Debacle of American Education
When I was 6 years old and well ahead in academics than my peers, I tried to enter a more advanced grade in a public elementary school. They told me to start from the 1st grade as the only choice - to grind my teeth in lower subjects that I had devoured and spitted out in an earlier age. I was lucky. This denial forced my mother to quit her job and start home schooling. This made us poorer, but it put me well ahead of the regular students.
At 7, I attempted to enter a private school in the 5th grade. They denied my request because the assigned grade teacher did not know as much math as I did. She knew up to algebra, and my understanding was in the pre-calculus level. The pretext for non acceptance was that I would be a disturbing factor to older students. No place to go. Lucky again, I was back to home schooling.
I tried to take some math classes at a Junior College and I was denied by the Dean of Academics. His words: no test, no interview for this kid or any other 7 years old kid. My age hinders his vision. I wanted to enter a University but the cost and the bureaucracy impeded me. I went back to the drawing board.
My perseverance struck gold one year later. I tried at another Junior College and the V.P. of Academics, Dr. Moyers thinking out of the box let me test out. I scored above 41 of the 44 students taking the examination. They were at least 10 years older than I. The ball was put on my hands and I darted with it.
Later, I ran for the Students Union Presidency. The Dean of Students Services did all in her power to defeat my candidacy. She felt that I could not represent the students well because my age. She succeeded in derailing my campaign but the school and education in general suffered a greater defeat. It is better to lose with integrity than win with dishonesty. For being the top student in the graduating class of 2009, I applied for a scholarship. They had $175,000 dollars in scholarships. Politics, patronization and brown-nosing are above students’ work and merit. I was denied. All of these stones and blocks were launched into my path. They led me to be aware of the debacle of the American Education.
The majority of the elementary and high schools put all students in the same box and the speed is guided by the lowest student pace. The policies of being politically correct are not flexible. If you are more advanced than the other students, it is too much trouble or impossible to find you a place where you can flourish because the school does not have the conditions given the lack of teachers, classrooms, money, interest or a ton of other excuses. The tremendous latitude of student's knowledge is ignored. The junior colleges don't care. You must conform. You are tied on the back of a snail with almost no chances to escape. The pen pushers find too much trouble to separate and deal with more advanced students. Most of the bureaucrat administrators make decisions just by looking at the envelope and with no spare time to look at the content inside. The brilliance of the more advanced students start to dim until it disappears into a black hole.
In my case, the officials in charge of the schools looked at me and thought they knew me well and decided the level that I was able to perform. I proved them wrong. I could do it and much more. I just got my A.A. degree with a 4.0 GPA. In my college, out 27,000 plus students (all older than I) just a minority graduate and much less graduate with honors and not even two equaled my GPA. What this young kid did that my older peers are not able to do?
They are taught that a grade C is OK. Work barely to pass will suffice. Cheating is officially sanctioned as in the case of my ASU candidacy. They are taught that those that excel are an exception of the rule just given to genius and gods in the heavens. Hip hop and having a good time are better than books and learning. Dancing, cheerleading, sports are more important than sciences and humanities. We will be a backward nation of athletes and entertainers. Sports and entertainment are good but they should be put behind to scientific knowledge and civility. We should not forget this rule. I was able to compete, win national gold medals in Martial Arts, excel in swimming and participated in some productions even though I put my education first and focused my willpower in learning. Knowledge will hold your hand through out your life and protect you when old age arrives, when the snow invades the top of your head and your bones weaken. Knowledge and Wisdom will help our nation to grow stronger and improve our citizens' lives.
You don't need be a genius. Don't forget that the right potion is hard work and perseverance of focused students combined with caring and hard slog teachers. This is what makes the atomic fuel for a triumphant finish. Lowering standards, not putting the students in the right path, not recognizing, and not helping out the bright students is just half of the debacle. Not making education as a priority in our nation to all ages and conditions is the other half. We are going on the road to be a third rate nation. Wake up America.