March 12, 2012
The Educational System
I claim that the educational system is flawed in many ways, but what should be changed?
Well first off, we need to change the system to correspond to the current times. According to
Ken Robinson in his video “Changing Education Paradigms” he refers to the current system to
be structured as a factory line, putting students into batches by their age group, separating
subjects, ringing bells, etc. After watching the video, I could not help but recognize the points he
was addressing. This rendered me to consider what part of the educational system was truly
beneficial to me. But that is not even one of the biggest problems I faced with the system; grades
to some degree need severe modifications or to be removed in total. Too many students are
being demotivated because of their irrelevant association. Grades do not determine the
intelligence of a person, yet this is how schools perceive them. Machelle Robinson argues that
students, like me, are turned off by school because of worrying about how well they are
performing, about passing the next test, and about pleasing the teacher. If the educational system
does not change than many innocent students will have to lead a life without success.
An AP Poll states that 68 percent of adults heavily blame parents for what is wrong with
the U.S educational system. The problem is not the parents but the educational system itself.
The poll overlooks what I consider an important aspect to address. School, for many children, is
a place to escape from the troubles of the household. Yet how can they resort to a place where
they are considered a failure based on their performance in academia. With a lose-lose situation
it is hard to expect a child to excel being surrounded by negativity. I did not struggle with
school, but here is my background and why these thoughts developed in my mind. During my
childhood, my mother worked nights so that she could be home with her five kids during the day.
The downside was that she slept most of the day, leaving me to take responsibility for myself at
the age of six. It is tough psychologically to deal with the absence of my father, but it was
tougher to have to feel as if I had to live without my mother too. Without a parent to look up to, I
needed to find someone that could be my role model. Although he is only three years older than
I, my brother became my role model. But even this role model fell short of my expectations.
When I was in third grade, my brother moved out and I was left on my own once again. I
personally had to struggle to find a place that could provide me comfort, but mainly, just a good
In addition, people expect parents to know how to teach children good morals and values
but most of the time parents do not even know it themselves. Most parents, like mine, are
struggling just to keep a roof over their heads. In the end, the child is the one that is affected
without any fault by the parents. If school is supposed to be a place to resort to for guidance and
the only thing they are told is that they’re not good enough, how can you blame the child for not
caring about school and sometimes life. (Machelle Robinson) There needs to be serious changes
to the educational system to eliminate this problem on students so that they do not have to fall
victim to the same cycle as their parents.
“You need to make good grades so you can get a safe and secure job,” is a common
phrase I have been told as a child just like many other children. But is this where parents should
be focusing their attention? Anyone familiar with Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad Poor Dad
should agree that this is not always true. Kiyosaki refers to his poor dad as the parent who went
to college, made good grades, and then got a safe and secure job. On the contrary, his rich dad
believed the exact opposite. (add some more info. I agree to some extent) The book triggered
this insight into my mind, which made me consider how this was present in my life. As I dug
deeper, I comprehended that I should not base that common phrase as my motivating factor in
life. Some of the most successful people are people who dropped out of school. In Parent Dish
Ericka Lutz, considered by many a “parent expert,” reports that she encouraged her daughter to
drop out of high school. She states that she is proud of her daughter’s decision and proud of
herself for supporting it. My own view is what Lutz insists, which is that school is not fit for
everyone. Look at John D. Rockefeller for example, he dropped out of high school yet he was
one of the richest men in the world. My view is that the reason that people choose to drop out of
school are for two reasons.
The first would be why people like Rockefeller dropped out and that is because some
people feel that school can no longer offer him any further knowledge or advancement; and that
it would only hold them back from achieving their true potential. I have thought these same
thoughts many times, when I was sitting in a classroom wasting my time (Give a specific
example and how I personally felt). My opinion is that if you give someone a child for seven
hours of the day for five days a week for 12 plus years then he/she better be a genius. But by the
time most people graduate, they are nothing more than just average.
The second reason is for the lack of motivation by being told that if you don’t make good
grades, you cannot be successful in life. I have experienced this claim many times, and it has
been anything except motivational for me. People appear to have the same response but for two
completely different reasons. What is it that causes people to drop out according to the second
response? I wholeheartedly endorse what Machelle Robinson explains as the impression school
has on students. Making a poor grade in a subject/class should not represent a persons’
intelligence. Yet, this is how the current school system portrays it. How can someone stay
motivated if they are constantly told that they need to get good grades to achieve success in life?
It is not a simple task to accomplish. I recall repeating to myself, “how can you compare my
success to my grades in school?” (use an example and personal insight) The school system
needs to stop putting emphasis on trivial issues, such as grades and reaching specific standards,
and start concentrating on achieving their real intentions which is to educate the students.
Machelle Robinson argues that students, like me, are turned off by school because of
worrying about how well they are performing, about passing the next test, and about pleasing the
teacher. Robinson commented “school at all levels is seen as a chore, a rite of passage to be
endured, rather than an exciting place to grow and learn.” With all of my years of school, I have
observed that one of the most important factors about school to a student is their grades.
Honestly, most students I have encountered are only focused on receiving an “A” instead of
actually learning the material. The same problem has happened to me numerous amounts of
times. For example, in my high school Spanish courses only about five people truly cared to
learn Spanish. Most of the other students would either cheat or barely manage to pass the test.
Being surrounded by that environment, it was hard for me to even care to learn Spanish. I did
not even progress past the beginner level of Spanish after three years, yet, I received an “A” in
all of those courses. This goes to show that grades do not reflect the proficiency of a subject.
Grades serve as motivation for some students, but not for all. Even at a college level, I
am still faced with the same problem about the educational system, worrying about passing the
next test. No wonder why Machelle Robinson mentioned this in her comment about the
educational system. I feel as if I am more worried about passing the next test than actually
learning the material. I get very discouraged and frustrated by the arbitrary use of power
represented by grades. The only class that I felt like I did not have to worry about grades was
my U.S. History class in high school. The teacher formatted the class like a lecture but did not
test us on the material, although she did make us write essays on certain subjects. But this style
of teaching was the most effective. I was engaged, interested, and actually learned. It appears to
me and many others that most classes are not taught in a manner to teach, but to reach specific
standards. Although I still received a grade for that class, I felt more like it had not. I was able
to attend class, relax, and absorb the knowledge. For once, I did not have to fear for any
test/exams. No wonder why Machelle Robinson claims that rather than being excited by the
classroom, students have learned to despise it.
Addition issues to address with Ken Robinson’s video “Changing Education Paradigms”
are putting students into batches by their age group, separating subjects, ringing bells, etc. After
watching his video, I could not help but immediately recognize the points he was addressing.
This rendered me to consider what part of the educational system was truly beneficial to me. It
was easier for me to identify all of the reasons that were unbeneficial than actually look at the
To begin, separating students by age groups, as Ken Robinson addresses it, is a terrible
idea. (include more from Ken Robinson) Separating in batches is one of the principal sources of
terror for children in school. These types of batches allows for students to feel better than or not
as good as the other students. Such comparisons caused by these separations cause many
children to have terrible confidence problems. At a young age, I excelled in academics, but only
compared to the other students. I always felt like I was out of place in my class. If school did
anything for me, it was hold me back from ever achieving my true potential. If you are the
smartest person in your group of friends, then you need to find new friends because they will
only hold you back. This is exactly what happened to me (not trying to say I was the smartest,
but close to it). Therefore this method only restrained me from growing and expanding.
Overall, serious changes need to be made to the educational system to turnaround the
educational system for the better. Today schools are dominated by the need to assess
performance and separate by age groups. These are only discouraging and ineffective. A few
suggestions for possible changes would be to change grades to achievements, age groups to
interest groups, and boring into fun. Although these changes may not be the best alternative,
they are at least a change in the better direction.
Kiyosaki, Robert T., and Sharon L. Lechter. Rich Dad, Poor Dad. New York: Warner Business, 2000. Print.
Robert Kiyosaki is a self-help author, investor, businessman, a motivational speaker, and has many more
financial and leadership roles. Kiyosaki’s view exemplifies financial independence without the use of the
education taught by the educational system. The book stresses the ownership of high valued assets,
instead of being an employee working for another individual. The book is convincing to prove that
school is not the most important aspect in being successful.
Lutz, Ericka. "Opinion: My Daughter's a High-School Dropout and I'm Totally Okay With It."Parent
Dish 24 May 2010. Print. Ericka Lutz is quoted as a “parenting expert” by parenting magazines. In her
expressed opinion about her daughter dropping out of school, she states that she is proud of her
daughter’s decision and her support for it. Her view expresses that school is not appropriate for
Ken Robinson. Ted.com. Ted Talks, October 2010. December 2010. Ken Robinson, an internationally-
renowned expert in the innovation of education, uses many statistics and examples to explain and show
what is wrong with the educational system and why it doesn’t work nowadays. Students’ perception of
school is the way it is because of how the system is currently run, like a factory line. Robinson explains
through visuals, examples, and facts what needs to change in order to have a positive impact through
the educational system.
Robinson, Machelle. "Classroom Learning." Engines for Education. Web. 5 Mar.
2012.<http://www.engines4ed.org/hyperbook/nodes/NODE-44-pg.html>. Machelle Robinson expresses
her thoughts about how students feel when in a classroom. Although her opinion cannot be taken as a
holistic view of students, it does exemplify the feelings and insight of students who look at school in a
Bunder, Alida. "AP Poll: Parents to Blame for Poor School Performance." Web log post. Donna Gordon
Blankinship, 3 Mar. 2011. Web. 12 Mar. 2012. The poll states that 68% of adults blame parents on the
poor progress through academics. The article explains that adults no longer feel like the majority of the
blame should be placed on teachers, but in the household of the student.