School is Pointless. Here’s Why.

School+is+Pointless.+Here%27s+Why.

Mariam Mufleh, Staff Writer

The majority of students today will tell you that they do not like to attend school. They’ll grumble and moan about how they don’t want to go to school, pretend to be sick when they’re not, complain the entire day about just how dreadful Ms. Hill’s fifth period algebra class will be. The current state of education to many students is pointless– and I don’t disagree. 

School is supposed to be a place in which students learn valuable lessons and concepts that will help them be successful in the future. The American education system fails to acknowledge that behind the infamous “But Miss, do we actually need to know this” (followed by the usual giggling of course) is a good question. 

The Pythagorean theorem will offer little use when learning to calculate our taxes, and let’s face it: unless you’re majoring in chemistry, you’ll most likely never take a glance at the periodic table. Almost everything short of reading, writing, and basic math that the American education system teaches is insignificant, and I would even argue downright useless. 

Not only is what we learn in high school trivial then, but the materials we put so much effort into learning won’t even be retained after graduation. Harvard professor David Perkins explains that because young people focus too much on getting that hundred quiz grade in school- the “short term success”, we study to accumulate knowledge, not learn. Course study becomes a race for memorization, and most students will forget this information almost immediately after taking the exam; “Overwhelmingly, knowledge unused is forgotten. It’s gone.”

Because the grading system focuses on this memorization technique instead of prioritizing learning and real life applications, it makes it incredibly difficult for students to understand the key concepts necessary for success after graduation. In his editorial for the New York Times, Adam Grant explains that “Academic grades rarely assess qualities like creativity, leadership and teamwork skills, or social, emotional and political intelligence.” This then makes career success incredibly difficult, in which the focus is “rarely about finding the right solution to a problem — it’s more about finding the right problem to solve.” 

The solution is simple: we need to stop putting an emphasis on studying to memorize and stop teaching subjects that we will not need after graduation. Yes, physics and calculus may be able to teach you to think critically, but so will a finance class and a class focusing on acquiring soft skills.  At the very least, we should give students more choice in their schedules. By changing the current education system, we will allow for a more productive and dynamic society, paving the way for a bright future for all of America. 

Works Cited 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/08/opinion/college-gpa-career-success.html

https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/ed/15/01/whats-worth-learning-school