The Importance of Education


Isabella Wartzenluft, Reporter and Editor

I have been raised by a family that highly values education. Many of my family members are teachers, including both of my parents. My mother teaches middle school english, and my father teaches middle school physical education. Due to this, I realized at a young age how important knowledge is.

Does this mean that I value education above all else? No, not at all. My parents have taught me that there are many aspects to life that are important, such as creativity and kindness towards others. As Albert Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Education, through the gift of knowledge, has allowed me to express myself and bring out my inner creativity. Although, through my eyes, students are being taught less about ingenuity, and more about how to do well on tests.

The American education system has become something that I have grown to dislike. We as a society no longer value creativity and inspiration, but rather how high one’s GPA is or how well one can score on a standardized test. Our intelligence should not be measured by numbers or letters, but by how we apply it to our lives in an attempt to better ourselves and others and to have the freedom and ability to try new ideas without fear.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, Finland was declared to have one of the best education systems in the world in 2012. What makes them so successful?

According to Smithsonian Magazine, many schools in Finland are smaller in size, meaning that teachers have a personal relationship with each student. They retracted all standardized tests apart from one that students take at the end of their senior year of high school. They do not rank schools or students, meaning no competition or comparison. Every student, no matter where they live or how much money their family has, gets the same chance at receiving a quality education. According to Smithsonian Magazine, Pasi Sahlberg, who works in Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture, has said, “We prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test.”

I believe that teaching children how to learn is extremely important. Since I can remember, in a large majority of my classes, I have been conditioned to memorize the information a teacher gives me, regurgitate it all on a test, and then forget the information as soon as I hand the test in. Every day, I am being prepared for the next class test, the next standardized test, the next quiz, or the next essay. When will I be taught how to learn, how to apply information that will help me in my future?

My freshman year of high school, I was terrified. Middle school was a breeze for me, and due to this I was convinced I was an intelligent person. I had the ability to memorize words and meanings, formulas and capitals of countries, after all. But in high school suddenly, getting a 4.0 wasn’t so easy.

During second semester of my freshman year, I received my first B. It was in Geometry. I was devastated. I believed I would never get into college and that I wouldn’t be able to start my own life. This is not how any student should feel.

According to National Public Radio, half of all teenagers say they are stressed due to school pressure.

There is a poster in my study hall room. It reads, “Get good grades or your college butt is mine.” Why are we teaching students this? Why are we teaching students that the only way to be successful in life is to get a 4.0 GPA, get into a good college, and spend tens of thousands of dollars?

But, then what? We teach kids how to get into college, not what to do once they’re ready to start their own lives.

Though both of my parents are teachers, they have always instilled in the belief that  me that my life was my own to live. Going to college is a choice that I get to make. They understand that the education system in this country is something that needs to change, and I believe that one day they will contribute to making that happen.

Students should wake up happy in the morning, excited to learn and expand their minds. They shouldn’t feel nauseous from the stress of each test and quiz they have that day.