Does the material taught in school actually prepare us for the future?


Larisa Tarasova, Journalist

   As students sit in class, they can’t help but question how the material being taught will benefit them and contribute to their future. In fact, a report by the Harvard Medical School shows that nearly half, 47 percent of American high school graduates, complete neither a college nor a career-ready course of study. 

      Many schools try pushing the STEM curriculum (STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines: science, technology, engineering and mathematics), but many students are not interested and are more concerned with grades or passing the course than actually gaining anything from the course. 

      A study in the Derek Bok Center of Harvard has simplified the memory retention operation into a dual-step process, from the more unconscious to the more analytical side of memory. At each of these two levels, in turn, there are the processes through which we get information in, how we hold on to it, and how we retrieve it. Schools mostly manage to get information in but not far enough that the students hold on to it.

      In the most-watched TED talk of all time, “Do Schools Kill Creativity,” educationalist Ken Robinson claims that “schools kill creativity,” arguing that “we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather we get educated out of it.” Yet, to Robinson, “creativity is as important as literacy and we should afford it the same status.”

      Robinson challenges the way we educate our children, alluding to topics with which generations should be concerned and draws attention to the problems, namely that students lose motivation and inspiration. 

      I have watched the TEDTalk and I agree with many of the points. Creativity can change how we set our goals and what we even expect of ourselves. With our own expectations lowered, students aim for less. 

      Math courses, English, science, and history these “fundamentals” are taught and repeated every year to millions of students. Pushing the curriculum can leave little room for creative expansion or self-improvement.  

      Students are more focused with the idea of succeeding that they leave no room for failure and when failure comes, students instead of growing from the failure, get buried underneath it. Students are so concentrated on grades and tests, that the idea becomes not about learning but about passing and trying to do well. 

     Several students that were interviewed at Pahrump Valley High School admitted that they would rather cheat on homework or an assignment than to fail and receive a bad grade. Many said that the stress of grades causes them to try any methods they can to achieve a decent grade. 

      When looking at students, a person with A’s could be viewed as “smarter” than a person who gets worse grades in class. The stereotype that bad grades are complete failure is common in students. 

      When looking around most of my classes, I see dozed off looks or complete frustration. Schools should incorporate more creative based classes and take the iron grip off of grades. When creativity rises, productivity rises, and students are more successful. 

      Schools should include more diverse classes, ranging from credit classes, home repairs, negotiating, taxes, and health care. Students don’t get to explore their interests with many of the classes that they are forced to take.

      The education system holds the future of the country in its hands, and the way that students are molded in school will reflect them in the future.