Thomas: The Fallacies of the Public Education System

The Flag of the U.S. Department of Education

United States Department of Education [Public domain]

The Flag of the U.S. Department of Education

Cameron Thomas, Copy Editor

The good news is that we’ve traveled a long way on our journey in developing the current educational system. Unfortunately, we took the wrong turn.

Over the years, the United States’ education system has steadily changed, making the curriculum more rigorous year by year. However, it’s not changing for the better; it’s like we’re digging a hole deeper and deeper for treasure that is buried underground in the wrong spot.

Even though some public school education systems are not as faulty as others, they all have the common struggle of trying to balance enforcing discipline and providing a quality education system.

They have been trying to figure out how to reach each student’s individual needs, and while on this expedition, we’ve gone in the exact opposite direction from our initial point.


  1. It Does Not Prepare Students for Life.

My problem is that schools teach students how to calculate the derivative of a trigonometric function, but a lot of these same students grow up and have to pay someone else to file their taxes when they could do it themselves. I’m not saying that schools should teach students how to iron clothes or brush their teeth properly because those types of things are the responsibilities of their parents, but there are necessary life skills that most students who graduate high school go without knowing.

Most schools don’t teach students about car repair, first-aid, all types of insurance, personal finance and finding jobs, which are all things that are necessary to know in order to be considered a responsible adult. There are, however, specific vocational and special interest classes (i.e. Economics, Home Economics, Psychology, Engineering, etc.) that supposedly help students learn about some of those things, but they give broad overviews instead of going over pertinent specifics.

Even though U.S. government is a prerequisite for graduation, schools still fail to teach students about the law in a way that they can be model citizens. Because of the increasing implementations of federal regulations, these new laws are making U.S. citizens more vulnerable to get arrested day by day since most are ignorant to these laws. A Yale study stated, “70 percent of American adults have committed a crime that could lead to imprisonment.” If high schools were to include these types of things in the curriculum, this could develop a future of legally informed citizens.

The majority of public schools also do not do the best jobs of informing students about their options as far as college and careers. According to, 75 percent of the students who start their freshman year of college will not make it to graduation as soon as they initially intended or at all.

They are told that best way to get a well-paying job is to become a doctor or a lawyer when the truth is that everyone is not intellectually or financially equipped to hold those types of occupations. Even though it is mentioned, students are not told that they can make a decent amount of money from trades until their senior year or even later.

Being that higher education is avidly encouraged in schools, students who are not prepared for it and still embark on it are placed deep in the piles of debt without getting a degree most of the time. They also do not know what credit is and how to deal with debt because schools don’t teach it.


  1. Is Equality Enough?

Do you remember those learning style inventories they give students at the beginning of the year? They are intended to determine the way each student learns, but the truth is that they don’t use them.

Most teachers teach as if all students learn in the same way which is most definitely not the case. It is not fair to kinesthetic learners when the teacher just stands and lectures for the entirety of class. This is a prime example of educational equality which is not an effective method. We have not yet learned how to reach educational equity.

Additionally, one of the biggest arguments in the educational society as of today is whether or not affirmative action is reliable and fair. It is an attempt to reach educational equity, but it is not always the best system.

However, it will have to be the system that works until the rest of the admissions process becomes fair on all levels. I know you’re probably thinking it is because everyone has equal access to information through programs like Khan Academy, but that is also not true.

Most students who get scholarship worthy scores on standardized tests had more than online tutorials, which are not as effective as being taught in person. Whether it’s a test-prep class in school or even supportive parents who provide them with materials to be successful, everyone does not have equal access to those types of opportunities. In fact, some of those students pay for tutors who know all of the tricks to standardized tests but are very expensive. All students are not in the financial situation to have these privileges; therefore, they do not do as well on those tests and require assistance in order to be accepted into good colleges because it is not their fault that they were born into unfortunate circumstances.


  1. Students Are Spread Too Thin.

I know it is the goal to keep students’ options open, but at some point, there has to be a limit. Why do you have to take an entire year of physics if you want to major in English?

The broad range of classes across the spectrum, all being required as high school graduation prerequisites, is absolutely outrageous. As the years pass,  A.P. and university classes are becoming more common. Students take these classes in order to get college credits, and most of the classes have nothing to do with what their interests are or what their future majors require.

There argument is that it will help students decide what they want to do for college, but in all actuality, it just confuses them even more.

If students have a focus in a certain subject in their last two years of high school, it will actually help them decide if that major is the right one for them or not. If it isn’t, they will still have those first two years in college to decide now that they’ve eliminated one field out of their possibilities.

It is better to do it that way than for them having to wait until they get into college and start paying for classes that they don’t like. This results in them changing their major and adding money to their already established debt.


  1. Students Are Starting to Lose Respect for Teachers.

If [good] teachers were paid by how hard they worked, teaching would be the highest paid profession, but that is not how it works.

There is a high demand for teachers right in America right now. In order to have smaller class sizes, which will help reach students’ individual needs, there will need to be more teachers, but the interest in the profession has been decreasing because of the low salary and the stress that comes with it.

Because state tests have become so much more rigorous than before, teachers are having to spend most of their time on test-prep instead of actually having the free will to actually teach in the way he/she wants. This has caused the younger generations to develop a nature of remembering algorithms and strategies instead of actually learning the concepts.

Even though it is not morally acceptable, removing corporal punishment from schools was the first step in taking respect away from teachers. Now that it’s in full effect, parents have taken it a bit farther and won’t allow teachers to even say certain things to their children. Since there is so much politics in education, the administration usually sides with parents on things of that matter, taking all of the power and respect away from teachers.



However, the education system is not all bad. Even though it has wandered long ways off course, it still provides education for everyone no matter what race, gender, religion, ethnicity or self identity. It has evolved in correlation with the country. There are new technologies, different types of students, new laws, etc.

All in all, the country still has a long way to go; therefore, the education system has the potential to mold the future of America because we, the students, are the future of this country.

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