Living in an economic recession, with budget cuts becoming more frequent and less forgiving, the idea of "doing more with less" often becomes an unimaginable one. The education system in the United States has undeniably faced some of the greatest cuts. As a student of the New York City public high school system, I've seen firsthand the effects of budget cuts in the education system. Even the most prestigious public high schools are being forced to cut staff and programs.
Inevitably, the focal point of the education system has become material objects such as technology and textbooks. In the rapidly evolving age of technology, this is to be expected. Don't get me wrong; these materials have unfathomable potential to advance education, but they are certainly not everything. Many schools have gotten a taste of these, but due to budgetary constraints, they can no longer afford these resources. This is often seen as an obstacle.
On the other hand, I see this as a wonderful opportunity, a chance to further education and disseminate knowledge in a manner that goes beyond the pages of a textbook or the keys on a keyboard. It is easy to become consumed by the wonders of technology, and just as easy to put much of the weight of education on the words of textbooks.
With the fierce competition in today's job market and education system, it is expected that students want to perform to the best of their ability, meaning to earn the best possible grades they can. The education system has become cluttered with exams. Many high-achieving students structure their lives around earning the highest possible grades they can on exams. With this type of attitude, students often lose connection to what is happening around them. More and more I hear, "Grades aren't everything," or, "Tests don't tell you about who somebody is," yet tests continue to determine the abilities and futures of students. The United States education system has failed to recognize the significance of current events, and it needs a renovation. It is time to reevaluate the core concepts and standards of the system. It is essential for students not only to be evaluated in a way that more accurately reflects them, but also to teach information concerning what is happening in the world today.
By emphasizing the significance of events happening in the world today, students will become more informed and realize that education stretches beyond the classroom. There are many parallels that exist between today's events and events in history. Studying current events is an essential part of becoming a knowledgeable and prepared citizen. Teaching historical events without citing modern relevance is missing a powerful point that could potentially transform the value of history, as well as current events, in the eyes of students.
Teachers become major influences on the lives of students, and their ability to transform their education and help them become knowledgeable and prepared citizens is incomparable to anything money can buy. The next generation of leaders is growing up in a world filled with platforms to stay informed; teach them how to use this advantage effectively. Generally, the education system has overlooked a golden opportunity to demonstrate the nexus between where our country has been and how we understand where we are going. Teach students why history isn't just in the past, and what learning is really about.