On Educational Inadequacy

One of the strongest arguments out of the mouths of youths, or people in general, concerning education of all ranges, is that “school doesn’t teach us this.” I will keep this post pretty general, but feel free to, as always, apply it to stenography.

Before we get into it, there is a lot to say in solidarity with this concept. It is a painful thing to go through an entire education, whether that be elementary school, high school, or college, and go out into the world, and realize that one is unprepared for even some of the most basic concepts about life. A common jab at education is, “oh, I learned all about the hypotenuses but nothing of taxes. Thanks a lot, school!” Yeah. It’s true. One probably didn’t learn very much about taxes in school. Even if one took advanced courses on tax preparation, one probably still didn’t learn all there is to know about taxes.

So there we have it, educational systems are inadequate and therefore we can blame them because we do not know everything we feel we should have learned. Or at least that’s what some would have us believe. The system failed us, so the system must change! But I find this method of thinking holds two inherent flaws, and I present those flaws, and hopefully the world will be better for it.

The first flaw is that this mode of thinking suggests that education must teach everything, or that education must add to the number of things it teaches to come to some arbitrary “perfect” point. Education isn’t about knowledge. It’s about developing skills that help us develop knowledge. It’s about developing skills and talents that lead one to the fields that one is interested in. We are all thrown into this thing called life together. We all have different ideas about the world and what it should be. Perhaps we can agree that most of us didn’t really need to know very much about certain things that we learned and that those things don’t impact our daily lives, but we can agree that we were given a foundational education, hopefully, of reading, writing, and how to find information. Don’t know a word? It’s probably in the dictionary! Want to know a word that can be used instead of another word? It’s probably in the thesaurus! Now that Google is here, almost no subject matter is out of reach. Knowledge is becoming easier to obtain every day. If we don’t know something, get out there and learn it.

The second flaw ties into the first. Often people toss up their hands and say “the schools should do this!” Well, take the time out to write a few local principals, or the school we’re complaining about. Our education may not have taught us everything, but certainly it got us to a point were we are able to write a polite letter to the person or people in charge of the situation we have feelings about. Perhaps there are even others who believe as we do, and we can organize with them and all write letters, make phone calls, or even create a community group to campaign for the change we want. The dedication of one can grow to affect many very much the same way the apathy of many can affect the beliefs of one. In short, the second flaw is that the school of thought that assigns blame to the system rarely presents a way to change the system. It expects the system to change because it posted angry words on social media.

Our goal? Be the ones to break the cycle and make a change. If you see inadequacies or injustice, envision a goal for that situation. Work backwards from your goal in your mind and create a plan to work towards that goal. Enact the plan. If it doesn’t work, back up, look at what’s not working, and shift gears to something that works. Before long, broken systems are fixed, and the people born into those systems are better off.

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