Learning Equals…Knowledge?

Why the current US education system is failing its students.


Lucy Knerr

Schools are no longer structured for health learning. School should be restructured.

Ask any student grades first through twelfth their thoughts on their academic experience and most- if not all- will say something along the lines of ‘I hate it’ or ‘I would literally rather work at a McDonalds for the rest of my life than stay in school for another six years.’ However, when asked why they may feel that way, most students wouldn’t necessarily be able to articulate the reason for these feelings of hatred. 

The shallow answer to this hatred would be the incredible amount of out of school assignments students are required to complete out of the academic classroom. However, the larger, more complicated answer goes much deeper than this. 

The trouble began at an estimate of 145 years ago at the beginning of the American industrial era in 1876. With the rise of factory work and production rates came an increased demand for intelligent individuals in the workforce to match the increase in job openings. The education system followed the industrial revolution with a revolution of its own, in a sense. Real learning and a curiosity for knowledge were not necessarily needed for the workforce at that time, so instead schools used education to teach obedience and work ethic through lectures, graded work and standardised tests. 

This system proved to work exceptionally well; literacy and production rates rose dramatically during the industrial era. The only issue this system inherently has is that it was designed for the students of the late 1800s and early 1900s. As such, one would think that a second educational reformation would come along within the next hundred years or so. 

“Unfortunately, this was not the case. Students and teachers of the twenty-first century are still consistently using outdated methods to teach students not how to learn and pursue knowledge, but rather to be consistently obedient and work prone.””

— Lucy Knerr

Lessons in the classroom are no longer necessarily preparing students for the workforce which is now primarily run digitally and/or electronically. 

This also carries into higher education. Because university attendance was not common during the industrial era due to the price and the need for work, college tuition prices in the current age continue to rise an outlandish amount every year to keep them up and running because of the little attendance in the industrial era. Scholarships and loans are options- however, almost every student that uses loans as a method of payment ends up thousands of dollars in debt and are unable to work their way out of it. 

Scholarships, on the other hand, are primarily sports based due to the fact that students aren’t getting the education they need to earn full rides using grades alone. So, what can we do about it?

Well, what is really needed is a complete educational reformation. However, with the current state of the country, education is most likely the last thing on people’s minds at the moment. So, we can begin by looking at the classroom. How is the information taught? What kind of information is being taught with these methods? How is this beneficial?

If a certain level of understanding of the system itself can be confronted, then change can finally start to come to fruition. Education needs to begin to benefit the student and educator before the workforce and the country can change for the better. Because, although it doesn’t seem like it, everything begins in the classroom.