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Do schools allow students to “let their imaginations fly?”

Maddy Hostetler, Guest Columnist

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Editors Note: The following essay was submitted by Rockwall High School junior Maddy Hostetler in response to this year’s PTA Reflections contest: Let your Imagination Fly

The Rockwall ISD PTA tells us to write an entry on how we let our imaginations fly. But since this “contest” is for elementary grades and up, the PTA expects us to write about something flowery and full of fairytales and fluff. By setting this unspoken barrier, our imaginations are not able to “fly.”

This is synonymous to the problems happening in schools all over Texas from middle to high school.

In the middle schools, starting with seventh grade, the new curriculum plan is to look at the students’ academic performance in their core classes and put them on an occupation guidance plan according to their academic ability.

It’s no longer “what do you want to be?” It’s what are you going to be?”

In other words, if a student excels in math and science, their counselors will put that student into the occupation category of engineer, scientist, and other math and science heavy jobs.

At the ages of 12 and 13, students are being forced to choose an occupation guidance plan without being able to experiment with different subjects. This system is also supposed to weed out the students that are less likely to finish high school or go to college.

But without being able to experience some trial and error, these students won’t know they want to do; they will only know only know what the school district wants them to do.

Middle school is a time for students to transition from recess to actually sitting in class all day. They should be allowed to experiment and get a feel for what their first major English project feels like.

Seventh graders shouldn’t be worried about a job. They should be focused on getting to high school. With this new education plan, students aren’t able to “let their imaginations fly.” Instead, their imagination is being overcrowded by school work, parents’ expectations, their own personal insecurities, and now the addition of figuring out what job they’re going to choose.

It’s no longer “what do you want to be?” It’s what are you going to be?” and middle school shouldn’t be the time to decide that.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Do schools allow students to “let their imaginations fly?””

  1. John White on October 22nd, 2015 7:59 am

    Coercion of children onto career paths not of their choosing was a terrible thing 55 years ago and it’s a terrible thing today,

    My Junior High School used an aptitude test to steer students. We responded to a series of questions for which there were predetermined answers. The marking method was a pin we punched through the answer that seemed to better match the question.

    That aptitude test said I should be a “social worker”. I wanted to be an electrical engineer from age nine years when I began personal studies of electrical and electronic technologies.

    Results of that so-called aptitude test burdened me for many years. Had I failed my “calling”? Was I refusing to do the “right thing” as a social worker, instead of working as an engineer?

    Answers to both question are the same: no.

    George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Dr. Benjamin Rush, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Douglas MacArthur, Chester Nimitz, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Nikolai Tesla and a host of great Americans came into the own, all extremely successful without coercion by an education system bent on molding workers for local businesses.

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