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Posted: April 14, 2012 7:49 p.m.

Gahwiler: Students’ apathy towards learning

What's become of our society? Our youth? Our parenting? Children used to dream of being able to go to middle school instead of working in factories, let alone high school. Why has the parenting become so laissez-faire that our teens no longer wish to learn and become educated? Why has the "education" system lowered its standards simply to accommodate for the lacking of our generation? Why is our society sacrificing education and knowledge for the sake of schooling?

Our dropout rates are decreasing, but each teenage generation as a whole seems to care less about education than the previous. I know what the atmosphere is like; I'm there, these kids don't have any desire to be here. Why force them to do something they don't want to do? The parenting today kills me. While we do need self motivation as students, why have parents come to accept perennial failing grades and misbehavior? Whatever happened to discipline and consequences?

The parents in this country need to step up and take control of their children. I'm not saying to breathe down their necks about everything and anything in their lives, but at least show some concern for their academia and overall well-being. Is it really that hard to care about your child? Motivation in many high schools, particularly in Georgia, seems to have become close to none.

It's frustrating as a student to see kids there who don't want to learn anything. Do I have those moments? Certainly, but I have some kind of desire to be educated unlike many of my peers. Some people just aren't fit to be in college, or even high school. Some will never use any of the knowledge they gain in their four (or more) years in high school. So why make them go?

My suggestion to address this issue is to have elementary school grades 1-6, junior high 7-9, and then let the students decide between high school, a vocational school, or going straight into the work force. Intelligence level and scholastic ability are not a factor, only the students' desires whether it is to become educated in school, a trade, or just go right into the work force. Nearly every one of the 24 countries ahead of America in math and science use that system, or one very similar. If they don't like it, they can always go back and choose a different option. Too many students who lack the desire to learn squander their opportunities at a great start and waste the money of the taxpayers, so we should ultimately let them decide. On another note, the classes in the high schools should be accurately separated. It isn't fair to put a child who is above what we consider "average," but below advanced, in a class that they do not belong in. They need to have the below average, average, and advanced students all in separate classes so none of them are either left behind or deprived because of a flawed system. And since we would weed out those who do not belong in high school, we would then be far above other countries such as China and European countries as far as education is concerned.

The second issue with the education system that frustrates me is the grading system. First of all, learning 70 percent of the material does not mean the student understands it. At least an 80 percent should be required to receive credit for a class. Along with this change, to get a true display of what the students know in the subject is to make a large portion of the grade tests, and do away with homework. Class work will still be necessary, however, to give the students practice and help in class.

All homework would be completed by the student if the student feels like he needs to achieve a better understanding.

My main argument here is if a student understands the work, then why should they do more? It will all show on the tests. Sure many students will stop doing homework although they do not understand the subject, but that will be no fault but their own. High school is to prepare students for the next level, which in today's society is usually college. So why deceive them and make it nothing like college? The goal of high school is to prepare its students for college, and the way high schools are designed and run as of now (with a few exceptions), this goal is not being achieved and will not be achieved until something is changed.

This country has become disappointing and downright pathetic in its education system. We have some kids that don't belong there, we deprive others of what they need, and we insult the top tier by surrounding them with ignorance and stupidity. We need to take the reins here. We need to put kids where they belong, wherever that may be. We need to merge to the point where the class clowns are looked down upon and the top 10 praised.

We need to alter this system of education we have here in America because, although statistically we send more to college than ever, as a student I see some problems that need to be fixed. We need to merge from a system of schooling to an actual system of education focused on further improving one's knowledge. The way it's looking now, sadly, this will never change and America will be further frowned upon and statistically outclassed by other top nations.

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