A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Opinion

Education should be valued for learning, not college acceptance

In the same sense that young children are indoctrinated into religious faiths, children are also indoctrinated into the belief system that those who attend a four year university will have an immediately successful career and life.

Regardless of a student’s economic or educational disadvantages, or their scholarly ability, that of which is not tied directly to intelligence, students are pressured to have faith in a mere building of learning that costs upwards of thousands of dollars to attend yearly. Schools across the country are sending the wrong message about education — education should be valued in itself, not only to get into college.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, enrollment to colleges in the fall of 2016 increased 5.2 million students since the fall of 2000. There are 29.1 million college drop outs in the United States.  The rising rate of college dropouts it’s troubling considering that the number of college dropouts has exceeded the amount of high school dropouts by 5.4 million. . Most students are rushing into four year universities without considering other forms of post secondary education. With the variety of available post-secondary education options it’s disheartening that so many students are going after costly degrees that are hard to obtain and not necessarily needed for many amazing and high paying careers.

There are a variety of careers that students do not need to attend a four year university to pursue, including make up artists, cosmetologists, police officers, and dental assistants. Students are aiming for high paying careers such as doctors without considering the rigorous process and the time consuming nature of such careers.  Doctors do make a lot of money but they also have just as much debt. What students need to consider is that for any post secondary education they need to decide whether there will be a return in their educational investment.

In the past, struggling students were the most likely to cheat,  according to recent polls however college bound students in higher level classes are more likely to cheat due to the pressures of grades.  With so many teens cheating what is the value of our education system? Students are bypassing the learning process to obtain arbitrary grades that will get them accepted into college.

Programs such as AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) are great programs for college bound high school students but when middle schools such as Lawrence Junior High adopt programs advocating for college readiness there just might be a problem in the United States. Instead of middle school students taking electives to explore their interests these eleven year olds are preparing for college without most of them having any idea of the career they may want to pursue in the future.

Schools across the country are sending students the wrong message, prioritizing college readiness over the actual learning itself. According to a study done at the University of Stanford between 75 percent and 98 percent of college students surveyed have admitted to cheating in high school. With pressure being put on graduation and being admitted to college students turn to cheating in order to obtain the grade point average and test scores needed for college admission and bring these bad habits with them.

Students have lost their love for learning, instead of learning to become a more educated and well rounded individual education has become a means to an end. That end being a successful career and a college diploma hanging on the wall behind their desk. The journey is no longer important as long as they reach their destination as quickly as possible. A society that undervalues education is bound to crumble.

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