Thoughts on YERT

19 Sep

Our education system here is faulty, to put it mildly. Students are left to deal with the numerous slip-ups of the board and are sometimes even blamed for its inadequacy. For years I mentally raged against our joke of an administration, resigned myself to a wary truce for a couple more years, and now – finally – my own school is potentially starting a club called Youth Education Reform Team, or “YERT” for short.

I know little about this affiliation at the moment, but I am fully in love with the idea of it and shall fully support it if I find myself able. It’s ironic that we students – that is to say, those of us who remain intellectually inclined – know more about what ought to be done than most adults do. Yet I have a pretty strong conviction that if we attempted to make suggestions to the system people, they would disregard it as they do so many of our sayings and doings. While this nation is meant to endorse freedom of speech, “minors” (as people tend to refer to those under the age of eighteen) are not only ignored: they are sometimes silenced. Simply being young is enough to turn off many older people’s attention, as we are seen as inferiors. Why else do we have to address adults as “Sir” and “Madam” but for their self-styled sense of superiority? While I do acknowledge their greater amounts of life experience, many people grow cocky with age and like to exercise their so-called greatness for no reason other than that they can. There are some very wise and intelligent adults out there, to be sure; there are also children and teenagers who are equally so. The same applies to stupidity – I know of some very dim people who have been hired for prodigious titles, one of whom was the President of the United States from 2001 until 2009. I will not attempt to deny the fact that there are some very slow-witted youths, either. Plenty of them attend my school. These idiots see me as a figure of insanity, and perhaps I am for thinking outside the proverbial box. But whenever I use a “big word” in English class or elsewhere – even one which is not a rare term – I receive stares of stunned awe bordering on admiration, maybe even fear. Brawn can be useful, but given a choice I would pick a healthily-growing mind over giant muscles any day. Besides, I would not be shocked to discover half of the meatheads at my school use steroids. Unfortunately, tossing a ball from player to player does actually earn revenue for some, even if it does not accomplish much else. But the people who change the world are those who know how to read and write, how to calculate, how to think. And thinking is something people just do not seem capable of doing anymore.

If I worked for the Wake County Public School System, I might well be fired after an hour or so for my eccentric ideas of how to better serve our younger friends. Despite the technology given to us by thinkers, and perhaps even partially due to it, we are in a social dark age of ignorance, arrogance, and above all, stupidity. My ideal education would not involve being daily imprisoned on a campus filled with mind-numbing, droning lectures. Given the chance, I would be allowed to visit truly academic places across the globe in order to learn (as opposed to passing the final exam and forgetting everything needed for it). I would learn what is truly necessary for me; not everyone needs to know everything. I could prepare my own lunches, fresh ones, or eat out on occasion. Laboratories and workshops would be my learning places, as opposed to stuffy boxes of despair and boredom. Instead of being categorized by a college major, I would be a person.

Many of the aforementioned people with closed minds would retort that I am simply a child who does not yet appreciate all that school does for one. My reply to such a claim would be that I am in fact an adult by law, and that there are indeed adults who would agree with me. Anarchy is not what I suggest here (although that would be interesting); my silent suggestion is that children be communicated with, taught personally instead of being shipped off to school to relieve their parents’ duties, and above all, heard.

It may seem that young people do not have a voice, but the truth is that people will hear them if they just listen.

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