Author- William Baumgarth
I am a product of public education. I’ve attended public school from the time I was six until I was eighteen. I understand that people’s experiences differ and that’s why it’s important to keep into account that I’m writing this article based on my personal experience and observations.
First of all, the public school system severely under-taught. I was doing common core methods of adding, subtracting, and multiplying from the age of six until I was twelve. The common core methods of arithmetic often involved extra steps, and confusing processes such as drawing boxes and circling numbers. These methods were so confusing and complicated that my mother told me to ignore the common core methods, and taught me instead. By the time I had reached fourth grade I was still doing common core multiplication and division. My mother, fed up at this point, pulled out an algebra book, and by the end of the year I was able to solve equations with unknown variables.
Flash forward four years to the eighth grade, and I was hated by my teachers and administrators. They claimed that I was trouble, and even suggested to my mother that I should be placed in a special education program. In reality, I was getting the highest marks on tests and quizzes, but I would never do a homework assignment. I was completely unchallenged by eighth grade, and it probably pissed my teachers off knowing that I really wasn’t gaining anything from their classes. I finished the eighth grade with the highest grade on the high-school level state standardized examination in Biology.
The trouble did not stay in middle school. When I was in the ninth grade, I was having an allergy attack in my latin class. My teacher then decided to spray my face with lysol, while she muttered “quarantine.” I later told my parents about the event that had taken place. They went to the school the following day. In the office were my parents, the principal, advisor, and the teacher. The principal, teacher, and advisor were begging my parents not to press charges. The teacher started crying, and my mother (gooey on the inside), forgave what she thought to be a poor demented woman. My dad wanted at least a letter in the teacher’s file, however, the principal said that if he were to put a letter in the file they would have to fire the teacher. Nothing ever came out of this situation, I had to stay in the teacher’s class. That’s when my teachers inappropriate behavior continued to manifest itself. I was fed up, so one day I went to my advisor and said that I wanted to take action against the teacher. The advisor told me “the past is the past, what will getting her fired fix.”
But nothing was quite as great as when I figured out that there was a grammar section on my SAT. I never learned grammar in all of my twelve years of public education. Not in first grade, and not in twelfth. It was that moment that I knew it would be impossible for me to get an exceptional grade. How could I? I was put into the public education system to fail, not to succeed. The people who were going to receive the high grade had SAT tutors since they were in the tenth grade. Their parents knew how the system worked, they knew that their children were never going to be taught anything at school.
I left high school thinking that I was nothing short of an educated genius. I thought that nobody could write an essay like I could. That was until I got into college. My first paper received a grade of “B-,” but why? Well first of all I was referring to single persons as “they,” a mistake that was never corrected in high school, and second because I was writing essays that could only have got you a good score on the standardized state exams. My high school education wasn’t meant to improve my human capital, instead it was meant to get teachers good scores on the state exams.
Right now, I’m content. I’m studying hard, and I love doing academic work. I find all of my classes interesting, and have a passion to create. A newly discovered passion that I could have had all my life.