If I Never See Your Face Again, School, I'll Be Just Fine

October 25, 2008
By Isha Flores, Brooklyn, NY

Although school may be the bane of our existence, most of us are willing to put up with it in hopes of reaping the benefits of a better future. For those of us, however, who are unwilling to contend with the nuisance of school, the obligation of attending it seems oppressive and unjust. Is it really fair or, more importantly, reasonable to keep minors in school if they are so averse to it and refuse to learn?

By law, children in the state of NY must stay in school until the age of 16, by which time they can drop out with parental consent. Many students don’t want to wait that long, and, as they are determined to ignore their academic responsibilities, it is relatively pointless to keep them there. Being obligated to do something you don’t want to usually results in a job poorly done. It’s like asking an atheist to conduct a charitable mission for a church or demanding that a little boy clean his room when he is resolute against doing so; they might agree to do as asked, but the lack of effort they would inevitably apply would lead to a result that won’t be as great as it could have been.

The purpose of an education is not just to teach students important material, drill in concepts that will be later used in life or force a rote memorization of facts, although these are definitely part of any education, but to inspire in the receivers of that knowledge a desire to learn more. Everyone learns in different ways, and for some people, school, or our defined notion of traditional school, is not the way.
By disrupting the learning of students who actually want to learn and by overcrowding classrooms, these students, who are so dissatisfied with school, would be better off elsewhere. Students should not be forced to continue to go to school after 9th grade in high school, so that they can get a taste of the work, yet have the option to leave. Instead, other services should be required of them, until they reach an employment age. Students could test out of school, participate in community service, or even attend alternative schools that teach differently or have special programs.

Parents refuse to allow their children to stay home instead of attending school because they fear their children would simply waste time and throw away their futures. But they would do the same or even worse at school, not only throwing away time, but also disrupting classrooms. Parents must recognize that not all children learn the same way, and accept that perhaps their children require a different style of learning, one that isn’t as harsh as their kids find school. An education is a precious gift, a much undervalued one, but a precious one nonetheless; one can’t benefit from it, still, unless one appreciates it and wants it.

School is a learning environment; it does no good to the school if its students don’t want to be there, simply taking up space. We should instill in children a love of knowledge, because without it, a grim future awaits us. Education can come in various different forms. We should consider all of those options, vocational education and community service, for example, rather than making students stick to the conventional one. After all, school isn’t a daycare center for kids, it’s a tool for the improvement of those who wish to take advantage of it.

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