The Present Education System: Children Left Behind

When students imagine a perfect education, they envision scenarios like “Dead Poets Society,” but, it is more like “Ferris Buellers day off.” Where students attend class barely conscious due to the monotonous voice of Ben Stein and invigorating topics like economics. Unfortunately, our education system has become an embodied version of Ben Stein’s character with a gross amount of focus on common core subjects. Perception is what every human being bases their actions upon, and perception of success in education is determined by key subjects rather than an overall evaluation of what makes a student unique.

This was illustrated in “Dead poet’s society,” when Robin Williams character took a deep interest in his student’s education and personal lives.

He gifted us with the vision of an amazing educator that we all want to learn from and someone whose life we celebrate because of his impact on others’ lives. Williams character could achieve this due to a freedom that is no longer available to educators, instead they were stripped of teaching students in their own unique way and it was replaced with a one size fits all method.

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Common core was introduced as a method to better evaluate how schools were performing, which was supposed to lead to a more efficient method of teaching that placed emphasis on core subjects that are assumed to lead to more success in life. Common core has crippled our student’s ability to learn, grow, and live in an environment that focuses on the student as a person rather than their ability to bubble in answers.

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Creativity is not what makes a student brilliant, or what make them smart in relative terms. Creativity is what makes them survive in an otherwise impossible environment, and this is due to the fact that without it there would be no advancement in the world. Unfortunately, our schools are teaching students out of their creativity, especially with the addition of common core standards in the classroom. Sir Ken Robinson states on the TED stage that, “I believe our only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology, one in which we start to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity” (Robinson). This is a powerful statement when you read into the depths of what it means to fully utilize and acknowledge a human’s capacity.

The point is that we often look at those that struggle in school as people who are dumb, or inept of learning just because they do not learn like the rest of the class. For instance, students with ADHD are extremely stigmatized by the fact that others perceive them as disruptive or as disinterested simply because they cannot concentrate on low grade clerical work or access their memories of what they were learning earlier in the week. Instead these kids are being diagnosed with various learning disabilities, cast aside, and then placed in a corner by themselves so that they do not interrupt the classroom. But in reality, these students are sometimes far smarter or even more capable of flourishing in school than those that do not have the condition and have straight A’s.

The perception of a student’s ability to learn and to flourish is based on how well they perform within the common core and no child left behind approach, rather than how they are uniquely learning the material and how they are setting themselves apart from the rest of the class. Without the emphasis on creativity, individuality, or just learning in a different way, we are killing the existential factor that set all of us apart. With common core and no child left behind in mind, there is a cookie cutter approach towards how children are perceived as successful or as intelligent. Shakespeare, Van Gogh, Einstein, and many more geniuses would have failed in our education system with extreme prejudice, and without someone witnessing someone’s true potential outside the box that is currently defining our students we will never know how many amazing and invaluable human beings are being passed up for opportunities.

If there was an opportunity to focus on one of the worst pieces of legislation that was passed for education we would overwhelmingly be glaring at No Child Left Behind. Focusing how this approach left millions of children behind due to its narrowminded construction and execution that has produced forgettable statistics with even more forgettable results, we can see a clear picture. As Sir Ken Robinson states, “Education under ‘No Child Left Behind’ is based on not diversity but conformity. What schools are encouraged to do is to find out what kids can do across a very narrow spectrum of achievement” (Robinson). This common core, or as they call it today, STEM approach is not completely flawed.

There is a great need to focus on math and sciences, but there also needs to be equal emphasis on the arts, humanities, and especially to physical education. We learn a great deal about life when we leave school, which is how we are taught it should be and that is completely wrong and morally corrupting. Instead of focusing on what makes us great individually we are focusing on how a mass quantity of students can pass through school learning predominantly math and science with little to no attention towards the arts or humanities. This has left our nation with a generation of students that are lacking in monumental life skills that pushed us to become the best country in the world. The nation is full of students who are moderately to excellently versed in math and science but we are lacking in students who can think critically, think with ingenuity, and creatively because they were never given the chance to grow that part of their mind.

The nation now has a work force that literally needs a step-by-step manual on how to fit in the workforce rather than shining as an individual like many great leaders and inventors. Elon Musk is fundamentally different than so many others that have tried to mimic his success over the last decade, and they continue to fail. His ingenuity is what sets him apart from the rest of the crowd, rather than melding into it, and he is the architect to his empire of businesses that are revolutionizing the entire world. Before the announcement of the electric car we only knew of one time where we can look back and see an actual real-life creation, and that was in 1891.

In order for our country to move on we need to have a serious overhaul of the education system, one that does not involve the government but the people that are actual educators and have hands on experience. Washington has been nothing but ineffective with its approach to education, and even though education is one of the most famous political talking points it has gone nowhere. Teachers are not factory workers, they are not supposed to produce a large number of the same type of student rather they are supposed to individually craft each child’s education. A teacher is not supposed to regurgitate information, they are supposed to mentor you, inspire, provoke, and engage students. As David Greene points out, “Academic creativity has been drained from degraded and overworked experienced teachers.

Uniformity has sucked the life out of teaching and learning” (Greene). In “Dead poet’s society,” we were given a prime example of what a teacher is supposed to do, and as the movie progresses we witness how one teacher has touched hundreds of lives with creativity, passion, and an untamed imagination. This fantasy should not be just that, it is extremely possible to make it a reality for every child in this nation. With other points being brought to light, there are some upsides to common core standards that really do improve the outcomes of many schools that are failing. The addition of no child left behind allowed parents to choose a school that was outperforming their current school so that their child could attend and become a better overall student. But this also bred a very deceitful trend of administrators that cheated on their test results so that they could earn bonuses and keep their jobs.

We need to open our eyes to the extremely flawed education system, if there is to be any meaningful change there has to be the inclusion of actual teachers that come from K-12 backgrounds and not just college professors. As Derrick Meador presents it, “Many veteran teachers have retired rather than adjust the way they teach. The stress of getting their students to perform will likely continue to cause more teacher and administrator burnout” (Meador). Basically, if we continue down this path we will need to press the reset button and start from the bare bones of what education should truly be. That is to be an institution that breeds creativity alongside producing intelligent students that excel in math and science, to encourage teachers to teach the way that fits them best, and to craft their teaching plans around the individual needs of their students.

A nation that has no real education system is a nation that is set up for complete and utter failure, which is something we cannot afford. We as a nation have not been number one in any subject for over a decade, and that is the fault of the failed initiatives that have been passed through Congress. Our educations were not meant to be the path that is most taken, rather it is a path that we should be able to create on our own with the rigidity of common core standards.

Testing our kids on every subject to an extent where students have no interest in learning is only robbing them of their creativity and ability to contribute to the world in their own individualistic way. We would be bankrupted of knowledge and innovation if we taught some of the world’s greatest minds the way we teach kids today, and that is a sobering fact. We are on a path that will ruin the lives of future generations by simply depriving them of one small yet monumental factor of their education, creativity. We need to step away from common core standards, no child left behind, and any other government initiative that has ruined our education system and give it back to the ones that are responsible for making it the unstoppable machine it was decades ago.

In the end, the whole point of education is to get students to learn without a set of standards that are constricting them to a series of bubbles on a scantron. Standardized testing is one of the most dominant factors of the education system that teachers are forced to integrate into learning. It has a place in education, but it assists in learning rather than obstruct it. Most importantly, we need to give back the power to influence change to teachers and students because without their input education does not work. Our lives are meant to be creative, we are intrinsically different from one another because of our ability to differentiate one another and our educations should reflect that.

Cite this page

The Present Education System: Children Left Behind. (2022, Apr 30). Retrieved from

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