Time for some conservatism in school

School systems set up future generation for failure


Jackson Bracknell

Students engaged in active listening during English 12 teacher John Kelly’s 1A Honors class on Dec. 18.

Jackson Bracknell, Editor-in-Chief

Public education systems across America, and closer to home in Virginia, are ill-preparing the upcoming generation for success in the competitive and growing job market.

America was historically known for having the best public schooling system in the world. However, according to rankingamerica.com, the U.S. ranks 14 in education across the world, compared to the previous century when America led the world in education, innovation, and the arts. The public education system is not beyond redemption though. Money flowing into public schooling is often used inappropriately but could be redirected back to more traditional classrooms.

In Virginia Beach, funds which should be invested into fine arts, math and science, and language arts classes are instead often allocated for relatively useless classes, such as teen living, cooking, power and transportation, leadership, and fashion. Students take these classes for a “GPA boost” and serve as a waste of time and money for many involved. All of these classes may be fine at a private school, where tax payer money is not used, but at a public school where funds may be limited, money should be spent for education, not entertainment.

For example, VBCPS offers world-class programs such as IB, Dual Enrollment, Math and Science, Business, Law, and Visual and Performing Arts academies, and more money should be invested into these programs, which prepare Virginia Beach’s brightest students for higher education.

Virginia Beach boasts a school system of happy, well-educated students, but as a student in Virginia Beach, I can tell you first-hand that more than half of students do not value their education.

If the primary objective for a public educational system is to raise and educate kids into young adults, then unfortunately, Virginia Beach, along with other systems across the nation, will fail to raise strong scholars because of education initiatives like the “No Zero Policy” or “No Child Left Behind.” Many students have learned just to quit because of stress or have been encouraged to focus on mindfulness in Advisory Blocks. Other policies like counting homework only 10 percent, no class ranks, and permitting a “phone zone” in the hallways damages students in the long run and make teachers’ jobs even harder. Distractions have created a lack of interest in the traditional classroom.

According to vbcps.com, the reason for the switch to “no class rank” is “to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to be recognized for their individual achievement.”  This same mentality is equivalent to giving everyone on the soccer team a trophy or participation award, with no MVP or Most-Improved; kids are being taught that everyone is special and competition should be discouraged.

Last year, according to respective public school websites, VBCPS worked with a budget of $860 million, compared to Chesapeake Public School’s $480 million. According to their website, and compared to other cities, Virginia Beach does aim to prioritize its schools and children. With best intentions in mind and a relatively large budget, the School Board should stop thinking about progressively changing with the times, stop implementing expensive technology, and start investing money back into classrooms that prepare students for higher education, military, or trade jobs.

As mentioned before, not all hope is lost. The School Board can circle back to accountability. A system should be established where students who do not complete work should be punished, and students who are going above-and-beyond should be rewarded. 

If action is not taken fast, then the dying Greatest Generation (WWII veterans) will be replaced by a generation of soft-minded, physically and emotionally feeble young adults, who will also be our future congressmen, surgeons, pilots, and scientists.