Opinion: Why School Does More Harm than Good

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JUSTIN CHANG

The common view is that school is helpful in life, but the reality is that school is mainly a waste of time on and off-campus. In fact, school does not promote the well being of a student — instead, it brings students down in many ways. School discourages learning from mistakes, hurts students with unnecessary stress and teaches students unhealthy lifelong habits. 

When a student studies for a test, their intention is to get a very high score or even get perfect. This is because they want their grades to look solid and even excellent. This is, however, not a good mindset because trying to score high means avoiding mistakes — isn’t the way to learn. Learning from mistakes is how students develop their skills and knowledge overall, according to Medium.

A bad test score indicates that a student is in the process of learning, but in schools today, a bad score is more of a punishment than a lesson to learn from. To minimize this problem, tests should weigh less in the grade book. Students should always be given a chance to retake tests after a teacher has thoroughly gone over it with them, therefore they can learn from the test.

If this change is implemented, students have less pressure to study for tests, aren’t as afraid of making mistakes and learn a lot better than spending one evening cramming for a test.

In addition, school puts a lot of stress on students, not only because of the high stakes testing but also because the amount of daily work students get is overwhelming. As reported in a school survey of students on HS Insider, about 40% of students spend nearly 3 hours of homework per night. Because of the amount of homework given to students per night, this creates a division among privileged and disadvantaged students.

For privileged students, too much homework means less time to refresh their minds with rest, spend time with their family and focus on extracurricular activities. For disadvantaged students who have extra household duties at home or work outside of school, the heavy load of homework is even worse. Work from school only adds to the pressure given to all students, privileged or not.

If a student receives a heavy amount of homework with an addition of high stakes tests to prepare for, they would have to complete all the homework and study for the test. This leads to a really stressful learning environment many students today have to deal with.

An easy way to solve this problem, aside from allowing students to retake tests, is to simply reduce the amount of homework given each day. That way, they wouldn’t be in such a rush to finish heavy loads of homework, allowing more time to focus on other needs outside of school.

Worst yet, the stressful high stakes tests and loads of homework cause students to develop unhealthy habits, such as staying up late and losing sleep.

According to Inside Higher Ed, schools are encouraging kids to develop many unhealthy habits. The lack of sleep due to lots of homework also makes it hard to focus in class, further diminishing learning. As for tests, many students stay up all night studying, which isn’t good for one’s immune system, according to NHS. 

If schools want to help students learn and grow, they should also take their health into consideration.

Students should do most of their work in their long hours in class and be able to receive little to no work off-campus, allowing them time to refresh for the next day of school at home. This will reduce the amount of stress a student has to deal with off-campus and it also may fix bad sleeping habits, allowing students to come to classes well-rested, healthy and truly ready to learn and grow.

Overall, the current school system is very flawed, and it can easily be changed to make the education of students better. Discouraging mistakes is already a huge problem within school and can be changed by having a more lenient grading system where students are given opportunities to learn from them instead of being punished.

Stressful learning environments for students are currently overwhelming and unreasonable, which can be changed by reducing the workload given to students on a daily basis so that students can have more time for other important aspects of their lives outside of school. Finally, schools, as they are today, are stressful and detrimental to the health of the students, and the suggested reforms can help students live healthier lives that also support their learning. 

School is bad for students right now, but it doesn’t need to be. If we can create a healthier learning environment with some simple changes, the school can be a place where students can finally learn and grow.

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