I Believe in Educational Apathy

John - Hoover, Alabama
Entered on May 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Today’s school system forces people to obsess over grades. Well, most people anyways. I personally see no reason to do so, but I’ll get to that later. For now, I’ll just start from the beginning. I am a 17-year old student in Birmingham, Alabama. I have had several great adult influences in my life, such as teachers, pastors, parents, and other well-respected people. And all my life I’ve heard them say that whatever I do when I grow up, I shouldn’t do it for the money, because money isn’t worth everything, and some of them will go so far as to say that money isn’t anything.

But those same people have also told me to keep my grades up. I have recently began to wonder: “Why?” The answer is always the same; I need good grades to get into a good college. But what is a “good” college, and why would I want to go to one? A good college usually means a more challenging, and therefore a more time-consuming college. And what is the purpose of going to one of these more demanding universities? To get a “good” job. And what is a “good” job? Simple: a job with a high salary.

So, when I put it all together , I come to the conclusion that the whole point of trying hard in school is to set myself up for some cash in the future. And if all of the adult influences in my life tell me not to live for money, then why do they tell me to keep my grades up? Why do I have to go to school for 7 hours a day, then come home and do at least an hour of homework, when it goes against every life lesson that I’m being told?

I have heard some people argue that an education will enable me to one day improve the earth. What do they mean by “improve” the Earth? It seems like anyone that has supposedly “improved the earth” in the past has simply made it easier for people to be lazy. Someone invented the car, so people could just lightly press a pedal and go for as long as they like without walking a single step. Someone invented the computer, which does all kinds of work that people don’t feel like doing. Someone invented the vacuum cleaner, telephone, etc… which all had similar effects. And I’ve also heard that the world can be reformed through politics. However, politicians are generally disliked, almost never trusted, and with the way our country’s political system works, it seems very unlikely that one person could change much of anything.

I’m not writing this because I’m mad at the school system or anything like that. I actually make decent grades (I have a 4.0). I really just wish that someone would explain to me why I should make good grades, and that they would not contradict themselves in their answer. My name is John, and, until further notice, I believe in educational apathy.