Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sur"real" Education

Failing … the dystopian dream


Education is something nearly all kids in the developed nations (a.k.a .the west) take for granted including myself. So many adults and children write and talk about how the education system is not right and has an endless list of complaints on reform.
It is so fascinating that we somehow came up with this idea where we spend a minimum of twelve years of our life being educating just to go to another school which is insane and yet I do not know of another system.

Education is different throughout the world.

In Denmark there is little to no stress. Homework are always turned in and kids come to school on time with no form of penalty.
There are no grades to hold a student accountable yet we all do our best without the education board holding a carrot in front of us. Grades are introduced in 8th grade (Danish schooling system) and is continued after. Vocational tracks are made to accompany each student and their skills. Up until then our assignments would be judged on scales such as excellent, great, good, need improvement etc. Though it may sound great to live in a country where education does not drive thousands of students to depression and suicide, it does not push you to become the best you can be.

In America schooling seems like a haze. In high school every other week is like finals week with a test in every subject. Each move you make in high school from one late assignment or failing your first test will impact your future. Teachers remind students that a bad grade can be turned around and made up for if it is done earlier in the semester; however, the truth is once a grade crosses 90% and into the B’s it is extremely hard to retrieve an A. This puts the idea in our minds that only A students will be successful and the only good colleges are in the lines of science and related subjects. At times you want to give up since you are always being compared to every single person.
The main difference in these two education systems is where a student may end up. In Denmark you will be fine and your trajectory will always just be fine. In U.S.A your trajectory could either land you on food stamps or lead you to become the next big thing. It is impossible some might say, but I believe in America if you put your mind to it you can be anything.

Education Types

I have been exposed to many different education types.
I experienced first hand the Danish and the American systems.
My danish friends are currently picking their tracks and enjoying their final year before gymnasium while my American friends and I are preparing for college tours, SATs and the AP finals, and my cousin in Japan goes to school by seven and comes home at ten after many sessions of tutoring for high school exams and brass band practice. Meanwhile millions of children in Asia, South America and Africa are putting their lives at risk to learn basic multiplication and the alphabet. A nine minute bike ride takes me into a complete different part of Mountain View. A predominantly Hispanic community where kids stay in school as long as eight in the evening because their parents are still working. My entire life majority of the students and I hated math, yet when I sit and tutor these eight and nine year olds they tell me they love math and it is their favorite subject.
I was conditioned to not like it and yet  here are these young kids who barely have half of the resources I had available, smiling as they proudly show me their skills and their enthusiasm to learn.
How can we improve our own education when so many children do not even have access to it.

Glass Ceiling 

There is a glass ceiling and it gets thicker and thicker the more minority identities you posses, but once that ceiling has a crack after relentless punching it will break and there is nothing holding a person back.
To explain this to my father I took the example of a soccer ball that I used to play with in the pool. People will spend tremendous energy on pushing you down and keep you there; however, as soon as the ball finds a little space it pushes out with force enough to lift it double as high into the air as it was underwater. The farther down one is pushed the harder and higher someone is going to rise back up.
In the end it is all up the individual's will power. It truly is magical what a person's will can achieve.

I am no exception to these bubbles we have created in our world, but I know if I do not help children in some way in my life I will not have done my duty.
This is not one person’s fault nor can it be fixed by one person. Like Michael Jackson said we have to look in the mirror and accept the person we see and know that we are not perfect and then move on to help others.
Sometimes these major issues in our world makes me want to set speakers up everywhere in the world and just blast One Love by Bob Marley. Now, I know that what I want is a utopian ideal and many adults might say you have not seen the “real” world yet, but I say to them that only those who are crazy enough to truly believe they can make a difference, will.