I Am Not a Cookie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

      Throughout my education, I have been a cookie in a cookie-cutter educational system. I am assigned to a school based on where I live. I’ve been forced to take classes in my senior year that I am not interested in. The biggest flaw in our educational system is that those who make the laws are legislators, not educators. Students who want to get ahead and start their college education early are discouraged and often punished for their ambitions.

Many European countries allow parents to choose where they want to enroll their children. Each student is given an amount of money by the government to pay for education. This money is attached to the student instead of given to the school in their area, allowing parents to choose either a public or private option. When parents are allowed to select, schools are forced to compete for students, making the schools better. They hire more qualified teachers, and offer more extracurricular activities and a broader range of challenging classes. Competition, by its very nature, makes the schools better.

Here in America, we fail to follow this example in most cases. Students are usually assigned to a school based solely on their address. Those who live near a school that is notorious for gang violence, drug use, or simply unqualified teachers have no choice but to endure a mediocre education. Some families refuse to accept this and lie about their addresses in order to attend better schools. Parents caught lying are slapped with outrageous fines and, in some cases, even jail time. Schools are cracking down on those who want a better education at their school (instead of being flattered). Legislatures should not make laws that hurt the school system.

As cookies in the cookie-cutter educational system, students’ interests are of little importance. Internet correspondence courses are rarely used in schools. Many students do take classes online or at local colleges to graduate early. Several of my friends who chose to challenge themselves by starting their future early were punished by not being allowed to walk across the stage and graduate in front of their friends and relatives. Meanwhile, others who either flunked or were missing credits were permitted to walk at graduation to avoid embarrassment. This hypocrisy is a hole in the system.

I’m sick of being a cookie in the educational system. Actual learning is becoming discouraged. Instead, protocols and statewide tests that lead to school funding are upheld and taught. I don’t want to be a number or a test score. I want to be a voice, a student worth teaching.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 5:18 pm
i love this so much!
Imaginedangerous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 24, 2010 at 2:57 pm

'The biggest flaw in our education system is that those who make the laws are legislators, not educators.'

I agree completely with that line. Where I live (Utah), we're required- by state law- to take a few specific classes that are completely pointless (Computer Tech, I'm looking at you). It's a huge waste of time and money.

Also, I'd never even considered the idea of introducing competition into education, but it makes complete sense to me. Prod... (more »)

Bethani said...
Jun. 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm
Well said. You have made some points that are often ignored including the address issue. 
BellaBarbaric said...
Jul. 28, 2009 at 11:56 pm
I live in UK and We do choose our own High School but often herevwe have to take tests to get into better schools or if you are religious you get in anyway so students are 'Hand-Picked' to get good results and do well in school league tables. I agree with your argument but sometimes getting to choose isn't always a good thing especially if you aren't smart enough to get in to these 'clever schools' or are not religious.
Meagan M. said...
May 18, 2009 at 10:07 pm
Well don't we need those bad, drug and gang schools to get better? So if only those type of people attend the school, it will never improve... So why should we have one school where only gangs attend, why would we want lots of those types of people in one school? Where if we had gangs and druggies with intelligent and determined people they can see a model to look up to, not others like them, involved in bad stuff
This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 27, 2009 at 11:38 am
You wouldn't be saying this if you were the intelligent person forced into that school.
Lonewolf25 said...
Dec. 1, 2008 at 2:02 pm
Your right its are body to control and its are brain. I don't want my parents to tell where I can learn. Plus some kids just want to get out of school.
Merry Crismas said...
Dec. 9, 2008 at 1:00 am
I completely agree... I think that somewhere a long the way, people in charge forget that these are our lives, and that there is a person behind the number... I think sometimes people forget that there ae not 300 something students in the school, or in the grade- but that these 300 students are people. We spend more waking hours at school than home, and we deserve to have responsibilities, privilidges, and the freedom to take courses we are actually interested in.
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