Janette S. Utah

Let's Start in the Classroom

I support the thought that the biggest issue in America is that we aren't that great at fixing issues. We need a better education system.

Mr. or Mrs. President,

John F. Kennedy once said “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” To me this represents how we need to focus on improving our society, and I believe that starts in the classroom. We need to draw attention to the education system in America and find better ways to increase it’s effectiveness. I am talking specifically about the K-12 education system, and how it is part of a foundation that can be pivotal in ameliorating every other problem that we, as Americans, have. We can’t continue to let other countries surpass us in knowledge, when we have the tools to support a change. It is not about being the best, but it is about becoming better. Learning should be something that comes about naturally and that is considered to be an enjoyable pursuit. I would be very eager to get started on influencing this modification.

Now, America isn’t the least intelligent country, but we could still learn quite a bit from other standards that other countries have put forth for their schools. Finland, of course, is one of the best examples, and so is Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, just to name a few. For a long time now, America has been doing below average when it comes to education. It is not even a question that America needs a boost. One of the 11 facts from DoSomething.org states that “The U.S. which had some of the highest graduation rates of any developed country, now ranks 22nd out of 27 developed countries.” I definitely think that this needs to be addressed as evidence of a failing education system. This may be a big issue on why we are not at the top of the smartest country in the world list, in any category. We really are far behind compared to other countries.

If everybody had access to a better education and possibly more opportunities to learn outside of the classroom, then it is almost assured that society would improve at a large level. More businesses would be created, thereby creating more jobs and allowing people to progress not only themselves but the world around them. If we ignore the poor quality of our teaching techniques, then we are only making our problems harder to solve. I say that our teaching techniques are of poor quality, because I have seen relatable scenarios put on social media regarding general disregard for student’s personal learning paces, and personal life. Many people comment about these scenarios saying that it is true for them. It does not help if we throw subjects at students hoping that they will catch on. Imagine that you had an assembly line, and some component of the machine that is a part of this assembly line is broken or ineffective and it is influencing the outcome of your product. If you decide to fix the products or the marketing of those products instead of fixing the broken component of the machine, you are making your life a lot harder than it needs to be. In an article I came across called “Education is the Key to Better Jobs” it confirmed that better education leads to better job opportunities and it says “An individual with only a high school diploma is twice as likely to make under $40,000 per year than someone with a college degree. In contrast, an individual with a college degree is nearly nine times more likely to make over $100,000 than someone with only a high school diploma and 13 times more likely to make more than $200,000 per year.” Imagine all of the problems that could be solved if we made it easy for people to graduate high school.

Now, people have their own choices and you can’t make everybody go to college, but it is possible to make school more desirable. Back in a time when education, and specifically schooling, was a very hard thing to come by , it was exciting to be able to simply learn how to read, but back then people were able to go and experience more of life at their younger ages. There were more apprenticeships and farmer’s children would stay home and help with the farm. Education was a luxury, but at the present time school is viewed as something that is taking up too much time in the lives of the students involved. You can find many documentaries, or studies that support this. It is not a new concern. It is similar to trying to put a spring in an open box without having it jump out. Education in America is so focused on learning the curriculum to pass the test rather than focusing on learning how to learn. Andrew Linford addresses this when he states in his article “Singapore’s Education-An Insider’s Look,” “ I saw education planned backwards from the tests. As an English teacher, I was absolutely shocked to discover that the “syllabus” I received from the school was just a practice examination. Then, in conjunction with other teachers, I was expected to schedule the semester to directly cover each of the different types of test questions.... I felt it was very hard to make history enjoyable, applicable, and memorable when I had to cover how to answer the exam questions instead of the content itself.” True, this quotation was about the education in Singapore, but I believe it parallels America’s education system. I find that I enjoy learning more when I am on a field trip. There is something powerful about being able to experience more, than to read more.

So, please future President, put the voices of the American people out there so we can finally enjoy the freedom that has been given to us, and so we can influence the whole world. Help us to lead and improve. Help us help ourselves, so we can each work hard and earn what we deserve. Help America love learning. I want to take responsibility for my future, and I want the next generation to be excited about life. It is so important that we start in the classroom, so we can only get better.


Spanish Fork High School

AP Language 16-17

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