To the Editor:
I want to begin by posing a question: What is the role of education in the lives of young people? Or perhaps it would be better to ask: What role should education play in the lives of young people? Maybe the answer is that education is merely a tool that will help produce more doctors or engineers. This may be true, but they are depressingly unambitious. Education, more than these mundane interpretations allow, is a force of self-actualization and a process by which each generation passes its wisdom to the next.
I say all this because we are failing. By we, I cannot be sure exactly who I mean. It may be a failure of this district or this country. Regardless, I have been disappointed by the education in this district. To be clear, this is not an indictment our teachers, many of whom I hold in the highest regard, or even our administrators; it is an indictment of a system. A system that ostensibly provides an education but then refuses to trust students to use that education. It is a system that restricts freedom in the name of security and stifles intellectual discovery in the name of conformity.
As students, we were often told that we would someday be responsible for the future. Yet, at the high school level, students were limited, in their medium for discussing the world around them, to just a single paper. This paper rarely, or in my memory, never, covered issues of controversy. It was also prohibited for a student to post or distribute any fliers without the administration’s approval. Now more than ever, it is vital that younger generations are able to engage with the concerns of the day. This might mean that schools and their administrators will have to endure frequent and scathing criticisms from their students, but it also might mean that the students start to take responsibility for the condition of their education.
Although they are young, students are capable of great intellectual capacity and will, at some point, be responsible for the decisions that impact all of us. The implications of this span far beyond the walls of Dekalb High School. Do we want to teach students that they cannot be trusted with their own freedom? Or do we want to teach them the potential of learning?
Dekalb High School Class of 2015