America's High School Education

America's High School Education

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Education is a right, not a privilege. As the great Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” America’s secondary education system has been extremely successful in allowing many students to succeed but has fell short in providing equal opportunities for others. Additionally, for those not interested in going to college, high school often ends up as being a huge waste of time from their point of view. America’s high school education system should be reformed so it better prepares all students for the real world and should provide the opportunity for an equal and affordable education to all.
According to The Atlantic, high school graduation rates have reached an all time high in recent years and was at 75% for the 2011-2012 school year. However, CBS News reported that less than 39% of working age employees (ages 25-64) have a two or four year college degree. This means that the overwhelmingly majority of people do have a high school degree but not a college one. Thus, if a student is not really planning on going to college, is it really fair to say that America’s school system is preparing students for the future? For a student planning on entering the workforce straight out of high school, does it make sense to teach him calculus or skills related to the field they hope to pursue a job in? What about the 25% of students who do not graduate high school? Do they choose to drop out because they are incapable of graduating or because they have realized that they may be wasting their time? If a student hopes to become a detective after finishing high school does a class such as European History really prepare him for anything? Students should be more freely allowed to choose their schedule and should be able to receive job training instead of taking what may be considered another pointless class. By doing this, Americans would be better prepared for jobs that do not require college degrees. Additionally, this would allow people to make an informed decision when choosing a career path after completing high school. A student might discover that he loves working with electricity and decide to become an electrician. Maybe a student discovers his love for cars and decides to become a mechanic. These classes could also teach students how to ace interviews, build their resumes, and succeed in their careers.

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Another huge issue that exists with America’s education is the great disparity between different schools. Practically all top tier high schools are located in wealthy areas and do not allow for people from impoverished areas to attend. This is very controversial -- especially for a country that is supposed to be the land of opportunity. Students should be able to receive an equally high education regardless of where they live. Sure, there are many examples of people escaping poverty and living the American Dream, but how many millions of people are there living the Un-American Dream? Is it really fair to punish children based on what kind of family they were born into? Due to inequalities in education, millions of people are forced into what is essentially a circle of poverty.
America’s education system does a great job of preparing students for white collar jobs but fails horrifically when it comes to preparing people who need technical training. America has essentially created a system in which, depending upon the school you are forced to attend, you may or may not be given the opportunity to succeed. Thus, despite its many strengths, America’s education system needs to be reformed to better prepare students for blue collar jobs and to provide students with an equally accessible, high-quality education.
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