. Senior year was supposed to be the year focused oncollege and no testing. It was insulting to the students that there was anothertest they had to take that wasn’t even going on college transcripts. This testwas protested by Colorado’s top performing and wealthiest counties, Douglas,Cherry Creek, and Boulder, in Douglas County over half of the student refusedto take the test, I was one, in Cherry Creek only 37% took the test and inBoulder a mere 16% of students took the test.
These tests were for funding andschool districts try to use teachers to guilt trip people into taking tests,the tests supposedly reflect the teacher’s performance and therefore decidestheir pay. This is wrong. Solution There is no real solution to this education problem,however, I think this would be the best way to go about it. Unfortunately thefirst complaint may never go away, but if we introduced subjects earlier on inschooling kids would be able to see the value of what they’re doing. Currentlythe non-stem side of school is fine where it is, the problem is math andscience are nowhere near where they need to be in this fast progressing time. Inthe current elementary school curriculum math progresses from first grade math,which is a generalization of all mathematics, each section is a portion of mathgraphing, fraction, operations, etc., to pre-algebra which is an introductionto Algebra. So essentially the math is progressing from generalization of mathto a generalization of the backbone of mathematics.
That’s pitiful, it’s nowonder so many kids hate mathematics, it’s just repetition of the same thingfor 8 years until you get to the actual useful stuff in Algebra. I proposealmost a complete overhaul of the department. Going through each year I can seethings that I never used and will never use, and I’m in engineering so I’ll beusing almost all of math.
After removing these topics and re arranging them itshould move the curriculum two years ahead, this allows Algebra and Geometry tobe taught in 7th and 8th grade. This puts students inhigh school through at least calculus by junior year, giving them senior yearto decide if they really want to pursue a math heavy majors in college. As forscience the changes are not as much as mathematics. Simply moving thecurriculum a year ahead would suffice, this would put Biology in 8thgrade and make chemistry and physics the first two years of high school. Havingthese two within the first two years opens up the option to take the advancedcourses in each junior instead of senior year where they were previously taken.Having the increased level of mathematics and science earlier on in a student’scareer should increase the amount that are sure they want to go into thosetypes of fields and look into how they can achieve those goals.
Time management is essential for an efficient schoolsystem. The school year would adopt the year round school system of 45-15 wherethe students go to school for 45 school days (3 months) and then are out ofschool for 15 (3 weeks). This allows aconsistent learning with adequate breaks that the students will need to keep upwith studies. The current school week for high school is based off the blockschedule which is 8 classes and the week is split into odd classes on Monday andWednesday while evens are on Tuesday and Thursday for 90 minutes each class,then on Friday every class meets for 50 minutes. This is a great schedule,except Friday, most classes through my high school career saw Friday as awaste. Nothing of importance was completed on this day, teachers could barelyteach a decent lesson.
In the new school system block schedules should keep the8 classes split by odds and evens except on Friday it should essentially be arequired study day. This cuts down on the amount of required studying outsideof class. Furthermore, classes need to become more interactive with teachersand students. Homework should not be required, it takes up crucial times thatboth students and teachers need.
Instead, classes should be a quiz based gradewith a yearlong cumulative final at the end that decides if you pass or not,passing grades would be decided by the individual school districts. Each popquiz would be tailored towards the individual student meaning that the firstquiz would establish a baseline for the students and each quiz after wouldemphasize their weaknesses of the class. This puts work that replaces gradinghomework, the teachers would know each student better and have a betterunderstanding of each student’s learning. This also puts work onto thestudents, they would need to properly study for each class to continually getbetter at what they struggle with in each class.
Now back to the hours eachweek. As said before students would need 180.15 hours to complete their school work.
With this the students would be in class each week for 24 hours- closer to acollege schedule- requiring 48 hours a week of proper studying except Friday isa 1 hour study for each class knocking that down to 40 hours of studyingoutside of class. There would be no more homework so that gets rid of 15.55hours.
Assuming the sleep schedule and sports stay the same in order forstudents to adequately complete their school studies they would need 140.6hours a week, leaving 27.4 hours of free time. Of course 27.4 hours is not aton of free time but remember that this is only for 3 months at a time and thenthey get a 3 week break from school which would be used to relieve stress builtup from the school year. The hardest part of implementing a new school system ishow it would be funded. Currently public schools are given funding based offtheir standardized test scores, which leads to many teachers teaching to thetest to improve scores.
This would not work in the school system laid out, andreally barely works in the current school system. The United States spendsroughly 950.8 billion on education. Teachers should be payed a base startingsalary, $49,000 would be the minimum, then based off of the performance of theclass with rigor of the course taken into account. The current amount of fulltime teachers is 3.1 million which costs 152 billion dollars in teacherstarting salaries. This means the only way to move is up depending on how wellyou teach your subject.
Reflections of teacher performance would be taken fromthe progress of the quizzes along with the results off the cumulative exam atthe end of the year. Possible bonuses for each school would be awarded for thepercent of graduating kids. The standards for graduation would be 4 credits ofmath (algebra 2, trig/pre calc, statistics, calculus), 4 credits of science(chemistry, physics, higher level), 4 credits of English (English 1-4 or AP), 3credits of social studies, 4 credits of practical arts (business, computers,etc.), 1 credits of fine arts (music, art, theatre, etc.) and 8 credits ofelectives (foreign language, specific sciences, etc.) along with obtaining atleast a 2.5 GPA, this totals 28 credit hours which is at minimum 7 classes peryear.
The school system I would implement cuts down wouldrequire students to take classes in business or finance thus eliminating thecomplaint of not learning enough practical knowledge in school. It also cutsdown on the amount of time students stress about school allowing students totake more rigorous schedules while still having the spare time to do thingsthey enjoy. Re adjusting the education system for elementary schools givesstudents a background in problem solving and critical thinking allowing formore engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs to come into the work force. Thechanges laid out would not be easy to implement, and surely unions and suchwould oppose it. But I believe that it is the proper way to prepare our futuregenerations for this technologically advanced society we are progressingtowards so quickly. Citations1.
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