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The typical high school teaches 30% of its students to be failures. This is because the curriculum only recognizes academic skills and student intelligence is measured by this standard. Nonacademic skills and associated intelligence are ignored. A person who has the ability to be a first class welder is labeled a failure. He may never become a welder because self-fulfilling prophecy, based on academics, will determine his fate.
There will always be failures when young people are sorted by age and expected to meet programmed achievement by that age. Human nature does not work this way. The system must be in harmony with human nature. In the right learning environment, anyone can excel and no one needs to be labeled a failure.
Before the 1900s, most people lived on a farm and schooling was in a one-room schoolhouse. In this environment, students were sorted by skill level, not by age. This allowed students to advance at a natural pace without negative stigmas. The system recognizes that everyone has a unique talent and has different learning speeds. Developing a love to learn was the goal and its effectiveness was based on the ability to share knowledge. Usually, older students shared their knowledge or interest with younger students. Younger students were inspired by older students and they became role models. This interaction developed a respect for fellow students, inspiring all to excel. The one room schoolhouse did not teach students to be failures.
The term "failure" was adapted by city schools that use multipliable classrooms and sorted students by age. Performance is based on averages with winners and losers in every class. Every student, in each age group, is expected to march in lock step to a single drummer, the instructor. Role models, in the classroom, have become a thing of the past, the sharing of knowledge, by students, is no longer an education tool.
Today's education has a production line mentality with inspectors to eject those that do not conform to the system. To make production line education work, the curriculum is limited to academics, because it can be taught in the classroom and results can be measured. This may seem efficient, but the price to society of failing students is becoming too high to be acceptable. Problems are spiraling out of control. To help maintain control, politicians are passing laws to keep the system in place. This cannot go on forever.
The system needs to recognize natural talent, plus skills that cannot be measured, and adapt learning environments to individual needs. Customizing education to students' personal interest and learning habits is why home schooling programs are so successful. Also, home schoolers do not receive the failure label because their progress is NOT compared to other students; the goal is to develop a love to learn. With a love to learn, additional skills can be mastered as needed.
The education system uses reward and punishment as a control tool. Intellectuals are rated most likely to succeed, and then they are offered scholarships that lead to quality jobs. Non-intellectuals are put on the punishment list. They are denied participation in special projects and other non-academic subjects including shop courses, subjects they could excel at. This policy guarantees that predictions will be right, "anyone who does not master academics will become failures in life." Self-fulfilling prophecy becomes the controlling factor.
Standardized testing is widening the gap between passing and failing students. The pressure to comply is forcing marginal students on one side or the other. There is a breaking point and many simply give up. Increase pressure will force students to reach that breaking point at an earlier age. The price will be more crime on the streets, not less. On the other hand, the school's performance rating increases when failing students walk away from the system.
These same students could develop positive self-esteem in a different learning environment, one where academics was a byproduct. There is more to education than academics.
Employment is available for non-intellectuals with positive self-esteem.
On a Love to Learn
People who love to learn have positive self-esteem.
People who love to learn engage in self-motivated projects.
Non-performing students are labeled failures by the teacher. This stigma is picked up by fellow students. Outside the classroom, these students are called dumb and stupid. They become social outcast by their peers.
The daily labels of failure, dumb, stupid become self-fulfilling prophecy. This belief, by the student, will stay with them all their life and will prevent them from discovering their true talent. These students could excel if academics was a byproduct of discovering and developing their natural talent.
Classroom rejects have an option - join a street gang. For many, this is the only alternative to finding acceptance among their peers. In fact, street gang members are considered heroes among their peers. The result may be self-destructive, but teenagers live for the moment, not the future.
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