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How the School System Affects a Student's Potential

A Personal View on the School System

The limitations of the human brain are often thought to become restricted due to laziness, which is not always the case. The limitations might possibly be due to how systems of all kinds test the mental productivity of the brain. For example, the way the school system all over the United States works does not allow students to show their full potential. Schools all over the nation require various amounts of assessments to be taken that allows them to get accepted to a university, or even to graduate high school. But is the school system implementing the most effective way to give students an education? Now more than ever, we are seeing teachers just get through curriculums, and students just trying to pass instead of learning.

For example, the state of California used to require their students to take an exam called the CAHSEE, that would determine whether you could graduate or not. If you reached above the exact passing number you would be allowed to graduate, if not then you would not be able to. This test is no longer a requirement, which is a good thing since it was taken two years prior from your graduation date. Because it was taken even before you're done learning all of your high school material, many people saw it as pointless and unfair. That being said, Governor Brown suspended the bill requiring students to take it in October 2016. Not everyone believes this was the right thing to do because there is no other way to be able to determine the potential of students going into college. But it is not necessarily fair to take away your diplomacy just because you didn't know specific material. The material provided on the test was 8th-grade material that technically everyone should know, but now students don't know if they do. Imagine going to college not knowing how to solve a simple 8th-grade algebraic expression, professors would simply ask how did you graduate? Although the CAHSEE is no longer implemented, there is still one other standardized test the school system will require you to take in order to test your intelligence and review what you have learned.

Testing one's limitations to place them where they need to be is something the school system has been doing for a long time. Not every person is capable of doing what another person can do. This statement is the reason for systems implementing such test and rules to place people where they need to be instead of everywhere they want to be. Sometimes not everybody has the same sources and advantages as others, resulting in them not being able to show their true potential, this has a lot to do with social class and community but mainly school environment. One school can have all the resources to do a lot for kids and go above and beyond while others might not even have the required textbooks or not even a teacher to teach them, resulting in a failure in the college process. Another test implemented by the school system that still exists is the SAT. This test does not determine if you are eligible to graduate but instead determines whether you will get into a university or not. You can score substantially low and have a 4.0 GPA and possibly not get into any universities. Or on the other hand, you can score extremely high and have a 2.0 GPA and get into a UC or CSU. this is also another test that reflects how much material you learn but might also not show your true potential. Many people see this as a strategic way to keep a balance on college admissions. However, other people also think that this isn't giving people a fair chance since if they score low, they can not get into a top-tier university of their dreams. This is very similar to the problem people saw with the CAHSEE. How can a 4.0 student that scored 700 on the SAT get denied by Harvard but another student that had a 2.0 GPA and SAT score of 2,000 get accepted? This has caused a lot of conflict and uproar in the school system. Does a hard-working student get accepted or a smart one?

For high school students, within a school year, you have roughly around nine months to learn a load of material that you will be tested for. In the case of a college student, you have around four months to learn all the content your teacher is teaching. Nowadays it has become the priority to MOST teachers to go over instead of actually teaching all the material that can possibly be on the test, just so they can say they finished teaching all the curriculum. It also goes back to the student, in which the goal is to pass the class, not retain the material of classes. I have had to deal with this because my school was very focused on the two subjects for the SAT, math and English. If you can ask an administrator from any high school “What's the purpose of high school?” 

They will most likely answer with “To make sure students are prepared for college.” But the reality is, not everybody gets accepted to a college or even want to go to college. Now more than ever it seems like you can't get a good job with only a high school diploma so there's a high demand and thought that you have to go to college, no matter what. Although the school system is made to help prepare us and then test us to see if we retained anything, there has become a different goal. In John Gatto’s “Against School” being a former teacher he recalls, "Do we really need school? I don't mean education, just forced schooling: six classes a day, five days a week, nine months a year, for twelve years. Is this deadly routine really necessary?” In many schools, the goal is to get you accepted to a university and graduated with a diploma, not learn and prepare you for the material ahead of high school. So what are the possibilities that this is affecting our way to show our true potential? The possibilities are extremely high since the goal is to only pass classes which doesn't really require you to learn much and retain this information for the future. Although this is more of a problem with the way certain schools are running, it will still affect how we don't get to show our true abilities.

Another way the school system tests mental productivity is through fear. Fear can make you or break you, allowing to see the potential a student has under pressure or certain circumstances. For example, the grading scale can be used as an element of fear in the beginning of class or the length of an essay, maybe getting the student think this is not for them. Due to fear, some don't even try, afraid of what the outcome will be if they try and fail, so why waste your time? Testing how much the student can handle all at once can be a mental breakdown for many, resulting in depression and even anxiety. Maybe the school system isn't trying to scare you but test your limits and capability. However, not many are capable of being a 4.0 student and write three essays in one day every week, it all depends on the student.

The neurons in your brain have one sole purpose in life, to receive and process information in your brain. Therefore, the problem might lie within the school system and the way the students are being taught. It is often that the goal for both students and teachers is to get the job done, instead of actually learning/teaching. This being said, many tactics and elements used surely do prohibit students from showing their full potential. It's as simple as all people are smart, it might be the way the school system is teaching that prevents the brain to flow, grades do not guarantee success and neither do things such as IQ and standardized tests.

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