New School

There is so much I could say in response to this daily prompt.

You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?

First off, I would definitely not do away with reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic because we need them more than ever. But instead of just reading a story and having to memorize useless details to regurgitate on a standardized test, it would be far more beneficial for students to read nonfiction and learn to critically analyze what they read.

Getting a certain number of volunteer or community service hours needs to be mandatory for schools. I know that some school systems have already implemented this, but when I was in school, it was not a requirement.

I’ve ranted about this a few times before, but I won’t stop until it becomes reality: Schools and universities really need to teach kids about real-world stuff. Like how to cook meals that aren’t “pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds,” rent an apartment, buy and maintain a car, buy and maintain a house, understand insurance, have healthy relationships, and so on and so on. Yes, I know these things are supposed to be taught by parents, but it’s way too often that parents drop the ball or can’t be bothered.

High schools need to teach students that college is not the only path to success. College is not mandatory, and some kids will not succeed in college simply because it is not the right choice for them or they don’t have the right temperament for it. Also, grade inflation in high school and college needs to stop. If the student does excellent work, he gets an A. If he does poor work, he gets a D. End of story. When I was in college, students used to bug professors to try and get them to drop the lowest test score or shorten the page count of a term paper to 5 instead of 10, and the sad thing was that sometimes the professors would give in. College is supposed to teach you about the real world, and in real life, you don’t get your way by whining or slacking off.

4 thoughts on “New School

  1. “If the student does excellent work, he gets an A. If he does poor work, he gets a D. End of story.”

    I worked for a period of time for a company which employed a lot of people right out of school, and there was a full-day new-hire orientation that — in addition to showing us a couple of inspirational films about the glorious history of the company — consisted of a lot of: this is how to answer a phone in a professional manner, this is how to dress professionally, this is what happens if you show up late on a regular basis, etc.

    I remember thinking that they must have created this class because so many people came in not knowing these things — things which seemed pretty basic to me (I remember my father teaching me how to write a business letter 🙂 ).

    But my parents were unusual, both in how much they worked at teaching me things themselves and in the fact that when I was little they were already in their forties, so they knew a lot more than somebody who has a kid much earlier (and people are mostly going to have kids much earlier, so schools need to take that into account).

    If somebody gets a D, then you can start on the proccess of explaining why the D happened, and how to work better and so on — but if you just give the A anyway — which sometimes happens because teachers are being rated on the “success” (high grades) of their students — then the whole process of education stalls out.

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    • A lot of those basic job etiquette skills are just common sense, which people don’t seem to have much of, sadly. And a lot of the time students will argue with the professor and bribe them to raise their grade, even when they didn’t do the work to warrant a good grade. Professors really need to put their foot down–in the long run, they’re not doing the students any favors.

      And I agree that having older parents helps a lot. My parents were in their late 30s when they had me, so they had a lot of good ol’ common sense knowledge to impart. 🙂

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  2. Schools definitely need more “real world” studies. Home EC classes would benefit with a complete overhaul of their food choices though — when I took Home EC, we cooked some pretty questionable, unsatisfactory foods.

    Another thing I would like to see more of is colleges/universities giving students the opportunity for paid internships during their college career. It’s especially helpful for students who don’t have much of a previous work history.

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    • Yes to both of those! My home ec class was kinda dumb… we mostly just made cookies. (The cookies were good, though.) Definitely more paid internships–it’s not fair to offer only unpaid internships to those who can’t afford to work without pay.

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