American Education

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Even as a child I could tell that we had a very flawed educational system.  We were being taught things that had no practical value. While I learned since then that mathematics is crucial, that was never explained to us.  I felt no desire to want to learn it well as a result, and didn’t.

 History was mostly taught as who fought what battle, when, and who won and was only given from our country’s point of view.  No one bothered to tell us what these battles did to the people who were not soldiers.  I enjoyed ancient history better than modern, because it told us something about everyday life during those periods.

English was my favorite subject, because we read and wrote about all kinds of ideas.  I found it fascinating that while people were so similar physically and emotionally they could have different opinions about the same things.  I was always curious about what made people act the way they did and psychology was another subject that intrigued me.

The whole emphasis in our high school education was to get us into college, except for those who chose to go to a trade school.  They were treated as though they did not have the intellectual capacity for further education. 

We also were given “career counseling” so we would know what to major in when we got to college.  We were encouraged to go into law, medicine and teaching because they had the most lucrative positions.  Couldn’t anyone see that when we were ready to go to work those careers would have a glut of applicants and only those who had connections would be able to find jobs in the field they had chosen?

I did not face that problem because I had no interest in those careers and I did not see college as being a necessity.  My father had only an eighth grade education, but was a happy blue-collar worker making enough money to support his family.  He knew more about how to fix things and get along with people than most college graduates.  My mother had finished high school.

Like most parents, they wanted me to do more with my life, but could not afford to send me to a four year college, and my grades were not good enough to get a scholarship, so I went to a two year college.  Then I was told to go to work and save money to finish my education.  I did go to work, but never back to school.

My interest was writing, and I read that it did not take a college degree to be a free-lance writer. I wanted the freedom to be my own boss and work my own schedule. I did not achieve this during my working years.  Like many people, I spent most of my life doing jobs I did not fully enjoy and finally after retirement I am doing things I always wanted to do.

Now I see that the arts have always been given second place in our educational system and even been suppressed to a large degree.  I realize it is because we are a threat to those in power because we have a different way of looking at things and dare to question their motivation.  We also communicate with others and influence them.  Most people remember at least one book that affected them.  True power does lie in the written word as someone once said.

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