This I Believe

Claire - Sacramento, California
Entered on June 5, 2007

Not Just Another Linoleum Tile

The absorption of facts, rules, laws, dates, names, and theories do not form a complete education. Knowing how to write in iambic pentameter is not understanding the genius of Shakespeare, just as the ability to plug in values for e=mc² does not scratch the surface of Einstein’s wisdom.

Education today is shallow; it is a half hearted swing at the infinite knowledge that the world has to offer. I believe a full and complete education requires humility and the unending search for the truth. Education has become homogenized to a point where test scores dictate who we are and what we can or cannot aspire to be. Knowledge and education have become two separate entities, I believe knowledge is what we should be measured by not our ability to conform.

I believe that life should be a quest for knowledge and wisdom, and should shun ignorance and hate. This journey for knowledge includes traveling to other countries, and other cultures, in search of understanding.

This is a belief that I have held for most of my life. In kindergarten I was asked to tell my teacher, Mrs. Washburn, what I wanted to be when I grew up. While other students relayed their dreams of becoming firefighters, doctors, and the occasional Power Ranger, I told her I wanted to be a world traveler. Today, this belief in gathering all the knowledge that the world has to offer has guided me towards the goal of a career as a foreign correspondent.

The search for truth and understanding should be the driving force in education. I believe this should be the goal of the education system; to encourage students to absorb knowledge through experience, discussion, and creativity. Busy work and other excessive meaningless work, does not add to a person’s character nor does it broaden their view of the world around them.

The people who score the highest on tests and have the highest GPAs are not necessarily the most enlightened or knowledgeable individuals, just as the students with a low GPA and low test scores may be infinitely better versed in what this world has to offer outside of the stuffy linoleum clad classrooms their peers conform to.

I believe education should value the individual and realize that each person has something new and different to offer. We cannot all fit in one category because we are all human therefore no two are the same. I believe education should strive to fit each individual, and should value what each individual holds to be true.

But of course the system cannot force a person to learn, one must take their own search for knowledge unto themselves and experience life for what it truly is because life is not to be lived in a beige box. I believe the expansion of knowledge, creativity, beliefs, and understanding can only be achieved through first hand experience and cannot be taught by any lesson or curriculum in today’s education system. It is this that I believe.