Worth our time

How we are not getting the high school education we were promised

Throughout my life I have been told many cliches about education and learning. I have been encouraged and praised to pursue academic excellence in school. Earning good grades and maintaining a high GPA has led people to label me as an intelligent person. However, I have come to question whether or not I have learned anything at all.

School is seen as a common place for learning. The education system has developed many layers over hundreds of years. It is important to start with the modern grading system. In the 1900s when the number of public schools increased, researchers decided that it was more appropriate to have a standardized method of grading. This led to the A-F letter system to be created in the 1940s.

Since then the grading system has evolved with new elements, such as weighted and unweighted GPAs, AP classes, and standardized exams. These have had a negative impact on learning. It is the need for competition. Competition in learning environments devalues the meaning of learning. Students are forced into the idea of passing for satisfactory grades and achievements, which does not guarantee the ability to learn.

I am guilty of viewing school as a competition. I have found myself more fixated on passing. I try to memorize certain skills and techniques just for one test. I have even told myself if I get a certain score on an exam I can bring my grade up and bring my GPA up. I realized I could not recall most of the information that I have learned in the past, which
was interesting to me considering that I did well on most of my exams and quizzes. It led me to ask myself why all of this matters to me.

I have come to the conclusion that I was not at school to learn, but to receive social satisfaction so I could feel like I achieved something. I was not competing with myself; I was competing with the social stigma that surrounds

Society has conditioned us to believe that better grades, test scores, and GPAs make us more intelligent. We believe that we are better assets to society when we achieve things. This takes away from the meaning of learning. It makes learning a temporary possession of knowledge and not something that we can hold onto for a lifetime.

This leads me to my last point. Over the past year I have been researching and reading on social justice. This is content that I become passionate about pursuing in my future. In doing this I have learned what the meaning of learning
is to me. Learning is about having a relationship with your knowledge. Just like I have meaningful relationships, I should have meaningful knowledge. It should be a permanent part of you that can be used wherever you are no matter what. I have even come to realize that learning does not just take place in a school. Learning is universal. I can learn
anything anywhere from anyone. I can also use what I know to make situations around me better.

Learning is a positive thing that should not come with unwanted stress or anxiety. Our relationship with learning should be used to better ourselves and contribute actively to the lives of everyone around us. This is why I challenge everyone to define the meaning of the learning to themselves and how they can use their knowledge to do good.