Broken Education Systems Costs Me My Future

My name is Hawk, (not my real name) and I am a student. I go to University of Phoenix, which while it does have a brick and mortar campus in Arizona, is primarily an online school. I chose this school because they seemed to be the best fit for me. I work full time, between 45 and 50 hours a week, take enough classes at an accelerated rate to be considered a full time student, and I also deal with daily life.
With University of Phoenix, your Associate’s degree classes are 9 weeks long, much shorter than the traditional semester- or year-long classes at a brick and mortar school, and you take them two at a time. You have to keep a C average, which is a GPA of 2.0. When you finish, you are offered the chance to walk with a graduating class, in your area. Then when you go for your Bachelor’s degree, you take the classes one at a time, but they are only 5 weeks long.

I chose University of Phoenix because when I began looking for an online school that could accommodate me working full time, they were the only ones who seemed to offer me the chance to finish my degree(s) quickly. They also were the best at talking people into things. I didn’t have enough information on how student loans would work, how to look for and apply for grants and scholarships, nor did I know that when I am done with all of my schooling, I’ll be about 60K in the hole.
This includes paying back loans, paying anything my loans and grants don’t cover, and for all the programs, and books I have to buy. I was told when I signed up that all my books for all of my classes would be included as ebooks, and the cost of them was in my tuition. This was not true. Yes, most of the classes for my Associate’s degree did include the books, but the 4 that did not meant I had to pay between $80 and $200 for each book. For my Bachelor’s degree in English, over half of my classes have books I need to buy myself, and I am still being charged the same per class.

Every single class requires that we work in a team for at least one assignment a week, and the total of those assignments is between 30-45% of your grade. The school claims that this is because you need to learn how to work in a team to benefit you in your future career. However, it is patently obvious that the teachers use this as a way to do less work, and have to grade perhaps 4 papers in a week, instead of 20. The teachers will refuse to step in during any kind of dispute between teams or team members, teachers for foreign languages cannot speak English well enough to articulate what they are required to teach. In fact, I have yet to have a teacher actually teach anything. We are given assignments, a chapter of our text to read, and two questions to answer and discuss.
When I talked to friends who went to other online schools, and friends who went to brick and mortar schools, they tell me it is much the same. It is rare for a professor to actually get up and lecture. They have limited office hours (2-3 hours per week) for students to come in for help, or an explanation, and many teachers leave all grading and a lot of the teaching to their teaching assistants, who are there working for the teacher while they try to finish their graduate degrees.

When it comes to textbooks at brick and mortar schools, the teacher will often require that the book a student buys is one they wrote. A person I follow on one of the social media websites told the story of the professor requiring all students to purchase the newest edition of a book he wrote, at a cost of $400, and she received a piece of paper in the mail for the ebook version of it after buying it. It had a code on it, and when she compared the earlier edition that was only $10 to the newest edition, and there was no difference between the two.

Some teachers will use the classes as a way to stroke their ego. Another person I follow tells the tale of her professor continuously requiring that the class base all of their papers on her impression of Shakespeare, rather than forming their own conclusions. The final of the class was a 10 page paper on the use of color as important symbolism in Othello. The person I follow did some research, and learned the teacher had done her thesis work on this exact subject, and this seemed to be a way of boosting her ego, forcing students to follow through with her take on the subject. The person then wrote a 10 page paper, on how they felt the use of color was not all that important in the play, and did a very good job of backing up their case. She was failed by the teacher.

In my opinion, the entire education system needs a major overhaul. Doctors have stated that the teenage brain is not ready to learn anything until at least 9 AM, if they get up at 6. Schools regularly start at 7, and if there is a zero hour, then it starts around 610AM. Schools are cutting physical education and recess out more and more, which means children are not able to concentrate after lunch, and are not learning the importance of physical activity in daily life.

Schools are serving horrible lunches, especially when compared to lunches students get around the world, and of the pictures I could find of a typical lunch at a middle or high school in America, they were not representative of what students actually get.

Schools are allowing teachers who don’t take any kind of continuing education to keep their jobs. Schools do not audit teachers in any way to make sure they are doing what they should be to make sure kids are able to understand the material, and learn what they need.
Schools are increasingly “teaching to the test” which basically means they are teaching according to what a standardized test requires students to know, because the funding for the school, and thus the teacher’s salaries, are decided by the scores.

Schools are not making sure students are taking at least one cooking class, one business class, and one future planning class. Without these, kids are leaving school having no idea how to take care of things on their own.
Schools focus on Math and Science as the be all end all of education, paying less and less attention to English, Literature, Languages, and the Arts. All of these are important, and while a kid may be horrible at math, forcing them to focus on math in lieu of finding things they are good at and letting them focus more on those things is harmful to them. Yes they need some math. They don’t need to know how to graph an inequality.
Colleges need decent teachers. All books need to have an ebook format, that doesn’t cost nearly as much as the class itself. Schools should have one or two core classes that require teamwork, and no more. A basic education should not cost more than 3 cars. As Chuck Pithy stated, the cost of education has quietly gone up and up.

For a comparison:
-Annual tuition for Yale, 1970: $2,550
-Annual tuition for Yale, 2014: $45,800
-Minimum Wage, 1970: $1.45
-Minimum Wage, 2014: $7.25
-Daily hours at minimum wage needed to pay for tuition in 1970: 4.8
-Daily hours at minimum wage needed to pay for tuition in 2014: 17.3
The cost of college in America has gone up 1,696% since 1970.
As you can see, the cost of schooling has not increased proportionally with everything else. It has gone out of control.

We, as responsible Americans, need to put a stop to this, and set things right.

Hawk chose to respond to a post by Chuck Pithy regarding the high costs of education.  As admin I felt it deserved its own post.

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