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OTHER ITA SITES:
A Hard Look at How Advanced Subjects Like Chemistry Are Viewed
It’s time to discuss chemistry, algebra, mythology, and many other chosen standard curriculum and how they affect our lives (or don’t). When we look at today’s declining graduation rate, we love our typical scapegoats: lack of parental interaction, the internet, the economy, and so on. While the fact that these have an effect is most certainly true, perhaps we should look a little deeper.
Let’s face it, people: we are in the “New Millennium.” It’s the 21st Century. That doesn’t mean flying cars or that life needs to be like The Jetsons. It means we are in a new era, “the zeroes.” The zeroes have brought about a lot of changes, both positive and negative. It depends where you look. The internet itself has had both a good and bad impact on our society as a whole, for one example. To say it hasn’t changed everything, in some way or another, would be simply untrue.
So that’s it, this is a new time and time for a new approach. We know this. Everyone is more open-minded than they used to be, and yet a lot of major life issues are not in good shape. Why is that?
The reason we are struggling is because we are at a crossroads in time. Perhaps it’s partly placebo, but our awareness that change is possible and within our reach has sharpened. This new heightened sense of focus and optimism can help us make the changes we need in our education system.
There is no doubt that it’s time to address our system. Public schools simply are not efficient. The media often repeats the mantra, “We need to pay our teachers more.” Ha—as if! No, seriously, that is true sometimes, but no, that is not worth constantly repeating, if it means we are wasting time that should be spent looking at the real root of the “school problem.”
It’s chemistry, biology, algebra, calculus, greek mythology, and so on. What is it about this academia that is not settling right, when you look at those words? Here’s a hint: look at those and consider how many of those subjects have directly helped you in your every day life? If you said more than zero or one, you are either lying or you have a very unique career. Otherwise, there is little relevance in those subjects.
Stop the press! Don’t get all bent out of shape just yet! Give this a moment; there’s an explanation and it is genuinely rational! The point of school is not to just provide a curriculum that teaches people to live their lives; on the contrary. (After all, it is assumed that they will learn common sense at home, best case scenario.) The point of formal education is to help children learn to, well, learn.
So yes, this is not news. We know why we have a fundamental school system, and why that is core to a civilized and rapidly advancing society. But there is an element, a crucial aspect here, that is being continuously overlooked: again, the relevance of the subjects taught in school.
There needs to be a wider variety of subjects. We need to make changes to the education curriculum, which acknowledge a few things that are very true, but again, often ignored. First of all, our children are not all learning common sense at home. We need to teach kids to change their own oil, do their taxes, balance a checkbook, get a mortgage, drive cars (teach them the rules of the road years before driver education begins), and other daily life things.
And why are we filling their heads with needless garbage like Greek Mythology? What relevance does that have? Sure, spend a week on it… but why do many public schools spend an entire semester on that? This is so backwards. We will spend a semester on Greek Mythology, a year on chemistry, four to six years on advanced math that will never be used by the vast majority of all graduates, and yet… We do not teach kids how to avoid identity theft and stay safe online. What is wrong with us???
Why are we assuming that the parents not only know everything our children need, but that they have time and are willing to teach it? The education system clearly needs an overhaul. Curriculum changes would be a start. Maybe school should be a balance of work and fun, too, if we are going to ship our kids off to there for 6 hours a day. Let’s let them be kids for a bit, too.
Sure, our growing children need to learn discipline and learn to work, but they will have the rest of their lives to do that. Balance and better curriculum would make kids want to stay in school! That would resolve the decline in the graduation rate. Educators and school boards: I dare you to try these changes and see the results!
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