A Sixpence for Education

Despite being born in 1994, I genuinely feel I am a ’90s child — meaning I grew up with Pokemon, decent cartoons on Nickelodeon, keeping my door unlocked at night, and the freedom to express myself through Myspace, regardless of my adolescent worries of why the hell my breasts were growing so rapidly. I grew up with an eager need to learn, no matter where my material came from. It was in school, though, that I was finally able to grab hold of who I was becoming and who I intended to be. It’s with an ache in my heart that I have observed and personally been affected by how the United States’ public education is being chewed and spit back up without any care in the world.

Recess during elementary school happens to harbor some of the fondest memories of my entire academic career, which comes to no surprise, considering how important studies have shown the ten to fifteen minutes a day can be. Now, recess is quickly being eliminated at a rapid pace due to the idea of that measly quarter of an hour being spent doing something “more educational.”

The deterioration of public education obviously comes down to much more than the loss of recess. It ranges from the elementary level to college institutions, with an array of issues exponentially growing into something that will eventually become unrecognizable. Whether it be anywhere from school lunches, the crises of bullying, the debt of college graduates, or the decline of state and federal funding, it’s near impossible to ignore the struggles that students and faculty are dealing with all around America.

As much as I could linger on and on about what’s going wrong from a general perspective, I’m becoming more concerned with what’s actually happening in the classrooms, considering that’s where the minds of today’s youth are born and progressively nurtured. There are many unkind words I could direct toward the officials that are interested in removing the arts, but I’ll save that liberal rant for Tumblr. I’m more interested in bringing into attention the bent-over skeletons in Republican candidate Rick Santorum‘s closet (oh, the irony).

From an unbiased point of view, it’s completely possible that the Santorum Amendment in no way meant to imply that intelligent design should be taught in public science classes — but let’s be serious for a moment. Santorum is notorious for his ideas that the Christian God should, and most certainly will be, a prominent figure in his political career, decisions, and guiding of America should he be elected (I could barely stand typing that). With this in mind, we can safely say that although it wasn’t explicitly stated, if Santorum had his way, evolution would be dropped and creationism would be the prominent ideology in public schools. It sincerely frightens me that the set-in-stone ideas of a few old, white men in highchairs could declare what is taught to the entirety of the younger generations to come.

While public education is attempting to overcome being stifled and silenced by officials interested in nothing more than bulging pockets (of money or whatever else have you will), teachers and students are beginning to have to worry about what they will have the legal right to respectfully teach and be taught.  This is where it’s time for the line to finally be drawn, especially since whether or not creationism is taught in schools does not even affect the officials — it affects the developing minds of millions of impressionable students who have no other way to learn and no other voice to be heard.

It’s no secret that public education is gradually becoming an ill-humored joke. It has gone beyond having the time to sit still and say it will pass; it has come to taking the future in the palms of our hands and molding it into something we’ll be proud of — otherwise, we’ll be drowning in the potential that we once had and suffocating in the oppression we let consume us.

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Image: Prayer by Graur Razvan Ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net