Americas Educational System and The Death Of Individuality

I have spent a great portion of my high school career complaining. It is hard to admit, given the privileged lifestyle many of us lead, including myself. However, until now my complaints of too much stress, anxiety, and workload have masked a problem that could distort the face of our country and it’s future generations.

We start at birth as inherently inquisitive and creative beings. We learn by our mistakes and discover things that we are good at. But then we are grasped by an “education.” We learn basic things such as how to read and write, which prove to be beneficial in our futures. But what if you don’t learn to read, write, or count as fast as your peers? You don’t fit the “mold” or set of expectations that have been set for you since day one by someone who will never know you. As you grow, that label of “bad student” sticks with you. What is the future of a “bad student”? If you grew up hearing such negative comments how could you possibly feel the drive to become a better student. Would you even think that you could? Imagine the stigma that this student lives with. Few of his/her teachers respect them because a C- is the “true measure of a student’s character.” In truth, this student is an intelligent person full of capability and hard-working promise, but like many others riding the conveyor belt through elementary and high school, they just don’t fit the mold. Because of this, they may never flourish and find their true purpose in society, all because of that report card filled with C’s.

My question to any K-12 educator is, where is the individuality? How can the people who make our curriculum expect students to come out of this system without losing all sense of creativity? It is no wonder to me that depression rates in students are so high if we are judged solely by our grades and performance in class, despite the fact that we might be predisposed with an inability to understand certain subjects. Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability for Americans age 15 to 44, affecting more than 14.8 million people (Anxiety and Depression Association of America). This is over 6.7 percent of America’s population. If America’s youth continue to be pushed through an assembly line sort of education, it is possible that our ability to be free-thinking responsible young adults could be diminished if not completely lost.

No matter what your report card says, embrace your individuality; take pride in the things that you do well, and seek to do better in the things that you struggle with. But, above all, if you pursue your passions, despite what others may say, you will become a benefit to everyone that surrounds you.

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