What Was Capitol Hill Thinking?

May 15, 2008
By Tyler Ziegler, Grandville, MI

Dear representatives to the state of Michigan,

Let us look at what politicians have done in the past couple of years to better our education. To name a few we have had proposals to equalize funding for elementary schools and high schools, plans to integrate more technology in classrooms, and transitions from the MEAP testing over to the ACT program. However, by far one of the least thought out actions was increasing the number of classes that high school students are required to take to graduate.

Recently, legislation has been passed down from the state to increase the requirements that graduating high school students must take. The supporters of this plan say that requiring students to take classes will in turn increase the knowledge that students leave with when they graduate. While on the surface this seems like a great idea, when we pick it apart we see a plan that sets students up for failure.

By requiring students to take certain classes, everyone is placed in the same classroom, regardless of intelligence level. This causes ripples and breaks in education because you have students that take their education seriously, and students who could care less about their education. This means that teachers must more or less babysit their students, hoping that some form of knowledge will be gained by the end of the class. God may create us equally, but he certainly does not intend for us to learn on the same level. When we look at students for who they are, no matter what class you stick a slacking student in, that student will always slack, and when you stick an intelligent student in a class, that student will always succeed. Mixing these two groups of students just does not work because the gap in motivation and ability is just too vast.

What we are left with is a plan to try to equalize education, to give everyone a fair chance. Although this again sounds like a great idea, it just is not feasible due to the vast gap in the ability and motivation of high school students. To add to this problem, school districts put pressure on department heads to dumb down classes so that nobody fails. The overall effect is a school system that requires all students to learn certain subjects, yet since the school district won’t allow anyone to fail these subjects, the course work must be simplified so that everyone can pass the class.
In the end, there are no real winners in this system. Hard working students have to sit though dumb downed classes, and disadvantaged students are forced to learn at a rate at which they are not able to comprehend. As you can see, the process set up by politicians as of right now is not working. Both teachers and students agree that although in theory this plan sounds great, in reality it has not helped students out. Please reconsider your opinion you have on the education system we have set up today, and consider becoming involved to change our educational process to benefit our generation and all generations to come.

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