Aside

Politics of school, and the inability of students to change it.

Everybody goes to school at least once in their life. But few understand why schools work the way they do. Why do Teachers not always care? Why do administrators rarely care? Why is it that the further up you go, the worse it gets? In fact, Why in the world are we even going to these schools at all? We could always homeschool. For many people the answer is simple. We don’t have the time to teach ourselves. We don’t have time to teach our children. And, up to college, schooling is absolutely free. So why not? One of the many questions that will be explored here; the most important of which is ‘Can the system be changed?’.

Right off the bat, let me make one thing quite clear. These are my own thoughts, my own opinions, and my own beliefs. They are not meant to offend, but this is a bit of a touchy subject. School is supposed to be a place that children can learn without fear, prejudice, or boundary. And in a lot of cases, that’s true. This post, however, will outline the issues within the system. Yes, nothing is perfect, but some of these issues can be eliminated if we only knew how.

That said, the issues are negligible until elementary school. So we’ll start there. Elementary school is where many many children go to learn things. Math, science, reading, writing, all included in a single package. Sounds great… until “bullies” come in the picture. Those readers that have watched Glee can recall Kurt was subject to this same kind of bullying. The reasons are different for every bully, but the fact they still exist has, so far, not gone away. Bullies exist in just about every level of the school system, and the larger the school, the harder it is to prevent. So how do we stop it?

Most parents try going to higher authorities when their child informs them of bullying. Some take it into their own hands and blame the school, taking their child to a new school. Some ask the child to just ignore it and watch it disappear. None of these solutions works all the time. Moving schools just has new bullies (and hurts the child, as different schools have different speeds of learning.) Ignoring the bully only works in a select few cases. And talking to teachers/principals? Only if you get lucky. For the best chance at success, one has to keep nagging them until they do something. The larger and more persistent the protest group, the more likely they will listen. This is where politics comes into play., but we’ll discuss that later. Bullying is only one of the issues in schools today.

How many times do people lose things? More than many of us can count. It really depends on the person, but school is usually one of the first times losing something can mean ‘for good’. This issue occurs more with larger schools, however. And that is theft. (Taking someone’s coat thinking it’s yours doesn’t count, here. That’s a separate issue.) Theft usually happens when you lose something and then when you come back to where you left it, it’s gone. Sometimes the person that picked it up turns it in, but other times, they don’t. This theft can happen for many reasons, and is virtually the same as dropping a $20-bill outside on the ground somewhere. Some of these thefts can be prevented, and it’s always best to just never lose it in the first place. But even then… people break into lockers, they take things forcefully from other people… Theft occurs a lot in schools, and children don’t always know how to stop it. Theft is one of the harder ones to prevent, and is certainly still an issue.

The last main issue is Politics. No, I don’t mean the election of our President. I mean how the school system, in general, works. This issue pops up more the higher you go. In Elementary school it doesn’t happen as much as in College, for example. Colleges and Universities get the worst of it, however. Because they’re a business. They want to have things work so they get more people in, and more money. It’s an aspect that many people seem to forget. Now, normally, things run smoothly, and issues don’t come up. That’s what everyone wants. It’s those kinks in the system that cause trouble. And these kinks will not go away until they are found and shown to cause negative side effects. Why? Because as long as it “works”, people will continue doing it. There are a number of reasons for these kinks.

First, Negligence. This one makes sense if thought about. The higher up you go, the more issues you have to deal with. Issues are prioritized. Getting a billion-dollar contract is more important than a single student on the verge of failing a class. Even if two or three teachers talk about it, nothing will happen. But… Lets say THOUSANDS of students were failing classes, and hundreds of teachers were complaining. Then, more than likely, something will be done. Thousands of students failing can mean the loss of billions of dollars; maybe even trillions. So, in order to combat this, we need numbers.  Politics again.  I’ll explain in detail later.

Second, cutting corners. A lot of us do this every day. We want it done quickly, so we either cheat, or don’t use thorough checks. Most, if not all people have cut corners at least once in their life. However, most of us also know that the larger the project, the more costly cutting corners can be if found out. This can cause Kinks, or false stats, too. this can be combated by reporting.

Third, corruption. This one is much harder to combat. But it deals with abusing power to achieve their own goals. Money is a big factor in this. Tuition is a school-defined value. They can say “Oh, we’re raising tuition so we can build a new Student Union” for example. The only way I know of to combat this is investigations/inspections, but even then, people can cover it up. It’s not easy to prevent this, other than by not giving the power in the first place.  As a side note, corruption is also the reason for a lot of conspiracy theories.

There are more reasons… but these three are the top-most, in my opinion. One may ask why the students do nothing about it. The fact of the matter is, many of them do. But it’s not enough. 3-5 people trying to change something isn’t going to work.  100 people changing it in one day also isn’t going to work.  If we want something, we have to follow the rules of Martin Luther King Jr.  Constant sit ins, boycotts, a large group of people there until something changes.  That’s what needs to be done, but it’s also unlikely to be done.  Why?

The answer is simple.  We’re lazy.  We don’t want to go out of our comfort zone.  And, some of us aren’t sure if we want the new system.  One episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” showed this perfectly.  Will and his cousin had issues with history class because they didn’t talk about Black history, only White.  And so they argued, and eventually got his cousin’s mother in on it, (who happened to be a teacher.)  So they win their case, and the mother becomes a teacher.  Everyone  eventually loves it, except for will and the cousin.  Eventually Will confronts the mother about this, and they have a discussion.  Will had thought it would be easy because he knew a bit, and he thought the mother would go easy.  But then the mother said “YOU were the one who wanted this in the first place.  If you’re serious about it, then you’d want to learn.”  She then handed him a black history book, and soon he started to read it.  After which a message popped up on the screen, with a quote from Martian Luther King Jr.I have forgotten what this quote said, but I remember it was a powerful one.

I say all this to show what I said.  Will thought he had it easy with Black History.  It was in his comfort zone to do nothing and be who he thought he was.  And so he didn’t like his own idea.  As citizens of the USA, we are told we have the power to change the world as we know it.  We are told we can control who the president is, who is elected into the supreme court, etc.  And for the most part, we really do.  However..  we have grown so accustomed to it, that we no longer use it until it gets to be too great.  We don’t like change.  It is for this reason that students don’t try to change the way Schools run, and probably never will.  They see there’s something wrong, but they don’t act.  Some of this is because they don’t know how, sure.  Some of it is even from misunderstandings.  But most of it is either because they feel nobody would listen, or because they are too set in their own ways to do anything about it.  There are also people that like things the way they are, and, like Will, they are afraid to change it because they know they would have to step up to the plate themselves if they did.

This, is where Politics comes into play.  This is where we delve deeper into the reason students can’t change these “politics” ways.  It all boils down to one main thing.  And that’s money.  Sure, we’d like to believe that schooling is good for us, it helps us grow, mature, and all that.  But the fact is, while it does let people learn and grow, it does so in a manner that doesn’t behoove us at all.  Unless we work with the system, and conform to what politics dictates.  In general, if the school gets money, gets paid, and attracts new students, it won’t change that portion.  Those that do usually stay small, and never grow to the extent that they could have.  We are almost ingrained with the notion that “More money is always good, no matter the cost.”  And yet that is exactly why our schools suffer.  It’s precisely the reason Students can’t change it; why Administrators won’t.

Ok, I got a little extreme.  But the point I made is still valid.  Our schools suffer because they want money, more than they want to help students learn.  And the higher up you go, the more prominent this is.  Why is this?  Well, in pre-college (USA only, here.), the government pays for the schooling costs.  (Which could be bad anyway, but I’m not going anti-government here.  In fact, I’d argue this is much much better than forcing us to pay for it ourselves.)  The school has no control over what they get paid (other than fundraisers).  It tends to be fair that way, because the government, if told the school was behaving incorrectly, can withhold funding altogether.  Colleges and Universities, however, get paid by the students themselves.  They control what they charge, and have a lot more control of their finances.  It tends to not be quite as fair.

So, if it isn’t fair…  then what can be done to make it so?  What will it take to keep students, teachers, professors, parents, AND administrators happy?  This isn’t an easy question to answer.  However, I do know this.  Martian Luther King Jr. had the right idea when he spoke to the black community, organized sit-in’s, boycotts, etc.  Passive activism.  If something wasn’t right, it could be changed, with enough people against it.  Numbers.  Remember what I stated above?  The more activists you can get, the better your results will be.  This brings up a very good point.  One could argue that Students have every right to change what they like, just gather a group, and use the passive activist technique.  And they would be right.  It would work!  But the fact is, they won’t gather in these groups.  Why?  Some find grades more important, some just don’t care, others just need a leader.  But if they were leaders, they wouldn’t go to these schools.  they would be smarter and teach themselves.  Learn what doesn’t work and make it better.

Students are powerless to change Politics, but not because they really cant.  Only because they are unwilling to do so.  they have things that are “more important” for them.  And there’s good reason for this.  By the time they realize something is wrong, they are already seniors, and really can’t do much about it anyway.  As freshmen, they don’t know, and sometimes don’t believe there is an issue at all.  The only way to ensure a big enough group of students… is if one recruited the entire freshman class, and organized them into an activist group, led by seniors.  Creating organizations with the intent to ensure that the student voice is heard.  But doing this takes time…  and to reiterate… we are lazy.

By now, if you aren’t angry with me; if you aren’t wanting to go out and prove me wrong…  then you are just like 90% of the general populous.  YOU are the reason schools are stuck  the way they are.  As for me?  I understand the problem…  but I, too, am part of that general populous.  We need a leader.  We need someone who doesn’t care what others think, and who is willing to let their GPA go down to fix what is wrong in our schools.

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