[endnoteRef:26920]Tristan Donofrio [26920: ]
June 6, 2019
Flaws of Our Education
I enjoyed my 4 years in high school, I met great people and took away great friendships and memories from it. One thing I don’t feel as if I got from school was a proper education. I spent 2 years at single goal driven school and remaining 2 at a school focused on education. Looking back, I can understand where Diane Ravitch comes from and why I was given an education to its full potential.
I lived most of my life in the town of Oak Forest. I went to grade school and 2 years of high school there. Oak Forest was for the most part known for its sports but was also very focused on its state test scores. Many class periods and electives were centered around preparing for state tests and strategies on taking them. After 2 years of being there my mom thought the best decision for our family was to move down south due to increase crime rates and better schooling. I now reside in Peotone and spent my remaining 2 years of high school there. Peotone high school really opened my eyes to how poor my education was. Looking back now I feel as if my education didn’t really matter, unlike my test scores on state tests. I was offered dozens of extracurricular activities in Peotone unlike Oak Forest which I took advantage of immediately. Instead of preparing for state tests in our free time, we took electives to help know what we wanted to do with our future and help understand life after high school.
I feel that our education should be preparing us for our future. I feel that our parents had a much different education than what we are receiving now, and I think my mom understood that in her decision to relocate. I think that Diane Ravitch says it the best, “An educated parent would not accept a school where many weeks of every school year were spent preparing for state tests” (Ravitch, P.108). Our parents were given a proper education preparing them for their future. I think that schools should focus less on State testing and more on classes to help us later in life. Peotone offered classes such as Consumer Education where I learned how to do taxes, balance a check book, and how businesses work. I feel If I stayed in Oak Forest longer my state testing scores would be better, but I would not be receiving these life tools that I got from Peotone. Our Education should be also focused our history and our government. “To be prepared to judge issues on the world scene, they need to study world history and world geography to learn about other forms of government and other ways of organizing society than the one most familiar to us” (Ravitch, P. 110). I think this quote by Diane Ravitch explains it best. I feel our history should be one of the most important parts to our education. It shows our past mistakes, how to learn from them, and how to identify future problems in our government. This is something that taking State tests will not give you and help you with later in life.
From my current stand point based on what I've experienced first-hand, I feel that our government and schools care more about test scores than education. The government took one strong step backwards by enacting the No Child Left Behind Act of 2014. By enacting this, the federal law demands that students should be fluent in mathematics and reading., forcing schools to heavily test and focus on these subjects. Our schools only gain from these test scores are federal funding to stay afloat and to create data warehouses to store these test scores and information, so the government has an easier way to retrieve your past test scores. I feel that the government enacted this to makes thing easier for itself and to use these test scores to show the good that the No Child Left Behind Act did for our schools and students. In my eyes all that this act did for us was weaken and hurt our student's education. Schools had to focus more time on Reading and Mathematics and cut down on other classes. Doing so, we saw plenty of cutbacks in the “non tested subjects”. Subjects that the government doesn’t understand that our student will need later in life. I can understand partially of the governments approach with this act, but I feel that this all could have been handled very differently.
In one school day, we don’t have enough time to cover everything that we will need in life, and majority of that time is spent testing for reading and mathematics. I feel that the government could have taken a much different approach to this problem. Instead of solely focusing on Reading and Mathematics, students should spend more time focusing on life essentials classes such as history, business, consumer education, and physical education. Physical is a class that was shadowed over by the government and seen as less of an importance. Best said by Diane Ravitch referring to the student's importance of Physical Education, “They need structured play and games where they can learn physical discipline, whether in gymnastics or sport” (Ravitch, Pg.111). Students need physical activity to keep a healthy body and a healthy mind, something reading, and mathematics can't solely do.
These students are our societies future. Our schools and education play such a key importance to our students and how they develop and approach life. Our government needs to understand that our students need a solid education that will help them adjust to the life of adulthood and teach them how to handle all the problems that life has to offer. Because after all, these students will one day run our government and country. We need to give them our all so that they can do the same in the future and run our great country to its fullest potential.
Ravitch, Diane, Chapter 24, “The Essentials of a Good Education” from Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools, copyright 2013 by Diane Ravitch.