Opinion: Current school systems aren’t broken, they’re just outdated

by Aaliyah Alexander, Staff Writer

There’s this quote that says, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” In this case, I believe our society is beyond insane when it comes to our educational system. 

We have had the same educational system since the industrial age in the 1800s. We see a few occasional tweaks with a modern flair, but not much has changed and we see the consequences weighing on the youth of this generation. 

If we analyze the educational system back when it began to form, we can make out why there are so many visible cracks seen today. The purpose was to prime and prep people to be producers in a new age of industrialization where jobs were needed to stimulate the economy. The structure created in the 1800s was often referred to as the “factory model of education” which was copied from the Prussian model of the 18th century and the intent of this design was to create “docile subjects and factory workers”.  

In our innovative and entrepreneurial era, the same cookie-cutter model of education used decades ago does not hold up. We have curricula that assess us on subjects we have been forced to learn about for 12 years — or even more —  if one seeks higher education. 

Do I think the educational system is a total waste? No, I think it is just simply outdated and requires much-needed improvements.  

We shouldn’t discard the entire system but adding and subtracting a few objectives to fit our current society wouldn’t hurt. 

For example, instead of forcing students to learn about subjects they are not passionate about, teach the basics or adequate information to be knowledgeable about a subject up until middle school and let students decide from a diverse plethora of courses what they want to venture into. Let them decide what they are naturally drawn to and build off of that in their next few years of education.  

This would encourage students to be curious and explore their interests instead of putting them in dusty boxes that tell them to follow the status quo laid out by our predecessors. 

The factory model of education has obviously been outdated for many decades and it is ultimately failing when it comes to its original purpose. Instead of producing docile subjects and factory workers, it is producing depressed students who hate going to school to learn about things they are not passionate about and if they are lucky, they will be pressured to choose a career path where they are again forced to take prerequisite courses before they’re even able to study what they want. 

We, as a society, need to create a new model that fits this new and diverse generation. 

Aaliyah Alexander is a sophomore studying journalism and international studies. Follow her on Twitter @aaliyahdanyell.

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