The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

April 3, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Thursday, April 3, 2014

A student’s random thoughts on school

As a current student of Woodrow Wilson High School, I can tell you the specifics of chemical equilibrium and explain the normal force. Still, this doesn’t mean that our county, state and even national educational system is entirely focused on STEM.

These critics say this knowledge is being “forced” downs our throats. I am here to contend that this is absolutely not the case. The humanities are not a lost cause in Raleigh County.

Woodrow has no doubt excelled in STEM-orientated competitions, but these achievements are only a small fraction of my school. In the past year alone, we had a Top 5 finisher in the recent state “Poetry Out Loud” competition, organized a Model United Nations and expanded our school’s AP program in the sciences as well as social studies.

On the county level, in the past two years, local high schools have sent teams to the national “We the People Competition,” a civics competition. As a result, I find it difficult to say we are “choking” the humanities out of our community.

I must admit that my school does not offer a Neo-Victorian philosophy class or a German macroeconomics seminar. But honestly, who does? We do not go to Stuyvesant High School or even George Washington High School, but frankly, I wouldn’t want to. We have our own proud community with our own talents and challenges. So, before we criticize our school system for its lack of a “diverse” course offering, let’s commend them for the achievements we do have.

Who were Niccolo Machiavelli and John Stuart Mill? What is the role of the Federal Reserve? How does realism differ from liberalism? These are all excellent and pertinent questions, but they could have been easily answered by the click of the mouse or the opening of a textbook.

Some might say that this knowledge should be required. Knowledge is not forced, it is learned. The inquisitive mind drives society. Thus, the question should not be “Why wasn’t I taught this?” it should be “Why didn’t I learn this myself?”

Of course, I do not contest the fact that there are flaws in our education system. These problems however do not lie with the administration and teachers, but the system’s focus on the students. How are we supposed to offer a philosophy class when only a couple students request it? In that sense, people should stop telling us “what we should do” but instead show “how to do it.”

Anyway, “What do I know?” I never took an ethics class in high school or had a Hoya’s civic education.

Aniket Zinzuwadia

Beckley

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