A shared experience for many in our generation was the highs and lows of K-12 education, whether it was the wacky school lunches or the terror of looming tests. These experiences shaped us, which is the purpose of education. In fact, that is the purpose of schools. Schools are intended to mold the minds of youth and turn them into good citizens. Despite this well-intentioned and lofty goal, our current educational system has resulted in indoctrination rather than education in many cases, where students are taught to be obedient, unthinking cogs in the machine. We must fundamentally change that so as to promote creativity.
The average start time for classes is around 7-8:30 a.m. in most cases. This is mainly done to line up with parents leaving for work at that time, but it certainly doesn’t help the often sleep-deprived kids. This poor start to the day hurts the prospects of the rest of the day and almost certainly inhibits the natural energy of kids. After classes start, students are told they must sit for hours at a time, which leads many students to exhibit behaviors considered problematic in class (fidgeting). They are often told to knock off these natural urges and inclinations. These students can be misdiagnosed with disorders like ADHD or autism, often resulting in medication.
Recess is often a very short 5- to 15-minute period, followed by a lunchtime of about 20-30 minutes. These times are some of the most important for students, allowing them to discuss and socialize with each other, but are often cut short in favor of more class time. Students need to socialize with others, otherwise, it will create a scenario where people feel isolated and alone. This can create a culture where people do not feel comfortable, the sense of belonging in the community is gone.
In order to be more conducive to students, I would propose the following: moving the school start time to something around 9-9:30 a.m., allowing students a full and thorough rest. Focus more on a general course rather than prioritizing things that will show up on state-mandated tests. Make schools a place of communication wherein students are sharing ideas and creating a community. These are some of the many steps we must take to aid our students and put them on the path to success.
Ryan Hurley is a junior in marketing and the president of Iowa State College Republicans.