The Daily Post asks if I’m looking forward to starting classes. I laugh. From this point forward, the part-time philosopher takes over. (Heads up, you’ll need a minute for this one.)
The reason behind my satiric response is because public education in America is a joke. You arrive, emotionally corrupted (thanks MTV), at the doorstep of somebody’s high school. It is at this point that you realize, for ten years, you have learned absolutely nothing aside from counting and reading. It’s also somewhere in this vicinity that you realize you’ve reached multiple forks in a potentially life-threatening road. Take a deep breath; none of this even your fault.
So, you’re a part of the big HS and you’re in all these good ol’ “ADVANCED PLACEMENT” classes. To your American friends and neighbors, you’re an A++ kid, but Americans tend to forget there are about 195 other countries sharing this planet. When you stack up against them (where it matters), you’re about a B-. And if you were a B- from the start, consider yourself remedial in comparison. You beat yourself over the head with a rolled up piece of paper that is your high school transcript because America made it very clear that in order to be ballin’, you must first succeed academically — unless your parents are rich … or you become an actress … or an athlete … or a musician … or a serial killer. Oh, so that’s what a loophole is. Congratulations, our education system is full of ’em.
Back to this transcript. It’s almost as frightening as a criminal record. Classes you thought you got away with in middle school come back to haunt you. Here, it hits you. You probably should have started caring back in sixth grade. On paper, you hold your failures and successes along with the most annoying three letters you will ever come to know — next to LOL. It’s your GPA! For all your hard work, America has awarded you a number to quantify your intellectual greatness. This pisses me off. This is a way to rate the value of a child. If your GPA is high, you are ‘valuable’; America will buy you through scholarships and tuition, binding you with loans and academic standards. When you fail to meet these standards, everything prior to your downfall is worthless and they snatch your foundation out from under you, throwing you in the recycle bin to become someone else’s problem.
In order to prevent this happening, you attend school for eight hours a day where your educational mentors briefly and systematically skim over really important things. Alright, there’s a chance you have one or two OK instructors; there’s an even higher chance those instructors are either foreign or well-traveled. You think to yourself, “Where are all the other teachers like this?” They’re at the back of the orchard, of course; past the apples and oranges, growing from the good teacher trees and waiting to ripen so they can be picked and bagged, then bear the label: Professor. I think it’s time we wrapped this up.
Me looking forward to starting classes is a double-edged sword. I’m a senior and, naturally, I’m ready to take off running, arms wide open, to some liberal arts institute of higher learning where I’ll have the freedom to pursue things that actually matter. On the other end, the high school classes ahead of me seem like my grueling last breaths. I waste another nine months doing nothing important, but racking up grade points, trying to prove my profitability as an American citizen. The harsh reality is knowing the American education system doesn’t get beneficial until college and that’s incredibly short-lived. The prize for making it to a university with a little prestige is looking back and seeing how the previous fourteen years (pre-k – twelfth grade) taught you less about life than the four to eight years you’ll spend in college.