Wading through the American education system is becoming an ever increasing frustration. It seems that gone are the days of learning things that are practical and applicable to your life beyond school. No more are we teaching children life skills and vocational skills. We’ve reached a point where we’re placing undue pressure on kids who just don’t think that way and this makes them feel like failures. The dissection of subjects earlier in schooling, especially in the math/science fields is making many students second guess their abilities and we’re stressing kids out unnecessarily.
Remember back when you did high school? I bet you didn’t do algebra in 6th grade and I’m almost certain you didn’t do chemistry and trigonometry until the last two years or wasn’t that what just the brainac dungeons and dragons kids did?
I hear the argument all the time that we all need to have an understanding of these things but do we? I am learning chemistry for the very first time as a 48 yo simply so I can help Grand Master D pass. To date in my life I have honestly never needed to know any chemical equations ever, not one single time. Don’t even get me started on trigonometry, COS, TAN, SIN… dafuq?
I completely understand that these subjects are highly specialised and required for many fields of expertise and we need scientists and physics experts to continue inventing cool stuff but making every kid do them, younger and younger each year does nothing to actually teach them anything but to hate those subject if they don’t have the aptitude. It doesn’t mean you’re not intelligent if you can’t grasp the concepts of these subject, not everyone can paint or sing, dance or play an instrument either….
I also get the fact that we want a well rounded education for our children. Can we not just touch on each of the 4 math subject, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus in a basic sense through the first years if only to light the spark in those kids who feel this is their jam and they go on to do the more difficult courses in 11 and 12? Why make the english and language lover struggle with something he’s never going to use just to feel like a failure? And why make every kid do an entire year of it?
Same with the sciences, I get that earth science, life science and basic genetics are interesting topics but in depth chemistry and physics if you have no intention of becoming a pharmacist, doctor, scientist etc is borderline torture!
Whatever happened to Business Math?
Math 1&2 or applied science for the math/science geeks is awesome for future STEM industries but for those kids who will never use it and struggle to even comprehend it, why not teach them finances and balancing cheque books and compound interest and how to fill out taxes and shit. Those children may excel in the language arts, or may be brilliant with their hands instead. But how would we ever know anymore? Nobody takes wood work or metal shop or the culinary arts anymore. We’re not all cut out for academia or dare I say it, college, and I really think it’s unfair to force every kid into a cookie cutter education that they’ll never use and can’t succeed in.
When I look at the grades Grand Master D gets across his subjects, it’s completely obvious where his strengths lie. He’s getting honours in Film, Computer Tech and Art, high grades in english and global/social/geography and Spanish but he’s really struggling with chemistry and geometry. He’s a smart kid but his aptitude is shown to be more creative than analytical and it feels wrong to force extra pressure on him to just pass the tests and forget it anyway. Staying up until 2am to finish homework is so counterproductive that I can’t even begin to explain. Teach him something more useful, a more general science and math course….something he will draw on throughout his life.
And on the flip side of that, what about the kid who’s a whiz at math and loves all the sciences but can’t write an english paper to save himself. Sure there are minimum standards but not everyone needs to be able to write a 100 page thesis on Shakespeare at 16.
We’re setting kids up to fail, we’re running out of skilled workers in the practical industries, builders, plumbers, electricians and the list goes on. Mike Rowe harps on this all the time. You really wanna make money? Learn how to be a plumber, a mechanic or a carpenter…
You wanna make America great again? Train the workers to rebuild the infrastructure, teach kids to weld and fix trains and cars and trucks and toilets and build houses and install solar and wind technology and cook our food. Then you can stop complaining that the illegal immigrants are taking all the jobs.
But for the love, stop making kids hate school because they are struggling to learn useless shit they’ll never need.
*End Rant of Frustrated Parent*
Am I wrong? I’d love to hear what you think, especially if you have a child struggling with the impossible pressure placed on them at school.