Do you know why the school bell rings? It was originally a way to get students used to the idea of reacting quickly when the work bell rang; it signaled the start of the work day, the lunch hour, and the final toll would send them home. If they'd remained in school long enough to reach this point their futures were largely in the factory & the entire public school system of the USA was designed to prepare children for that reality.

 

They were forecasted to work under one employer, likely for their entire lives. They were taught to follow direction without question & to accept the authority of the one leading them.

 

It functioned in it's time, but that is not the world we live in any longer.

 

So, why do we continue to follow this outdated system of jumping up when the bell or buzzer sounds? Why do we keep children closed in a few rooms with such limited interactions? Why must they spend so much time preparing for tests that fail to teach them how to function in the world they occupy?

 

We know the employment landscape is changing. The jobs of yesteryear are long gone; the children of today are facing the task of building their own work as technology replaces the human element everywhere from offices to fast food joints. We know these things and yet School stays the same.

 

They raise their hands to use the bathroom. They're herded to the cafeteria. Day in and day out they must follow the same path as everyone around them.

 

They are taught to stay inside the box even though we know they'll need to be independent learners and creative thinkers.

 

We've seen some improvement with the rise of the School Choice movement; advocates are beginning to demand that parents be given the ability to choose the best learning environments for their children, rather than be slammed into poor conditions based solely upon zip code. When schools have to fight for every attendee there is incentive to offer new ways of doing things.

 

I am for the School Choice trend. However, it shouldn't have been necessary in the first place. Schools should have been changing with the times all along; instead they remain stuck in the past and we're starting to see what the harvest yields.

 

Our children fall flat in comparison to the world, depression is being medicated, the suicide rates are climbing, and even still a blind eye is turned to the one place that most children are spending the majority of their time:

 

The school building.

 

Five days a week, upwards of six hours a day, they go to that place. How much of their day is spent revolving around school? They must get up and get ready for it. They commute. They spend the day in the building. They commute again. They do homework.

 

What part of this is preparing them to be the entrepreneurs they'll need to be? Where is the freedom they'll have to be able to handle safely and with discretion? Why do they have so much trouble with their emotions and why is there so much resistance to doing what is best for the children who should be educated to make their way into a digital world?

 

Schools are falling short all around us. Even the 'good' ones aren't doing what they should be doing. Adding more computers and tablets won't solve the underlying problem, but it seems cosmetic change is valued over structural modification.

 

This is just the beginning of the many troubles our schools and the children who must attend them face.

 

Published by Orietta Rose