6 Education Problems That Could Be Holding You Back
If you’re a student trying to get ahead in today’s world, hard work and ingenuity still pay dividends. However, there are also a number of things that could be impeding your progress, and they may be beyond your control. However, being aware these problems are out there will allow you to find workarounds that take you from roadblocks to success. Which of the following give you the most trouble?
1. Rising Costs of Higher Ed
According to an August 2012 article in The Huffington Post, the cost of a college degree in America has gone up around 1,120 percent in the last 30 years, “far outpacing the price inflation of consumer goods, medical expenses and food.” This financial burden is most often leveled on younger people with no work experience and little marketability in a job market that has struggled to come down from high unemployment rates since 2008. No wonder you’re stressed out! The fear for many students about what they’re going to do when they graduate can often cause stress and turmoil in the present, affecting performance and understanding. That’s why it is important to start now in looking for scholarships. Whether they’re for academics, athletics, or civic service, every little bit helps. There are also Federal Pell Grants for the income eligible. Still, it may be tough to get out of school without incurring some debt, so make sure you pick a major that has a future. Technology and medicine will always be in high demand. Certificate training for different trades could also be a low-cost way to land a good-paying job.
2. Behavioral Issues in the Classroom
At colleges and universities, professors don’t have to pause every five minutes to settle down a problem child in class. The financial burden of education is on the student, and if he wants to act like a blooming idiot, then his grades will quickly reflect it, thus taking care of the problem for everyone else. However, high schools have been, for lack of a better word, neutered in the authority they once had. Kids often have the run of a school, and they know it. It’s kind of hard learning about calculus when hormone-ridden Johnny is making sex jokes out of everything the teacher has to say or blowing spit wads at the unpopular kids from across the room every time the instructor writes something down on the dry-erase.
3. Lack of Administrative Support
If you want to know why No. 2 happens more often than it should, look to the administrator. Teachers have only as much authority as their principal will give them, and principals have only as much as the superintendent and school board will allow. That’s why teachers, who seldom have discipline problems in class, can move to another district and leave the profession inside of two years. In my own experience, there was an unruly Caucasian student, who called an African-American cheerleader the “n” word in my class one day. I immediately sent him to the principal’s office and was shocked to get a knock on the door 15 minutes later. It was my principal. He had returned with the student before the end of the class period with the news that he’d “spoken” to the boy. I asked him what was going to happen next. He said to let him know if it happened again, and that was all. The student didn’t get so much as a detention. I resigned at the end of the year.
Some districts make it extremely hard to fail students, who are not performing in class. And most of the time, students in danger of failing are in that position because they won’t hand in work. But as obvious as the problem may seem, the teacher will still have to track down the parents before they can even consider a failing mark, and that can be a monumental task akin to evicting a squatter. Parents often don’t wish to have that meeting because they were poor students as well, and they have never placed value on the importance of an education. In contrast to this issue — but equally troubling — are the parents, who take such an “interest” in their child’s “education” that they think the teacher is wrong about everything. Misbehaving, failing grades, whatever. Their darlings can do nothing wrong, and if they’re doing poorly in school, it’s automatically the system’s fault.
5. Excessive Testing
Politicians patted themselves on the back quite a bit over “No Child Left Behind,” a failed bi-partisan effort to bring every student up to the same standards. They thought they would accomplish this through a battery of tests that continually monitored a child’s progress each year. Unfortunately, it sucked a lot of the joy out of learning. Assessing a student’s progress is necessary, but when that’s all said student sees, he has a tendency to focus just on facts and information and not on learning HOW to learn, which is of the utmost importance for a quality education.
6. Teaching to the Test
Teachers have certainly done students few favors in “teaching to the test,” but believe us, they’re not doing it because that’s what they want to do. The US political machine has decided to use test scores as a means of “rewarding” or “punishing” schools for the performance of its students. The higher the test scores, the more federal money the school receives. The lower the test scores, the more danger educators are in of losing their jobs and having their state’s department of education take over the school (often the most unqualified people to be teaching anything). Teachers are scared they will lose their jobs if they don’t churn out students, who are good test-takers, and so they end up forgetting how to grow learners.
It’s definitely a jungle out there for students, who care about their education, but luckily, there are also a lot of opportunities. By finding a passion for learning, giving your all in everything you do, and choosing a wise path for your future, there are literally no limits to what you can accomplish. Good luck!
[Image of Bad Parents via Flickr Creative Commons]
[Image of Classroom via Flickr Creative Commons]
[Image of Bad Students via Flickr Creative Commons]