Everyone recognizes there is a problem with education. It is one of the few topics actually discussed at college. There is the government (meaning how to make it a bigger welfare state), how to protect the environment, why people suck (which includes racism, prejudice, selfishness, all that stuff), and why education sucks. Unfortunately, no one really has the slightest clue why education is poor. They just point to statistics of drop out rates, graduation rates, SAT scores and say, "See, they are low; therefore, education in this country is poor." Of course, they always follow up with the statistics from Europe and Asia and say, "See, education there is great." However, these individuals do not realize that the statistics really have nothing to do with whether the education in one particular place or another is good or bad. The real mark of good education is if it ignites the desire to learn. This means that the students must actually want to learn, voluntarily educate themselves, and are learning what they want to learn.
Therefore, while others say education is poor because of lackluster statistics, I say education is poor because it is boring and supported by violence. Simply look at all education prior to college. However, do not count pre-school or kindergarten. I do not remember those periods very well, but the little parts are do remember are distinctly different from the other periods. In those two periods I remember sitting on the floor with toys or coloring. From first grade to twelfth grade, however, I remember sitting in rows with thirty other students, all facing the same way, staring at someone talk to me for about fifty minutes. After fifty minutes I and all other other students would get up, go to another room, and repeat the process roughly six times a day, five days a week. This is utterly boring. The emotions I associate with my school years are a feeling of physical sickness (like I actually wanted to vomit all the time), incredibly tired, really freaking warm (like unbearably warm like I was cooking), anger, hatred, self-loathing. As far as I recall, first grade to twelfth grade was infinitely worse than college.
The best example that captures how awful that period of education is comes from an experience in my seventh grade geography class. On an unrelated tangent my teacher stated something like, "These are the best years of your life. You are having the most fun now." I then turned to the student sitting to my left and said something to the effect of, "That is the most retarded thing I ever heard." The student then replied with something like, "Yeah, if that's true, I am just going to kill myself right now."
Education is not fun, it is boring and horrible, even though it should be fun. The fact is, education, meaning learning new things, is incredibly enjoyable. When I learn something new it is like the sunlight hits me in the face. I have those incredible ah-ha moments. However, I experienced this very rarely in my formal education. Furthermore, I actually went to a private school, which is supposed to be better than public school. If that is true, public school must be awful.
I think the two biggest reasons why education is so boring is because the students do not actually get to do anything, and because students are learning about topics they do not care about.
Another problem with education is that the majority of it is public. Therefore, the state sets the curriculum. If the state has no idea how to run a business and has no authority to run a business, the same applies to education. It is a business like anything else. Better learning environments are created, when schools can compete against one another in the free market. Furthermore, since the state controls the schools, the state puts an emphasis on math, science, and conformity. Through schools the state tries to create students who will serve the interests of the states. The goal is not to provide the best place for customers to learn. The goal is to create future leaders and future civil servants. It should not be that much of a stretch to understand, since those exact lines, "future leaders" "future community leaders" "future civil servants", are actually used.
The worst problem with education, however, is how it is presented. Teachers argue that high school prepares one for college, and college prepares one for a life and a career. Therefore, high school must be somewhat related to life and careers. As education stands now, this is completely false. However, this is how it is presented, and this is what students assume. Thus, students also assume that since high school is horrible, their lives and careers will also be horrible.
Unfortunately, college essentially follows the same blue print as high school. The only differences are there are fewer classes, few assignments, more time, and more independence. Yet, classes are still forced upon individuals, and they use the same boring standard.
There is only one defense for any of this. There is the defense for general education requirements. Allegedly they make someone a well rounded person, which is allegedly good. I do not buy it. If someone does not want to learn something, there is no reason for him to learn it. Well rounded individuals are no better than others, especially if they are unhappy. Furthermore, well rounded individuals know only a little about several topics. While a skilled individual knows much about one topic. From a practical perspective the skilled individual seems more equipped then the well rounded one.