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After some 11 odd years of schooling, during which I've had the chance of contemplating all the different views on the American educational system, here's what I've learned: it is, for the most part, a carbon-copy producing molding machine that is just waiting to get its hands on the minds of the impressionable young and turn them into the well oiled machines that the country needs to function. They - because that's what it always comes down to; the ever villainous they - want you to become what they need, and the sooner you accept that and give up all your hopes and dreams the easier it will be for everyone. They are going to turn you into nothing more than a standardized test answer sheet in a pile of many, and then they are going to judge you based on how well you can bubble in a circle. They are the ones that have made mediocre synonymous with acceptable. They are the ones to blame when the harsh reality of life outside of their system, a life they haven't prepared you for, slaps you in the face. They, who think teachers are a dime a dozen and so easily replaceable if they do not spend a year instilling the trick to multiple choice questions in their students. This is the gist of educator's opinions on the American educational system.

And teachers: I get it. I understand the contempt for a system that places more importance on how you feel than on how you do because, apparently, if you feel like a champ you are a champ! A system where they don't want children to think for themselves, or heaven forbid they question what the people in charge are actually doing to this nation. I agree that the educational system in American is failing. It is not equipping kids with the necessary skills to successfully handle a life outside of school, where it's not about letter grades. However, I'm not here to talk about the educational system itself, but how the conflict between the so hated system and teachers, those two opposing forces, affects students.

It is generally accepted that the educational system is a tool to morph children into what they need to be instead of what they want to be. Most kids have learned that if it is accepted by the "system" it is bad. Mention an office job, and the first image that pops into most peoples' heads is rows upon rows of cubicles, all occupied with mindless drones doing mindless work. That is how it is portrayed in popular media. No one wants that, and the generally accepted way to avoid this fate is to not conform to our corrupted educational system. If you do conform then you are a part of them.

This is where students come to the fork in the road. Do they follow the followers, the herd of the non-thinking, the blindly accepting, the clones. Where most of their teachers - people they consider mentors - on the other road, can look upon them with disappointment in their eyes and the failure of losing another student to the manipulative system written all over their face. Or do they turn their backs on what they have been taught are nothing but single-minded drones, and join the ranks of the real individuals, with real thoughts of their own? It doesn't matter what the conformists think of them, because their opinion is based on what they system tells them. To me, that doesn't sound like much of a choice.

Students need to be given the ability to choose without social stigmas, enforced by their teachers, hanging over their head. Educators play a big role in a child's life and the decisions they make. Of course, some kids just don't care; some kids just want to make it out of school and get a job, not forming any type of relationship with their teachers. For them, there has ever only been one path. But for the rest of us, who actually look up to you, the teachers, what you think of us matters. Teachers say that if you want to join the many, it's okay to go down that road - but who's going to admit to desiring something everyone seems to think is so horrible?

I'm sure most of you teachers will agree that the American educational system needs to be reformed, because it is obviously not working. But who are you looking at when you say that? The generic cookie-cutter drones that graduate and soon become indistinguishable from one another? Or the kids that only go in the opposite direction because they don't want to be labeled generic cookie-cutter drones?



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