The anthropocene of school



Edmond North Hallway

The history of school is a very complex and sometimes difficult concept to follow. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, European economies needed a reliable, reproducible, and uniform workforce, which later led to the growth and production of “normal school,” based on the French école normale: the reform movements in education introduced ideas of equality, child-centered learning, and other ideas that helped create educational opportunities for teachers and students, so they could better serve all children, not just the rich or elite. 

Going back to look at the evolution of school can help better understand the complexity of the value and importance of school. Children in Rome had an education heavily influenced by the Greeks, with the ability to read, write, and study other concepts. Latin was a big part of their educational system, mostly taught in Roman grammar schools, it was a staple to the curriculum. In the mid-1930s, the enrollment rate of Latin rose to about 900,000. It was one of the only languages that were required to get into college. Eventually Latin was less relevant in the United States and Spanish was much more common to learn in schools. Even the things learned today were ideals thought of in the past: literature, history, math, music, and dialectics. We often see Spanish and Latin taught in high schools and sometimes middle school. Harvard was the first colonial college, which was established in 1636 to prepare ministers, followed by other colonial colleges including Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, and Brown. 

Schools have a wide range of skills that are taught. Schools work on critical thinking skills, which are vital in the workforce and life. It helps with making logical decisions and interacting with people, which is also beneficial to time management and boosting creativity. The way we learn and the types of school or education available varies; auditory, visual, and hands-on learning education is a simple way to break down the access to education and school. 

Mrs. Walls, an English teacher at Edmond North, talks about one thing she would change about the school system. “It [should] be designed for more individualized learning…and of course, a big PAY RAISE for teachers because we are the hardest workers around!” Walls said.

Schools are one size fits all. It goes too fast for the struggling students, and it goes too slow for the students who already know and understand the material. Therefore, teachers are forced to teach at an average pace, which is very difficult to balance; however, teachers are severely undervalued and underpaid.

Vincent Keith, a student at Edmond North High School, brings light to the issues they face at school, and it is often ignored. Teachers tend to ignore bullying and rude remarks as they are less concerned about other students than their own control over the classroom. Many students are also targeted for their bad grades. A lot of comparison of grades happens between friend groups that can create a divide and tension. Leading students to feel alone when other factors are in place like test anxiety, reading at a slower rate, and having strong suits in some areas opposite of their friends. 

“Lots of generally rude people, and the grading system is a poor method of measuring intelligence,” Vincent said. 

The concept of a grading system in school brings a lot of stress and takes away from the importance of education. When using a grading system, students care more about passing using methods such as cheating rather than taking time to really comprehend and learn more knowledge from the class. This creates stressed-out and anxious students.

There have been a lot of things about school changes. There are still desks and teachers, but instead of natural light, it is artificial. The school times were extended, but we still get summers off for farmers. Instead of physical textbooks, there are technology-based materials. Some cultural and timely aspects have changed education; however, there is still a barrier that needs to be crossed. Teachers are the most important aspect of school; however, the value of teachers has shifted and they become the most underrated and underappreciated part of schools.

For comments, questions, or concerns email Shadow Bennett at [email protected]