2016 Apllicant – Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. Ohio Problem-Solving Scholarship
Lucy Baer – Leetonia, Ohio
What keeps America at the top of the metaphorical food chain of the world? Is America even on top? One simple and logical response to such a question is youth. When a tree stops growing leaves it dies. If America stops producing students who are prepared to go out and face the world, it too will die. This is why it is so crucial to reform the education system in America to keep America “running,” as Dunkin Donuts would advertise.
One of the main topics picked at mercilessly by Americans is standardized testing. There are many reasons for bringing standardized testing into the public eye, and for the most part these reasons are not quite the positive and successful feedback that lawmakers were ever so eager to hear. In fact most of the reactions were angered and upset for imposing this on American students. Some of the more popular complaints about these test are, one, that they are a waste of time. Teachers could be using their limited time in class so much more effectively by focusing on different aspects that may not be on the test, or even look at parts of the test in more detail. Another large problem for the students taking the tests is how to prone to test anxiety they can become. Imagine being in the students shoes. Not only does your score reflect how the student does personally, but it also rates the teachers’ productivity, and can be the basis on how much federal grant money is given to a particular school. This building up of anxiety and pressure onto the student can easily skew the results of the test.
Not only are the tests wastes of time, they pull the attention away from key topics and skills that need to be attained by the American students if America is to continue to progress. It is clear that technology has impacted our society. Sometimes in very useful ways, for example, I can type this essay on a computer without my hand getting cramped or having to stop and erase unfinished thoughts all the time. However, this definitely has negatively impacts the next generation of Americans who can’t speak to someone face to face when they are interviewing for a job, or presenting their ideas to a crowd. Even in a technologically advanced society, it is hard to maneuver through life without conversing with someone in person. Also, technology has taught these students that they don’t have to think for their own. They can easily see online or on social media that Kanye West thinks that Vermin Supreme is the best presidential candidate to lead America in 2016, so these kids can just copy and paste his opinion. In a society like this, there needs to be a way through schools to combat the social skills that these students are lacking.
Growing up, I always knew not to complain unless I had a way to fix it. So how can our ineffective education system be patched up or even replaced? I am first going to start with standardized testing. There should be nothing more important in education than the well-being of American students. Therefore, when these students are becoming anxious and are psychologically impaired to the point they cannot accurately show their potential all because of tests that are going to have misinterpreted results, we have a problem. This would be justly eliminated in the state courts. The next thing that would be changed is the curriculum. I would never make any certain class or standards mandatory for the schools, but I would limit the mandated curricula so that there would be more time and options for students to gain the critical social and analytical skills. This would be more effective than mandating schools to teach these things along with the hundreds of other standards that have to be taught in class because it is a compromise. If we loosen the curriculum for the school and they are encouraged to teach the students more productive skills, the state and the schools would finally have some sort of compromise, rather than the endless tug of war fight that has been going on since the beginning of time.
In the children’s book, Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, one of the aspects that the Petit Prince criticizes of adults is that they are too focused on numbers, digits to be exact. If they meet someone new they want to know how much they weight, how much their father makes, or how many brothers do they have rather than seeing what the person is actually like. It’s the same in the American education system. Educators rely so much on these numbers from standardized testing AND THEY ARE NOT EVEN CORRECT. They judge each individual student, the students that will shape their future, without knowing the situation behind their number and this is what needs to change in the world today.
Thank you to all of our applicants. Please check out the annual Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. Ohio Problem-Solving Scholarship for current opportunities.