So if you’ve looked at my previous posts, you’d have seen my rough draft blasting our nation’s education system. Since that date, I’ve gathered critical feedback from my peers, and have decided on revising, implementing some changes there, and needless to say, it looks a whole lot better!
And now ladies and gentlemen let me present………THE ESSAY: Coming to a computer screen near you
I find it pitiful that our social and educational upbringing is hammered down, polished, and coated with a fresh layer of Economical Red. We are not teaching humanity; how to conceive a greater understanding of the human race, to develop into a divergent thinker, or discover passions. In fact, it is quite the contrary of a strong emphasis on intellectual areas. Instead, we are churning out the economical prototypes of the next generation by abandoning the arts, skimpering over history, ignoring English altogether, and leaving math and science to preside over the intellectual ruins.
And so to what extent do our schools serve the goals of a true education? Very minimally, in fact. To delve into this issue, let’s face the bigger question: What does it mean to be educated? By academic standards, it is defined by three things: Your GPA, ability to know a subject/lucky-guess your way across multiple-choice tests, and scoring high on the SAT. And what may fuel the drive to succeed in those areas? Oh yes! The widespread obsession with math and science at a global level to fulfill the goals our economy needs to compete with contenders in the global market, primarily China.
In a 2010 New York Times article, school systems in China are compared to those we have in the United States, primarily concerning student performances in areas of -you guessed it-science and math. China’s academic curriculum maintains a primary focus towards these subjects, and that is noticeable in various occasions concerning academic performance. For example, Chinese students fared significantly better than their foreign counterparts in those subjects on an international standardized test against 65 other countries. According to the article, this instance was only one of many indications of China’s growing competitiveness in the marketplace, thanks to basing their education system off of “discipline, rote learning, and obsessive test preparation.”
However, this also leaves creative thinkers, which, later noted in the news piece, difficult to find. Alas, a lack of creativity is the Achilles Heel of our educational system, leaving us reliant on technology, dependent on our abilities to calculate numbers and to measure the heat enthalpy of a sodium bicarbonate reaction, and our prevalent expectation in succeeding in those areas by surpassing the marks of millions of others with the same idea in mind. Our idolatrous devotion to mathandscience is the general idea of a “true education,” and one that will eventually backfire as we turn the cogwheels in this Sisyphian cycle.
I came across a study conducted by a book called Break Point and Beyond while reading an essay by Sir Ken Robinson on the lack of intellectualism in schools. It stated that the study tested 1,500 people on their level of divergent thinking. Of these 1,5oo, 98% of kindergarten children who participated in this study scored as a divergent thinker. Five years later, the percentage was 50%, and five years after that, the percentage was even lower. As the trend continues, we can also point out a parallel relationship here; the more educated these individuals become, the higher the deterioration of their creativity and divergent thinking.
Let’s face it; We’re whittling spears into staffs by leaving our kids a half-baked education. Too often is emphasis placed on facts and logic ( Primarily in areas of math and science) rather than developing creativity and divergent thinking (Which is taught when learning of the arts) , and I find that rather ironic since our academic layout is supposed to be geared towards logistics. Economical benefits aside, there is a widening gap of those of intellectualism being taught. And that’s a shame. In an increasingly technologically advanced world, there seems to be less and less wiggle-room for the humanities, crammed in the corner as we direct our academic curriculum on logic and polished vocabulary, but not the skills to use them. Thus, we chip away at the very core of what individualizes us as a species. In the words of Edward de Bono: “There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.