Rant About Public Education (Ranted By a High School Senior)

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.


5 Back Pocket Quotes (Courtesy of Jean-Paul Sartre)

For those of you who dare to question life and its many related intricrises (see what I did there?), here’s a few somethings to keep tucked away in your occipital lobe:

If you’re one of those theists, this is not the blog for you.

“Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.”

  • This is the differentiation between the subjectivity of man and the objectivity of any old inanimate Annie. Unlike your pet rock, Annie, man has the ability of choice over instinct and is therefore granted the power to shape his own existence through the series of choices that is life.

“But how is the value of a feeling determined?”

  • The answer to this is so simple, it amazes me. An emotion is given it’s weight through the actions that define it. In other words, try to avoid being a ball of hot air and act on your emotions to confirm them to others. In other other words, a man’s worth is his will to prove himself.

“What art and ethics have in common is that we have creation and invention in both cases.”

  • Best explained in the words of Sartre himself, “Nowhere is it written that the Good exists, that we must be honest, that we must not lie; because the fact is we are on a plane where there are only men.” A God is nothing more than a timely excuse, a convenient scapegoat, an easy way out. The existentialist prefers the path less traveled.

“What happens to me happens through me …”

  • Ignore the fact that this sounds like it drifted here from a sad somebody’s motivational DVD and realize this: With the weight of God cast aside, man is solely responsible for his own actions and consequences. He doesn’t get the luxury of praying away his mistakes.

“You’ve got to take things as they are.”

  • [No explanation necessary]

Jean-Paul Sartre, Essays in Existentialism.

I dare not advise you on how to live your life, being that mine is chipped and cracked in countless places, but it would do my little lost heart good to know how you feel about how I feel, so drop a comment while I hold my breath.