For some students school is a sanctuary, a second home, and from there it is able to be seen as a tool for self development. However every individual has vastly diverse learning styles, personalities and natural skills. The fact that students have a variety of needs makes it difficult to create a universal institution that creates an effective learning environment of an entire generation of people, but that is exactly what the school system is expected to do.
The video “I Just Sued the School System” produced by Prince Ea, a spoken word artist and filmmaker, gives a voice to students that feel disenfranchised by the institution of school. The filmmaker starts the video with a quote by Albert Einstein that says “If you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree it will live it’s whole life believing it is stupid.”
This quote speaks to the idea a large majority of young people that find themselves lost in the school system, not because their teachers are ineffective, but because they are exposed to the same information under the same circumstances as every other child. This system rarely allows room for the individual to become self-aware of their own learning styles, and their own innate skills and tendencies when learning.
The idea of judging “a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree” is particularly illuminated when looking at the methods in which the school system measures a student’s growth, as well as a school’s credibility. With standardized testing every person is treated like a set of data. These data sets determine the student’s ability to progress within the system and give schools their ratings. Testing is necessary to gather feedback on the performance of schools but the methods and validity of the tests should be questioned.
More broadly, the video explores the idea that society’s method of education has yet to catch up to it’s level of development. School is describes as an ancient institution in the video, and therefore has yet to adapt to the demand for skilled labor in emerging job markets. In order for a student to be included in the school system, they first must believe it’s value. This is hard when a major complaint about education is that the material covered is no longer applicable to today’s world.
With all that said, it is important to remind ourselves that our education system is pretty remarkable in that it teaches the entire population of young people how to live, how to think critically, and how to work. The school system definitely has room to grow and expand so that it can better serve our generation, but it is important to view education as a gift.
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