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Compulsory Education Standards Hold Children to a Higher Standard Than Adults

Updated on March 22, 2020
Kyler J Falk profile image

School was easy for me, that doesn't mean it was fair or logical all the time.

Totally Fitting

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Growing up I was forced to be an overachiever, even made to abuse prescription medication such as Adderall so that I could stay up all night and study. There were children around me who were made to do the same and sometimes received the beatings that I did when they failed to adhere to an unfair standard set forth by competitive schooling. During the time us children were forced to endure the symptoms of abusive parents sending us to competitive schools, we all would discuss with one another how adults seemed to be held to a lower standard than we were. I'd like to explore that topic today, as it caused many of us long term trauma.

What was your GPA upon graduation of high school?

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The Higher Standards

Where once only privileged children of well-to-do families had a chance for higher-education, while the underprivileged would see themselves working for meager wages in dangerous occupations to help support their families; we now find schooling through high school to be commonplace and even mandatory. I have no complaints with this, but I do have a problem with the workload that most children find themselves struggling with.

When an adult goes to work they usually have multiple bosses and a set workload to be completed within the day, mind you I am talking about the average adult not special cases who work from home or stay at the office for more than twenty-four hours on the clock as these are a minority and marginal statistic. Upon completion of the day, sometimes not even completing the workload, these adults get off work and get to do whatever it is they would like to do and their bosses cannot follow them the rest of the day nor force their workers to stay longer without a mutual agreement in most cases. Usually bi-weekly, the adult can expect to receive pay that will then provide for necessities and luxury based on how much they worked.

An average child goes to school for the same amount of time as the average adult attends work. Their teachers act as bosses ensuring they receive and complete their assigned workload, and at the end of the day send the child home with more work. Sometimes the child is held after school as a punishment against their will, and often times they are not allowed to do any of that extra work they were assigned for home. When they get home their parents act as the bosses in lieu of the teachers, and the workload doesn't end, until the workload eases up, which can mean weeks without a real break. All the while these children do not get paid, but get a letter mark best equated to a biased binary system of pass/fail, or good/bad regardless of actual intelligence and capability. Even when a child gets sick and does not go into school they are expected to do homework, and make up any and everything they miss with no real help from any other student lest they seek to cheat and get in trouble.

These standards are unrealistic, and hold children to a higher standard than the majority of adults.

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Work for the School's Dollar

I'm not one to look down on competitive schooling, but I do look down upon the lack of equity as it concerns forcing children to work harder for no pay than most adults would for pay. Excluding their egregious lack of choice and pay in the matter for the sake of being more concise, I want to focus on the grueling hours many children must work to achieve goals set forth by competitive schools. I'd like to use myself as an example, as I feel like a good point to touch on due to my rank of 16th in my class of 300+ upon graduation.

A class of over three-hundred students isn't much compared to a lot of schools, but when a 3.4 GPA would drop you to around number two-ninety-nine you can see why my pitiful rank of sixteenth is actually quite favorable. I had to, literally, destroy my body to maintain that rank and take college courses on top of my regular high school courses to get there. This would see me staying awake for days on end, mind you I would've slept a few hours but I also wanted time for leisure between my studying. The craziest part is that this sort of behavior was tacitly encouraged despite no real reward for students such as myself.

Where an adult would most often be awarded more pay for doing so much work, the only thing us students received was a number percentage, a letter grade, and either a pat on the back or a verbal lashing; no matter what, however, the amount of work would only increase as we moved to higher grades and more advanced courses. All of this just so our school could boast being number one in the district and get more funding.

The craziest part about all this to me, most disgusting and illogical, would be that we students killed ourselves (some literally committing suicide) just so we could test in a higher bracket. Every time they brought out those stupid standardized tests we would all have the highest testing bracket packets, minus the few underachievers who would be humiliatingly sent to their own special classes to test together. It is pretty easy to be number one in the district when no one else can test in your bracket, and any student who can't keep up either offs themselves or is sent to our "flunky school."

Do you think standardized testing is a good way to measure potential?

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Death by Education

Out of respect for the victims and their families I will not be going into specific details about suicides that occurred in my area, nor at my school, and I would like to ask that you respect my decision to respect the aforementioned individuals and not ask me to expand on this any further than I already am. It is an unfortunate aspect of education within competitive schools that I must discuss, however, because many of you parents need to lighten the heck up. Bad enough is the fact that these children need to go to school and learn compulsory trash they're never going to use again in life, but even worse is you destroying them so they can temporarily excel at them.

Being honest with ourselves we no longer actively use a minimum of fifty percent of the education we received in high school and below. Anyone who is able to argue to the contrary is the marginal outlier whom is not being taken into account for the sake of the majority here, but there you go you have been acknowledged for your self-proclaimed superiority. Yet, we will see kids worked half-to-death or further for the sake of what is deemed "education."

During my time in school I attempted suicide by ingestion of pills, along with two other individuals, due to the push for us to overachieve in our grades and sports. We got a large bag of Xanax bars, agreed this was the last time we'd put up with the nonsense, then saw ourselves arrested a few hours later. The other two were put in the hospital, while I was immediately suspended for five days. One of us three was beaten after he got out of the hospital for the behavior by his step-father, and later tried to kill themselves with an extra load of pills they stashed away in case they failed the first time.

Stop forcing children to excel at what you could barely pass yourself today, it is ignorant, regressive, and damaging to society as a whole.

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One Drop in the Sea of Life

I'm not going to sit here and tell you the solution to this is realizing that education is mostly pointless, for many it is a crucial and integral part of their lives that sees them shot to the highest rungs of success. I will say, however, that education is just one drop in the vast sea of life and there's already enough struggle without you sitting on the back of our children while they try to stay afloat. You wouldn't want to be swimming the oft-stormy seas of life, all the while having weights placed on your shoulders, so why do it to your child?

Ease the heck up and stop having such high standards. The marginal amount of children that go on to receive scholarships, special grants, and become super-geniuses are often the type to self-discipline and be shown love and respect by their parents at home. Rather than push your child to succeed by someone else's standards, teach them the value of pushing yourself and being rewarded for such pushes. There are plenty of people living happy lives while putting the minimal amount of effort, and isn't that the point of life; I would hope that is what you want for your child, to be happy?

Rather than push your child to succeed by someone else's standards, teach them the value of pushing yourself and being rewarded for such pushes.

What does it matter what your child's grades are if they are both happy and passing? If your child is not, well, more often than not we can look at the teachers and parents and see why this is the case. Teachers should strive to make their compulsory topics interesting, coming with a high-energy and unique lessons, all the while parents encourage strong independent behaviors and reward the child for success and comfort them in their time of temporary failure.

Maybe one day we can see compulsory schooling actually teaching life tools, like how to do your taxes, change a tire, buy a home, apply for a loan, create a business plan, and all the other stuff we actually do within the day; until then make sure you are considering what a child is facing while in school and just how unfair it can be.

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    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      10 days ago from Corona, CA

      Thank you, Venkatachari, I one-hundred percent agree with you. Children can overachieve both naturally and comfortably, being depended upon to push themselves, so long as the parents have their own hearts and minds set upon the comfort of the child rather than success at all costs.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      11 days ago from Hyderabad, India

      A good topic, Kyler. I agree with your points. I feel everything as a craze, nowadays, of these parents wanting their children to receive education in famous schools, and take extra coaching classes paying unaffordable payments to the coaching institutions. They are not thinking of the tension and strain undergone by their children at all. A child who is really interested in studies can do it from any normal school and achieve success without the need of those coaching institutions if their parents are always staying with them loving, caring, and guiding them.

    • MitaraN profile image

      Mitara N 

      11 days ago from South Africa

      Definitely, Our kids are the future.

      I for one am always trying to challenge. In this day and age with the amounts charged in schools and their curriculum it should be considered a higher degree equivalent to universities than the standard exemption.

      Like you said, fingers crossed

      Great choice for an article, change has to begin at some point.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      11 days ago from Corona, CA

      Thank you for the input, RoadMonkey, and I agree with you. School is the reason I no longer go to school, despite my love for learning new things and experiencing different perspectives. I just wrote an article with a few true stories inspired by my experiences in college, and it saddens me that I still have no interest in returning to college.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 

      11 days ago

      Totally agree. Children should NOT be pushed to do all this. That is definitely child abuse. My parents wanted us to do well but we were not forced. I was lazy and bored at school and these days, I wouldn't call schooling an "education". It's mainly rote learning. Education is something totally different. These days I love learning - not when I was in school though.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      11 days ago from Corona, CA

      Thank you, Mitara, I know you are the type to lead by example with your children and I'm happy to see parents who care more for their children's happiness than their ability to adhere to societal expectations. I hope we all raise happy, healthy, successful children full of independence and self-confidence. Fingers crossed that the education system comes to its senses in the near future.

    • MitaraN profile image

      Mitara N 

      11 days ago from South Africa

      This is realistically the pressures of society and parents. I agree the equivalence of a child's day at school and working, it's placing much unnecessary pressure to a young mind. It's like a full days job without pay.

      I think we all can relate, as my kids are growing up and the school work load you see is increasing, the teachers just pile things on, where it's sometimes overwhelming.

      At the same time you wonder with the way times have changed, there should be a way to make thing smarter and simpler, by adding pressure as a cherry on the top, is going to e an absolute nightmare, this is where a child spends most of their years growing up.

      As a parent you support, you guide, you need to also feel what they feel, you were there once. Learn from it.

      Thanks for sharing Kyler, excellent article

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      11 days ago from Corona, CA

      @Pamela: Our teachers are on the front-lines, tell her she holds the power to help the kids where they need it most while also adhering to the system set forth for the teachers and students. She has a lot of power for change in her hands! Thank you for reading, and your input!

      @Ruby: Thank you for reading and for the input, if only the situation were taken more seriously and more would reveal their stories. Sadly, most are not taken seriously and even more never get to have light brought to the injustices they suffered. Students, children and adults, deserve more.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      11 days ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a sad reminder that schools need a makeover. When I was in school it wasn't that way. If you did your best that was all that was needed in grade school and high school. I really can't say the same for college, we were forced to learn too quickly. My four years were in nursing school. We learned the basics, but we mostly learned on the job. I feel sorry for children who are going through this. An excellent article of awareness. Thank you.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      11 days ago from Sunny Florida

      I agree with you. I think the school systems have gotten worse in recent years. I thik children need to be children first. My granddaugter is a teacher and she is not happy with the school system either.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      11 days ago from Corona, CA

      I'm very happy to hear that from you, Bill! I've always felt school would serve society better if we taught the skills that would be most useful to society first, then moved on to those "higher" topics of education as compulsory. Thank you so much for your input!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I was a teacher for nineteen years and I totally agree with you. School is an antiquated system, it does not work properly for all children, and too much emphasis is put on it. Children need to be children, first and foremost, and then they need to learn social skills and practical lessons about life....then we can get to Algebra! :)

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      11 days ago from Corona, CA

      Thank you, Lorna, and wonderful input that asks that ultimate question, "At what cost?"

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      12 days ago

      You have to wonder when do they get to be children. I think society also plays a part as unless you have a degree it is almost impossible to find a well paid job. I do believe in higher education, however, not at the risk of children's health or sadly their lives. There is a similar system to this in Japan where children as young as 12 go to school all day and then well into the evening. Very often it is more about allowing the school to achieve a higher ranking, than the wellbeing of the child. As usual it all comes down to money, but at what cost. An excellent article Kyler.

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