This I Believe

Alexander - Buda, Texas
Entered on September 8, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

From amongst the clutter of images, ideals, and memories that occupies the limitless space of my mind, one notion is burned into my brain: knowledge is power.

Just think about it. The government is constantly raising the standards for education. Just a few years ago, the college board removed the analogy portion of the SATs and replaced it with an essay section. The college board has also raised the “perfect score” from 1600 to 2400, with the essay counting for a large portion of the score. Colleges don’t just want kids who are book smart, but kids who are articulate writers as well.

In the state of Texas, the schools focus much of their energy on preparing students to take, and pass, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, commonly referred to as the TAKS test. Throughout much of the year, teachers of core classes, (math, science, social studies, and English language arts), deviate from their original lesson plans to teach students the material most likely to appear on the TAKS test. And to check on our progress in each area of the TAKS test, we take benchmark exams sprinkled throughout the school year. If your performance on the benchmark exams aren’t up to state expectations, the school removes you from an elective class to make you take a TAKS tutorial class, so that hopefully, when the time comes to take the TAKS you will be able to pass. Every year, however, the TAKS gets harder and harder to pass. It seems the government does this to really make students experts at taking standardized tests, or maybe there is another reason. Although being placed in a TAKS tutorial class is pretty bad, possibly the worst consequence for failing TAKS is that the school keeps you from graduating until you can pass, which puts pressure on the students to learn the material and do well on the TAKS.

Out in the “real world”, you’ll find that the majority of jobs require a degree in some form or another. You may also notice that you may need a four year degree to do a job that ten years ago only required a high school diploma. Due to this push toward a higher educated society, I’d like to give you a piece of advice: Educate your mind! If you are still in school, don’t blow off your work. It may seem like a waste of time now and you may not care about your grades, but if you desire or plan to go to college they really do matter. You will find that as you send in applications to colleges, they will not accept you if your grades are poor. Plus, if you do the work you will actually learn something and may be eligible for scholarships if you keep your grades up. For those who are post graduates but did not go to college, I have this to say: Take a chance and go! It’s never too late to learn. Take a course at your local community college and see how things go from there. You will never know what you are capable of unless you try.

Whatever your ambitions, whether it be money or helping others, knowledge will lead you on your way. Educate your mind, because knowledge is power.