Los Angeles High School of the Arts

Speech: the hypocrisy of the educational system

The school I went to was a traditional elementary school. My Monday through Friday schedule composed of the following: four core subjects taught in a single classroom, three of my best friends, two peanut butter sandwiches, one for me, the other for the bully, and one grumpy teacher, who was either always hungover, or went through a nasty divorce.

You see, the educational system is rigged. It was designed in an extremely formulaic fashion, where only a particular handful of students are likely to succeed in the “rat race” if you will.

Students who know how to play the game, that is—being able to receive high grades on assignments, scoring the top possible points on a test, etc, were and are continued to be praised in the educational system because everything is based on points, everything is based on letter grades, and everything is based on knowing how to retrieve information for a short period of time, then spitting it out onto an eight and a half by eleven piece of paper.

I can go on and on about why the system favors a small portion of students over the majority, but everyone here already knows what I’m talking about, so I would hate to bore my audience.

School is supposed to prepare you for the “real world,” and in the real world, we don’t get points for knowing the distance formula. We don’t get letter grades for knowing how to graph a sine and cosine graph. And we definitely don’t get praised for making ourselves vulnerable by putting our unique ideas into the classroom.

“Thinking outside the box” is nothing but an encouraging phrase. A concept that is dead.

The original intent of school was to educate students, not to determine an individual’s intellect by the number of points a person can receive in a given amount of time.

The original intent of school was to establish a place of learning, a place where a student is allowed to challenge and question ideas, a place where students can excel without the fear of “failing” or “being incorrect.”

The original intent of school was to accept and allow creative freedom. To encourage one to engage in new ideas and create novel solutions to difficult problems.

Everyone excels at a different pace. That is what makes me different from Sally, Susan, Sarah and Sam. That is what the educational system failed to take into consideration. The system only benefits individuals who participate in the “rat race.”

So to put into words the reality of how school has actually failed me instead of taught me, was and is too difficult to express. So all I could say to my mother is, “school was good.”