Open Letter to Education System

Junior speaks on stress, failure caused by school

To the education system,

I just have one question.


My question applies to a lot of things. When did assigning a plethora of assignments amount to students acquiring a plethora of knowledge? When did handing a textbook to a student and telling them to “learn” become sufficient? When did the letter ‘A’ become the only acceptable letter in the alphabet in terms of grades?

I think about these questions all the time.

I’m a junior in high school. Another synonym for ‘high school junior’ is ‘experiencing the worst year of my life’. It’s the year when a student has the option to take as many Advanced Placement and Dual Credit classes as they please. It’s that awkward year when a student doesn’t know if he or she wants to be 25 already or five all over again.

It’s ironic, actually. It’s ironic how the infamous ‘worst year ever’ academically is such a pivotal time in the development of young adults, the future generation of leaders, and functioning adults.

Is that ever taken into consideration? Is the actual student behind the GPA ever taken into consideration?

I struggle getting out of my car in the school parking lot every morning. I always try to push back the time I walk in the entrance to 7:05 a.m., 7:06 a.m., 7:07 a.m. It’s worth it too. It’s one more minute I don’t feel like I’m set up to fail. Your system enables concepts to be thrown in my lap and for teachers to tell me to, “Do it”. Most of the time, I end up doing work on subjects I don’t fully understand so I don’t disappoint. Every day, I’m left with the choice of whether I should put emphasis on the rigorous curriculum or the mountain of rigorous assignments.

Is this what learning is supposed to be?

When I was younger, I took pride in my knowledge. Showing off all the sight words I knew and counting to 100 was a norm for me. But now, learning seems like a burden. Learning represents another topic I’ll have to do a project or essay over.

Is this learning at all?

Classes have turned into a checklist – AP English, AP Chemistry, AP History and more. All classes the system peer pressures me to take if ‘college is in my view’ or if I want to move up in class ranking. Instead of preparing me for the next stage of my academic career, it’s teaching me I have to put my personal needs aside so I can turn in all my meticulous work by 11:59 p.m. I could be drowning in anxiety or emotional issues, and your system only throws me a lifejacket just to make sure my MLA formatted essay is turned in. My brain needs time. It needs time to breathe.

Am I even seen as a student, or am I just another name to assign a grade to?

Put me, the student, first. Stop teaching me the product comes before the process.

-A High School Student