My View on The American Education System and How to Fix It

Schools are designed to teach America’s youth and develop us into functioning members of society. Yet, when we graduate, we know that the mitochondria is the power house of the cell, but we do not how to apply for loans, how to save money on taxes, or other practical skills. In this passion-inspired post I will focus on three main points, i.) how our school lunch program needs to be improved, ii.) why developing brains cells is important, but is being done the wrong way, and iii) why required classes are limiting our knowledge and potential.

At my school, if you go to lunch and pick out a pizza, water, cookie, and yogurt you will be set back $7.50. This sounds quite over the top for a school lunch and here’s why; kids in affluent families must pay more for their food than other kids on reduced or free lunches because they need to make up the money to pay for those programs. If prices reflected the school’s actual cost, the school would have to cover their losses on free or reduced programs by taking money from their Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding. In doing this they would reduce the money allocated for such things as new supplies and teachers salaries, which are expenses they cannot raise with bonds paid for by the taxpayers. So the school is stuck with over-charging kids who can afford lunch to make up deficits caused by free or reduced programs. After thinking about this for awhile I came up with a solution; privatize the lunch programs!

My Idea is as follows:

  1. Schools will first have to come up with how many kids will be on free or reduced lunches and find out how much money in profit they will need to keep these programs running.
  2. In a school with, for example, five lines in the cafeteria, set aside three of those lines to local and chain food providers who act as private concessionaires, and use the remaining two to sell food to free or reduced program members only.  Let the private vendors charge the students directly and lease the lines from the school.
  3. Use the calculation from step one and determine your lease charges with the vendors and you will have successfully fixed school lunch forever!

This is my idea on how to fix the school lunch epidemic. It will provide less expensive (and tastier) food to paying students while at the same time stimulating local businesses and paying for free and reduced lunch programs.

Math is a very essential basic skill all humans must learn to be successful in life. However, the method in which math is taught in our high schools is ridiculous. We are taught to remember formulas and have specific steps to solve problems. This doesn’t help us. According to a study by University of Georgia, what we need to succeed is, “to find solutions to problems without assistance”. They also said that “independent thinking builds neurons 3x faster than any other exercise”. In other words, we need more thought-based learning of math rather than simply memorizing formulas, and then apply them to real world situations.  If we have curriculums designed to meet these kinds of criteria instead of what we have now, our future generations will be more self sufficient and be able to come up with new solutions to problems.

Lastly, in modern education we have required core classes. This is a horrid idea! In today’s schools we have to take a certain amount of classes to graduate and are left with little remaining room to take unique classes. In high school we take four years of math, science, and English, and three years of history. Yet, we only have half a year of economics and government. This is where we fail! Kids coming out of school know more about photosynthesis than how a bill becomes law. Now don’t get me wrong. If you want to pursue science, that is a great idea but for the vast majority of students it is un-beneficial and pointless. Through middle school we already learned all of the basics of science, math, history, and english. Instead we need longer economics and government classes that explain such things as taxes, our social security system and how we elect our representatives. If we had classes similar to these and others, like different types of journalism and business classes along with health and construction classes, our economy would be thriving with kids who identify their passions early on and have the knowledge to successfully expose them. Doing this would eliminate the current problem of students having trouble finding jobs after college and would bolster the American working force as one of the best in the world. If we simply throw out required classes and let students choose what they want, we will have an entire new American. A great, self-sufficient America.

All in all, if we as Americans fight to improve our lunch programs, teach problem solving the right way, and be done with required classes we will have a bright future filled with possibility.


Patrick Englehart