Modern Education Has Too Much Focus On Standardized Test Scores

By Branden Vanzile

The principles and standards of today’s education throughout the world and moreover in the United States have begun to stray from the real goal of how society should be educated. Education today has begun to lose focus and a majority of what is covered in the classroom is what is considered discrete and unconnected to the necessary things an individual needs in life.

“Education should be more than the presentation of many facts to be memorized by students. The first aspects of an innovative education should have an emphasis on communication and the ability to resolve and avoid conflicts,” said Kalamazoo resident Benito Runyan, who has never stepped foot in a public school.

The subject matter covered in schools today is almost exclusively based on the four “core” subjects of reading, math, science, and social studies. These core subjects provide very little in the case of life skills, and are not necessary for people to function unless they are specialized in a field that utilizes these subjects. Despite this fact, math, reading, science, and social studies are the only subjects students are regularly tested on.

Teachers are being accused more and more of “teaching to the test,” that is, after the passage of the fairly recent No Child Left Behind act schools have become more focused on their scores pertaining to standardized tests, which every student is required to take annually. The reason for this is generally seen as a desire for money, a school scoring higher than another on these tests is recognized as a phenomenal school and in turn receives a greater amount of government funding for their institution through increases in enrollment and government grants. The concept of “teaching to the test” is the absence of a teacher’s coverage of material that is necessary for the student to learn and grow but instead that teacher’s desire to improve their reputation through above average test scores.

What students really need to be educated about are not the four “core” classes that have been taught for so long, but they should have a focus on an individual’s communication and the things that individual desires to learn. Students should acquire basic skills well enough to easily be able to read, write, and do simple math as this is seen as necessary for life in this day and age. Students should also begin to specialize at an early age, and specialization should stay general as students move along in the educational tract, as soon as a student is able to make well thought out decisions they should be helped along in specialization, while leaving room left for a change in decision.

To learn a skill for life does not take a majority of your time, and time wasted learning skills not necessary is precious time. Many students believe themselves to be wasting time in school, which they are required by law to attend, because of this, many students gripe and complain which causes a change to the social environment of the entire education system, it is a timeless concept that a student who does not wish to learn will disrupt and learn at a slower pace.

Forcing someone to do something is not necessarily the greatest alternative. When a student has a desire to quit, or disagrees with a system the best alternative should not be forcing them to stay.

“I believe it is necessary to provide people with choices, no matter how young. An individual undoubtedly has this right, and mandatory schooling can be explained by students as a violation of this right,” said Runyan.

As of the admittance of the class of 2016 the age of a students compulsory school attendance has been raised to the age of 18 from 16. This leads many to believe that they are wasting time in school. A student who does not use the skills learned in school, forgets them, or never learns them in the first place does not belong in that particular institution learning something they have no desire to.

This being said, some form of education is absolutely necessary and important to every individual. Every individual is based on a system of values, humans are not born with knowledge and every human must gain the knowledge they posses through some means. The world around an individual influences them and forms them into the person they will be, if a person was asked a question about something they have never heard of, they obviously would lack the knowledge to properly answer.

People are desperate for knowledge, and a majority of the knowledge they seek is not what is taught in the schools of today. Knowledge must be obtained through desire, and desire is what drives a person to obtain knowledge. It is necessary for an individual to have an opportunity to obtain the knowledge they desire, but not to force them to desire knowledge, which is the very thing the public schools of today are forcing on students