Education is stagnant. Textbooks confine knowledge to a preordained set of key ideas. Information, however, is not stagnant. It is ever-changing and far more interesting than the classroom lets on.
There needs to be room in the school environment for modern-day advancements and developments. Do not misunderstand my meaning, there is always a place for theory to create a firm basis of comprehension. But, after a student has a firm grasp, a deeper understanding of the “outside world” needs to be fostered.
Very recently, I spent time on YouTube and Reddit trying to discover more about bitcoin—a digital currency that some say will revolutionize modern currency markets. I am captivated with an explanation which analogizes bitcoin to a gold mine. “Once the gold on the surface was all cleared out and the rock got a little bit harder to dig into, the first people to get shovels and pick axes probably still found it pretty easy to get the gold.” The explanation continued in simple language that most high schoolers could undoubtedly understand, despite the fact that bitcoin is an extremely nuanced and readily-evolving currency unit.
While I am not discouraging outside learning—I am strongly in favor of it—I am disappointed that I have not discovered bitcoin in any of my education in high school (it has been around since 2008). Teachers often find themselves confined to a textbook and a predetermined curriculum and rarely deviate. While bitcoin is complex—it can be explained in relatively easy terms, as proven by the Reddit commenter.
Students thirst for something new, something different. While topics like price points and hyperinflation serve their role, there also needs to be a place for current events. High school is the launching pad for the next generation of citizens—and (hopefully) educated voters. Students should have a knowledge that is more catholic than theory.
Most of my senior class is of voting age already. In fact, Miami-Dade County will soon have a vote to determine whether Sun Life Stadium will receive renovations using the tourist tax (This vote was just taken off the table about a week before it was to be voted on). I could count the amount of seniors who know about this vote using only one hand. As newly-tapped voters, we should be zealous. Antsy to place our first ballot, even if it not a Presidential one. While we are still in high school, seniors need to be educated on local issues as well. It will make us well-informed citizens as well as well-prepared for college.
The reason why high school (in general) loses the interest of many students is because of the banality. Year after year, students are subjected to memorizing the equation for the circumference of a circle or the emperors of the Tang Dynasty in Ancient China. However, most education beyond that takes place outside of the classroom—if it happens at all.
I am fortunate enough to be a relatively determined and intellectual student, so I have a passion to learn beyond what is presented to me in the classroom. I cannot say the same for most of my peers. I am disappointed and discouraged by this, but I am optimistic because this it not hopeless. Education needs reform and pragmatism is at its core.