Some schools are great; others aren’t

The following editorial was originally published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Sunday, April 2, 2023 as part of the "Raise Your Hand" column in the Insights section.

Sebastian Rojas

By: Sebastian Rojas, Kailua High School, class of 2024

At its core, education is a variable of location. This is why the problems people face with education are so varied; no two schools work the same or are of the exact same quality. Some people are lucky enough to go to great schools, while others have to fight to get into one of the few good schools around.

In addition, those who move often face problems adjusting from one educational system to another.

As a military kid, I can attest to the difficulty of moving from one school to another. Not only do new students have to get used to living in a new environment, but they also have to adjust to the new educational system.

Many times we have heard the phrase, “you will have learned this last year,” but alas they had not. Time and time again, as required classes change, new students end up having to take classes alongside kids much younger than them in order to catch up.

You are now probably wondering what causes some schools to be so bad. The main problem that other issues sprout from is a lack of funding.

— Sebastian Rojas

But the problems inherent in the school system extend beyond the trouble transferring between schools. Some schools have failed in their goal of providing a baseline education to prepare students for their lives after graduation. These schools called “dropout factories” are found all over the country and have less than a 60% graduation rate.

Living in areas like Baltimore, where 23 schools have no students proficient in math, puts enormous amounts of stress on families to get their children into one of the few good schools. Because the demand for good schools outpaces the supply, many schools have adopted a lottery system. It is a literal lottery for your child’s future.

You are now probably wondering what causes some schools to be so bad. The main problem that other issues sprout from is a lack of funding.

These bad schools do not have the money to get the facilities to properly educate the students using modern technology. Due to this lack of technology and funding, good teachers flee elsewhere, leaving the school with mostly subpar teachers who have nowhere else to go.

First and foremost, in order to improve the American education system, a nationwide standardized public education system should be explored. Under this system, individual schools will still have the flexibility to teach local history and culture.

However, all other subjects should have the classes standardized so as to go over the same topics in the same order.

As for funding, it should be distributed more evenly to all schools, taking into consideration existing school infrastructure and facilities in order to bring all schools up to a new national standard. This equal funding to get all schools up to a national standard stands to be incredibly effective if we all make our voices heard and demand education reform from our lawmakers.

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