Meaningful Learning

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The importance of education cannot be emphasized enough, as it is the driving force behind our nation's competitiveness on the global market, and the foundation of our status as a world leader. However, alarming recent statistics conclude that the level of education in our country is rapidly declining. This is the result of repeated failures by various governments to reform our public schools, by using methods that focus on small-part fixes rather than on changing the system at the core. The American public education system has a set of structural problems derived from the level of political involvment. In order to serve their own long term business interests, top CEOs and big corporations invest billions of dollars in our public schools, and in return they are allowed to influence the content of the education programs. In order to be successful, education reform should be free of politics, and it should be up to the experts to decide the direction of curriculum, and what methods are used to assess readiness. Grades and test results are important tools to assess knowledge, but equally important is meaningful learning inspired by competent teachers and exposure to the arts.  Millions of students enrolled in the American public schools are not receiving a complete education, mainly because students' and teachers' performance is reduced to numbers, such as grades and test results. In order to meet the national standards, educators are under immense pressures to produce certain results, and children are mislead in thinking that if they get high scores in english and math, they are successful products of the school system. And so, under current reform, educators often lose sight of what's important, and that is developing the child's individuality by aiding them explore all aspects of themselves and the world around them. As a result, students no longer learn with pleasure, or for their own benefit and for the beauty of knowledge. Critics argue that "Children will race to the top when they discover passion and purpose from the inside, not because of extrinsic rewards like test scores, grades, or trophies" (Price-Mitchell 2). A child's education should be molded around their pesonal qualities, interests, and aptitudes. In order to find out how to spark a student's interest in the academic material, and decide what methods to use in order to motivate them, a teacher must primarily know the child's likes and dislikes. That way, the educator should be able to connect the curriculum with examples from the student's personal life, and things that the child can relate to.  At the same time, the student will also get to know themselves and their environment better. Through self exploration, the child can find their true vocation. Self-knowledge also teaches students how to use their strenghts and how to overcome their weaknesses to improve academic performance. Therefore, in order to improve both students' and teachers' achievements, the public education policy should shift its focus away from high test scores, and enforce meaningful learning inspired by self-discovery.  An effective school system should free teachers of the burden of restrictive polictics, and allow them to inspire meaningful  learning in students, by utilizing their own personal traits,  knowledge and skills. People always search  for the best quality service they can get: the best doctor, the best lawyer, or the best accountant. Quality is even more relevant when we think of someone as important as the person in charge of our children's education, which eventually dictates their path in life. That is because in a young student's mind, the connection between their overall school experience and their teacher's persona is so strong,  that it sets the tone for their entire educational career. There are even instances when a child prefers the safehaven of a classroom, as opposed the grim reality of a bad neighborhood or a troubled household. That's why a...
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