By: CONNOR MABON-OPINIONS EDITOR
In the midst of a rather rare intellectual conversation with my roommates, an epiphany occurred that resonated with me.
We were talking about how at this point in history, education may not be about feeding our curiosity anymore, and that education as an institution in this country may have become more like a factory churning out standardized parts offering little color to this already black-and-white world. It’s a cynical perspective, I know.
The point I’m trying to make is it seems that there’s this great contradiction happening right before our eyes. We’re witnessing immense technological progress in places like Silicon Valley, but are quite stagnant in not only the political realm, but the academic one as well.
There have many people from the education sector who’ve decried our current system is flawed, saying it isn’t adequately preparing the younger generations for what the future job market holds. Is this true?
Well, we can’t deny that for the most part we’ve been victims of a system promoting memorization of notes more than thoroughly absorbing and digesting information since elementary school. I find this to be a rather mind-numbing process that provides little incentive to actually care about the lessons being taught.
Stoking this seemingly uncontrollable fire is the addition of media content focused on the reality TV model. The History Channel no longer educates the viewer on what its title suggests. The Discovery Channel rarely showcases new discoveries. The culmination of media distractions and an outdated system is pulling the minds of students away from fulfilling the true purpose of education: To learn and apply.
Truthfully, there have certain classes I’ve taken in my career as a student that I loathed. Glancing over chemistry notes was like reading hieroglyphs. Physics equations looked like an alien language. Statistics was just miserable (I had to take it twice and am convinced math is only meant for those with that type of mental processing).
Education in the formal sense might not seem fun, at least when pitted against the energy of weekend nights or other adventures. However, from a different perspective, education is truly worth our while.
But honestly, does our nation’s education system actually encourage us to care about learning the histories of nations, the philosophies that enabled their existence, or the economics behind what makes the world turn? From simply watching what’s on the television, I’d say no.
We’re lucky if we get a commercial attempting to bolster the young generation’s interest in math and science, which is an area where the United States currently lacks, ranking 36th (I’m one case study that supports this). One saving grace is our cherished and unwavering determination to make everything better – a defining characteristic of the American way of life.
We must ask, though, what factors cause this lag in our academic prowess. Is it the curriculums being taught? Is it because of bad teachers who don’t instill critical thought in the young minds who enter the academic world with a blank slate? Could it be that students are too distracted?
I don’t have the answers, but I believe it’s worth contributing to the debate.