Ariel Davis is a high school student who decided to drop out. Below is a blog post about why she came to that decision.
From Kindergarten through 5th grade, I loved school. Even in my first year of middle school I was a straight “A” student; always doing my homework, showing up on time, and retaining every piece of information I could possibly hold. Toward the end of that year I noticed that I had stopped trying as hard; not seeing its importance. I didn’t feel the need to try. When my 7th grade year came, my interest in school had totally diminished. What bothered me, though, was that I didn’t seem to care, and I couldn’t make myself care. Notice I said my interest in SCHOOL, not education. From middle school until now, my disinterest, dislike, and frustration with school only grew stronger. I had been considering quitting for a long time. This wasn’t because I’m lazy or that I don’t want to put in the effort, but because I couldn’t find its relevance or purpose for me. I know all the things school is SUPPOSED to do; form a skilled workforce, create a literate and educated group of citizens, teach social skills and self-discipline, but I strongly feel as though what school really does, more than all else, is deplete our interest in learning. I use school, not necessarily as the building itself, but as the education system its run by.
We’re all born with an innate thirst for knowledge. That’s clearly seen in our toddler and Pre-K years. All throughout our history, we’re constantly trying to create and invent and discover things never before seen or heard of, or thought about. Thomas Edison, one of the greatest thinkers and inventors in history, never finished his schooling. In fact, he was thought to be incredibly stupid. Even if he had completed his education, it would’ve been nothing like what’s being enforced in schools now. Learning, becoming educated, does not mean having facts and terms crammed into our heads or being piled up with worksheets, tests and homework. Rather, it means learning by experience, having the opportunity to discover and figure things out on your own. One definition of education is actually “an enlightening experience.” In schools today, teachers are required to teach so much material in such a short period of time, it’s not really learning anymore. It becomes memorization, usually for an upcoming quiz or test, only to pass it, move on and forget all of it until It’s brought back up again in a later lesson, year etc.
Another issue is that a main concern for most teachers is covering the necessary material to pass a test at the end of the year. The problem with this is that more than half of the time, they don’t even know what material to cover for it, as they are not permitted to see these tests. Continuing on the subjects of tests, a huge problem in schools is standardized testing. Contrary to its name, they aren’t really standardized, considering that every year they raise the standards. You can’t continue to test a class of students at higher levels than the class of the previous year and expect better results.
Sir Ken Robinson, an English man who works in education reform made the point that schools are structured like factory lines. He says that students are grouped in “batches,” so-to-speak, according to the year they were born, as if that has any relevance to how intelligent you are and in what fields of study. In an article online, one man said that school separates students into two groups: t hose who conform, and those who fail. He then elaborates on this saying that the conformers are those who memorize every fact, finish every homework assignment, and ace every test, staying up all night studying, and never question any of it. The failures are those who challenge the system and question its relevance, often having very bright minds accompanied by “Ds” and “Fs” on report cards. This issue makes for many intelligent people going unnoticed and never reaching their full potential. Like I said before, these are all problems I have with the education SYSTEM, not education itself.
I love to learn, as do most high school students. The problem is that many of them don’t realize this because of the way we have to “learn” in school. I know this isn’t the teachers’ fault, and that they would probably like to see lots of changes themselves. I just feel that our education system needs an enormous reform and that’s why I choose to continue mine online and on my own time. If, in the years ahead, I realize I made the wrong decision, I’ll take every “I told you so” that gets thrown at me. Until then, I’ve thought long and had about this, I’ve done my research, and I feel very confident in the choice I’m making.
High school junior from Randleman High School