February 1st, 2015

By Austin B. Hahn

Dear Journal:

Here’s food for thought: If a single teacher can’t teach all the subjects, then how could you expect a single student to learn all the subjects?

I love the Internet! I find all kinds of great, intellectually stimulating quotes that challenge institutions and norms.

Speaking of which, I’ve been thinking a lot about my 17 years as a student in the education system. (I’ve been going to school since 1998!) I just can’t shake something: how is it that although prominent psychologists, such as Howard Gardner and Robert Sternberg, have argued that people possess different types of intelligence, and despite that “we all possess different intellectual strengths and weaknesses,” we’re all taught the same way and expected to learn every subject (Lilienfeld et al. 326-28)?

We all have different abilities. For example, some people are quick on their feet such as Serena Williams. Others are quick on their knees like Monica Lewinsky.

Furthermore, why do we still sit down in a classroom to listen to someone talk for 2 to 4 hours, be quiet, then go home or to work and pretend that we absorbed everything that the instructor talked about? While this method of teaching may work for auditory learners, not everyone processes information the same way.

I’ve said it once before, and I’ll say it again: the education system needs to be revamped! It’s about as old as Betty White’s vagina. The only change I have  seen is that students can take courses online. Come on, though. You didn’t see Elizabeth Taylor at 75 wearing a bikini with her tits hanging out. She knew that after so many years it was time to put them away, so why can’t we do the same with our outdated education practices?

Source

Lilienfeld, Scott O., et al. Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc., 2014. Print.

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January 19th, 2015

By Austin B. Hahn

Dear Journal:

I am so pissed off! I have had four days to do my math, and I am still not done. Our instructor told us during the first week of class that we would have to work 10-15 hours each week on math outside of class. Uuummm? What the fuck??? Do you think that I just sit on my ass and masturbate all day? (Okay, I’ll admit that masturbating is probably one of my favorite hobbies that consumes a significant portion of my leisure time), but I still have a fucking life, though. I understand the importance of education and that hours of practice and training are required in order to hone your skills, but this shouldn’t be consuming my life. I don’t live to go to school. I go to school to acquire skills with the hope that one day I will be able to contribute to society. However, I’m convinced that I’m not acquiring those skills. I want to be a politician one day, (which I will discuss later), so how is math relevant to my career field? Oh boy . . . and if I hear one more smart ass remark such as, “You use math everyday,” I am going to go crazier than Bobby Brown on cocaine. I’d rather put a cork in my ass than hear that cliché. “Okay. Tell me. How often do you think I use college level algebra and trigonometry in my daily life?” I rest my case. I am spending HOURS of my life that I won’t ever get back. In addition, considering the fact that I’m not going to use algebra again after I fulfill my math credit requirement, I should be getting paid to take this class because there’s no reason for me to take it. The education system is wasting my time.

I’m quite perturbed by the system’s lack of awareness about how much time and money it robs from today’s youth.

What’s more, if I could buy Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries an hour of marriage for every time I heard the line, “Well, that’s just the way it is,” or, “That’s how the education system is set up,” they would still be married.

The continuation of rotten institutions and outdated systems that no longer serve society are a result of the bandwagon effect.

No one is willing to step up and change the structure of the education system. One could come up with a thousand theories as to why no reform has been made, but that’s not the point.

People my age are graduating with insurmountable debt — nearly $30,000 dollars or more — and they’re entering the job market with skills that employers are not looking for (Bidwell). To any pessimist reading this: I challenge you to find an article that cites test taking as a skill that employers are looking for.

In addition, what angers me even more is that although I will forget almost everything that I studied in algebra and trigonometry a year later, I’m still required to enroll in the course.

While I am aware of the lack of opportunities and education to millions of people in other countries throughout the world, I also advocate for educational reform in the United States. Graduates with bachelor degrees will be unequipped to enter the global market if they’re required to enroll in a broad curriculum and to take courses unrelated to their career paths. I know as a U.S. American that students spend twelve years attending school so they can graduate from high school, then another two years in college getting their general education credits out of the way, and then during the last two years they can finally focus solely on preparing for their jobs. A reform enabling students to spend more time on developing their professional skills and to engage in occupational work experience outside of a classroom must be made. If the U.S. does not implement change, our means of teaching today’s youth will become tomorrow’s joke.

*Please note that MLA citations cannot be properly formatted on a WordPress post.

Work Cited

Bidwell, Allie. “Average Student Loan Debt Approaches $30,000.” U.S. News and World Report. 13 Nov. 2014. Web. 19 Jan. 2015.

The Paradox in the United States: Funding for Education

By Austin B. Hahn

I find the inner conflict between human beings’ needs and wants to be subtly amusing.

Marijuana is now legal in Oregon, the state that I live in, but a measure supporting education didn’t pass in the 2014 general election. I don’t have to cite a statistic to pinpoint the frustrations of young people in higher education today. It’s been talked about, it’s been written in newspaper articles, and it’s been reported on the news. If you’re unaware of the economic and personal burden that college debt imposes, then you have no one to blame but your own ignorance, especially since we’re in the information era.

Getting back to my point, I find it rather pitiful, but psychologically intriguing at the same time, that Oregonian voters would rather pass a ballot measure for marijuana than one supporting education.

I can’t help but wonder why. Are there that many people who feel so compelled to smoke cannabis that they would contend that making education accessible to our youth as a way to invest in our nation’s future is subjective? If so, I would ask, “What would you propose then?” The United States cannot continue to rest on its laurels and pretend that it’s living in the glory days of the industrial age. What’s more, take a look around. As a young adult, I have seen the United States transition from newspapers, cashiers, manufacturing, books, and receptionists to online periodicals, self-checkout machines, engineering, e-books, and automated voice message systems. What was once appropriate for a previous generation is no longer appropriate for today’s generation. How can the United States expect to adjust and keep up with the technological advancements when we don’t support funding for education?

U.S. Americans want to see their country get out of debt and economically prosper; however, they don’t want to implement policies that would benefit the collective whole that might come at their personal expense. Similarly, Oregonians would like schooling to be more affordable, but they would rather smoke their marijuana first.

What is our nation to do in the struggle between individualistic desires and the current sociological context that calls for more collectivistic action? When will we wake the fuck up and realize that the only way to insure the future of our country is through education? We must adopt making education affordable for all citizens into our value system. Until then, we cannot consider our people to be competent in the global market when our education is only accessible to a wealthy minority.

(A response I made after someone reblogged and added a comment to my post):

There might have been a misinterpretation of my point. I’m saying that most people in the U.S. would like education to be more affordable and accessible to everyone regardless of their socioeconomic status. However, there are people that don’t want to make it happen if it comes at their personal expense.