An analysis of the modern American education and its usefulness

By: Matthew Farrow | Student Life Editor

March 29, 2019

The modern American schooling system receives ample criticism, but to what extent is this criticism justified? After all, school is responsible for teaching us how to read, write, and do basic arithmetic.

The reality is that school is not all bad and it plays a vital role in how society functions. However, there are shortcomings of the schooling system; there is such an emphasis on assessment rather than practice, and an expectation that students are to memorize information instead of understand it. Seniors at San Clemente High School agree.

“I feel like the education system needs to dial back the testing a little bit,” senior Rian Harris said.

To be clear, I am not disputing the importance of assessment as a diagnostic or placement test, but I do believe it seems to be overused. Instead of teaching material with the end result of testing, a better alternative is the creation of a project that requires an understanding of the material. Learning java? Write a program. Learning about the war of 1812? Prepare for a debate. Just covered basic statistics? Create a model for the best way to play poker. This would be inherently more successful in improving opinions on school life. “I actually like learning quite a bit,” senior Alex Asp said. “But school can also be a lot of useless work”

By giving students a practical goal, it opens them up to the function of what they learned. Many people cite math class as one of the most boring subjects. However math is the most fundamental thing in the universe and its implications are limitless.

An effective education system should prepare students to use what they have learned. I am speaking from my own experience, but I tend to want to learn things that have some sort of application to my life. It would be nice to see the education system make a shift in this direction. I read a book a week and this is something that has a personal application to my life; perhaps our school system can make an effort to do the same as well.

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