The documentary, “Race to Nowhere” suggests that in order to redefine success, we need to eliminate homework, make learning fun again, reward the teachers better, consider the well being of the students, and take the pressure off of standardized tests. On the other hand, in “The Blog” section of Huffington Post, Linda Flanagan and Sarah Sangree respond to the documentary, “Race to Nowhere” (learn more about it here), suggesting another possible solution, “This is the world we live in. Maybe we should start by examining our own insecurities and regrets before setting out to change the system.
We have a simpler solution. To borrow from Nancy Reagan, just say no: no, you may not take five APs*, no, you may not join four teams this season, no, you may not stay up until 2:00am doing homework, no, you may not volunteer three times a week at the Food Bank, no, you may not participate in activities simply to pad your resume. Whatever the consequences, you’ll survive and we’ll continue to love you.”
Personally, I think they have a very good point on limiting the stress students put on themselves because of all the things they put on their plate. However, that doesn’t address a big problem with our educational system. If students say “I cannot take 5 APs, I cannot do my homework until 2:00am”, then all it will do is put their stress level down, which yes, is a very big problem. However, as a result, students will have a larger chance of not getting into as good of colleges due to their lack of advanced courses and lack of community service hours.
In addition, saying to yourself “No to homework” late at night, will not get the homework completed, and it will affect your grades. This brings us right to the problem of how high of expectations colleges have, with the standards rising and rising. For example, the requirement for a language is two years to graduate high school, but three years are now suggested to look good on college applications. In addition, three years of science are required, but most students are now taking four years to maximize their chances of college admission. Suddenly straight A’s aren’t good enough. Students also have to complete 200 hours of community service, while jumbling AP courses following by tests. BUT WAIT! There’s more. You are also expected to have talents, passions and extracurriculars, such as sports and playing instruments.
All the things that “look good” for college, is the reason why students are taking too many AP courses, forcing themselves to do sports, spending a lot of time doing community service, and staying up too late completing homework, to a point where it is unhealthy. The reason students are doing all of this is to seem unique, to distinct themselves from other people. Since everyone who is going to college is achieving beyond the requirements, you can have straight A’s, have taken over two AP’s each year, have over 200 hours of community service, and look the exact same as fifty other student applicants. To the college you just look, “normal”, even though you put countless years of work and effort into your high school years.
Since students were infants, they’ve had the idea-you have to go to college to get a job,and graduating high school is a minimum, unless you want to work at McDonalds- jammed into their brains. As a result, the mindset of student’s is that all the stress and effort is worth it, to receive a decent job and make enough money to withstand a family of four.
What can YOU do to help make a change to the faulty education system?
We are humans, not robots!
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