Photo by Dillon Ivory featuring Ashley Ballard for Mad Sounds Magazine Issue 20
Education: what is it good for? Absolutely everything. School has become a necessary and normal aspect of every American’s life, which makes it easy for us to forget how lucky we are to receive free and mandatory education.
A prominent running joke among young people now and decades past is to complain about how much school sucks, to the point where we have built this whole culture towards education. We applaud our friends for doing the bare minimum and still passing a class, remaining constantly unengaged with our teachers is socially acceptable, and ditching school is almost encouraged by some of our peers. I’m guilty of nearly all of these, but now that I’m approaching the last half of my senior year, I realize how much I’ve been given and how little I’ve acknowledged its importance.
Of course there are flaws with our education system, that’s a given. But this is just another reason to help people understand that our country, society and communities couldn’t function the way they do without it. We always need to be improving upon it. If students approach the keys to their future with a willing attitude, there are very few things that can’t be accomplished.
High school is sold to many middle class kids as the roadmap to college. Some people want to take different paths after they graduate, but the usual expectation is we’ll leave our home town and go to a four-year. In October of 2014, over 65 percent of American high school graduates went on to attend college. In the country of Ghana, less than 50 percent even made it past the fifth grade. Education is put on the back-burner in many impoverished countries due to a need for higher priorities. These kids are born in to a world of back-breaking work and sacrifice that they will most likely never make it out due to their circumstances. We are born in to a world where we are not only encouraged, but pushed to achieve our highest goals. Taking that for granted is foolish, but today it’s just expected from the average student.
From the day we start preschool until the day we finish college, we are spoon fed knowledge from people who have dedicated their entire careers to helping us obtain as much knowledge and life skill possible. We truly don’t know how good we have it. I can’t even wrap my head around what it would be like to have never had an education, and that nativity means I can’t do this issue justice. In such a materialistic world it’s very easy to avoid acknowledging our own privilege. I hope our generation can learn to appreciate something so precious a little bit more.