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Dias 1

Outline
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.

Introduction
A. School has become boring
Bad Teachers
A. Tenure
Lack of Funds
A. Frustration amongst teachers
B. Lack of proper resources
Subjects taught too fast
A. Students are not understanding concepts.
B. Project MINDSET
Conclusion
A. Restated thesis
B. What should be changed

Melody Kainani Dias


Mrs. Dewey
English 101
27 November 2016

Dias 2
The Public High School System
Teenagers, weve all been there and faced the pressure from family and friends to know who
you are, receive good grades, and most importantly graduate high school. Every morning, for
four years they wake up, sit in a class room for an hour and a half while a teacher spits
information at them from seven am to two pm. For teenagers, the repetitive monotony of going
from school, home, and back to school again is driving them on the verge of dropping out. At the
age of 16 thats an option for many. Graduation rates show that even for those who choose to
stay the entire four years do not end up graduating. Although many people thought of high
school to be a genius system, it is now failing as dropout rates continue to soar. President Barack
Obama said in a speech, We have one of the highest high school dropout rates of any
industrialized nationthis country needs and values the talent of every American (Obama).
This is a call to all school boards to figure out why they are not successfully teaching students.
The reasons as to why the high school system is failing due to bad teachers, a lack of funding,
and the pace subjects are being taught.
There are many incredible teachers who care for and support the students in their class
making each one feel special. For example, there was a time where I was struggling with math
and instead of referring me to tutoring, my teacher took time out of her busy schedule to help me.
Great but hard to find, these teachers are just one reason why students are excited to come to
school and are ready to learn. When teachers make school fun students become more open and
are likely to ask questions thus allowing them to understand the material taught and maybe even
score a B or higher in the class. There are teachers though who simply spit out material for an
hour without thoroughly explaining what is being taught and give students only four homework
problems expecting them to learn from it and score well on the test. The reason as to why theses

Dias 3
teachers have their job is because of tenure. Tenure is awarded to teachers after a certain amount
of time and it guarantees them their job. Former president of the American Federation of
Teachers, Even Shanker stated, A lot of people who have been hired as teachers are basically
not competent (Shanker). Having unqualified individuals teach the next generation is terrifying,
yet most parents are not aware of the damaging effect tenure is having on their kids. A Los
Angeles union representative voiced, Basically every teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School
District is granted tenure which comes as a major disappointment for the students that are forced
to learn from them (Teacher and Ethics). Another reason why there are not many successful
students is because the lack of funding amongst high schools is going towards other adventures
such as football.
There is no doubt that the lack of school funding has been the main topic at every school
board meeting. As a student, I can see the frustration it causes teachers. For example, when
teachers hand their students textbooks that are twenty years old which may have many rips and
markings, its disappointing. It would be the equivalent of giving your newborn baby a blanket
from the trash. Just as every parent wants the best for their children. The good teachers want
the best for their students but with the lack of funding its hard for them to do that. This then,
effects students when it comes to learning relevant material. Text books are usually updated
every 10 years yet twenty years later students are learning the same material. In an article,
Education Next states Our findings provide compelling evidence that money does matter, and
that additional school resources can meaningfully improve long-run outcomes for students
(Jackson). When students have the tools and resources needed, the possibility of being successful
are higher. Now, many may argue that money has absolutely nothing to do with it and students
are just lazy. If a student was taught through a laptop or tablet they would become more engaged

Dias 4
in the material because teenagers can relate to it. Schools do not have enough money for these
materials so students are taught the same way as when the school system was first founded with
textbooks.
Lastly, the flaw in the public high school system is expecting students to learn core subjects
such as math in only one semester. While I was in high school I wish, I could have learned
geometry for longer than sixteen weeks. Instead, I was forced to know everything about
geometry and pass the class with an A when I only understood about half of what I was taught.
Many students across the nation also face this issue. Project MINDSET is a $3 million funded
project which aims to increase the amount of time students spend on mathematics from one
semester to an entire year. With the ever-growing problem of struggling students, they want to
challenge students by raising the minimum state standards for a high school diploma while also
raising the state university admission standards. The goal is to teach students for a longer amount
of time ensuring they grasp the concepts taught while making getting a diploma and getting into
a university, competitive (Chelst). For those that are skeptical about this issue I can see why
many think one semester pushes students to essentially learn how to learn quickly. The shorter
amount of time students spend in classes the faster they can graduate and start college. Parents
are usually the ones that want their children to graduate high school quickly. But, what happens
when students are pushed along to the next grade without fully understanding the concepts? As
the grade level goes up and into college the more difficult it is to follow new material. This is
when students are barley passing their classes because they were not taught core subjects in full.
Students can miss out on scholarship opportunities and possibly advanced classes.
High school is a time where teenagers start figuring out who they are, what they want for
their life, etc. It is also a place where students are struggling to pass classes and meet the

Dias 5
requirements for graduation. The system is majorly flawed with the pollution of bad teachers,
lack of sufficient funding, and one semester classes. There are a few slight changes everyone can
make to engage students. Instead of looking back on high school as a place they never want to go
back to again view it as an engaging learning experience. It starts at home and with parents who
involve themselves with their childrens school works not only allowing the parents to see whats
being taught in school but for students to be held accountable for their grades. Its also
recommended that the student has technology to help them become interested with learning such
as tablet or laptop. What teachers can do is be more energized. Students stay focused when the
teacher is interesting. Not only must the teacher be interesting but the way the material is taught
can be more interactive. When students feel, the material has relevance to their life they are
willing to pay attention. The entire education system should be updated as well. It is of more
importance that students know how to pay bills when graduating high school than how to color
inside the lines. As a senior the teacher passed out coloring sheets which every student had to
color and turn it in as a graded assignment. This is an example of a bad teacher. With
technology growing and society changing it is time the education system update their course
material often. School is a great place to exchange ideas and interact with new people. Although
it has its bumps and cracks the basic idea of school is an excellent idea but other teaching
methods should be explored.

Dias 6

Works Cited
Chelst, Kenneth, et al. Can you imagine 500,000 prep proponents of O. R.? Project
MINDSET aims to develop, implement two-semester math course for high school seniors
based on operations research and industrial engineering concepts. OR/MS Today, vol. 35,
no. 4, 2008, p. 22+. General OneFile, libproxy.gc.maricopa.edu/login?

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url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=ITOF&sw=w&u=mcc_glendale&v=2.1&id=GALE
%7CA184549976&it=r&asid=fb4a128f1d3af32454695c3373fdca1b. Accessed 6 Dec. 2016.
Jackson, C. Kirabo, et al. Boosting educational attainment and adult earnings; does school
spending matter after all? Education Next, vol. 15, no. 4, 2015, p. 68+. Expanded Academic
ASAP, libproxy.gc.maricopa.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?
p=EAIM&sw=w&u=mcc_glendale&v=2.1&id=GALE
%7CA430802560&it=r&asid=52fc72035f50b4bc9797efdaef992b90. Accessed 29 Nov. 2016.
Murnane, Richard J. U.S. High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations. Journal
of Economic Literature, vol. 51, no. 2, 2013, pp. 370422. www.jstor.org/stable/23644749.
"Tenure Protects High School Teachers Who Should Be Fired." Teachers and Ethics, edited by
Noah Berlatsky, Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in
Context, libproxy.gc.maricopa.edu/login?
url=http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010986217/OVIC?u=mcc_glendale&xid=d6cb0fed.
Accessed 8 Dec. 2016. Originally published as "Protecting Bad Teachers,"
Teachersunionexposed.com.