Eckert: The excessive formalities of schools

The learning process that most students dream of is nothing like our schools provide to us. Public and private schools of all levels set different requirements for their students from dress codes to ethical and behavioral restrictions and mandatory classes. How can we be expected to learn with all of these rules to follow? Given not all schools require strict rules and many times the rules become subconsciously followed by the second week of classes, they still don’t allow for the most efficient learning. Considering I spent most of my senior year of high school in an empty classroom with one of my classmates working on independent studies, I know that when I’m not comfortable I can’t focus as well as I’d like.

As vital as education is to our society, I feel like we overlook the simple comforts that could greatly improve the learning process. Focus is key when learning anything. I never had a dress code all through school, but I know that if I had to wear uncomfortable clothes I wouldn’t be focused on learning all day. Friends of mine that were forced to wear uniforms certainly didn’t enjoy it. Enforcing a dress code strictly is also a huge waste of resources. Who honestly cares if someone’s shirt is untucked or their belt is brown instead of black? Why do administrations worry about what the students wear as long as it isn’t noticeably distracting other students? Instead of worrying about bureaucratic garbage like dress codes, worry about the quality of education the students are getting and do everything possible to improve their learning experience. Whether the problem is an unsafe environment, uncomfortable desks and chairs or if the school is a sauna, help the students. School is about the students, not their clothing or the formalities administrators constantly stress.

Mandatory classes are another waste of resources. Why is it necessary to take a certain pre-planned set of courses? Not all students are going into the same occupation, so why should we take the same classes? I do agree that everyone should have a general background in every field, but that could end after eighth grade at the latest. Students will learn what they want to learn. If someone absolutely hates history, doesn’t want anything to do with it and has no intention of pursuing a career that involves history, then why should they be required to learn about the history of France’s countless revolutions? They shouldn’t. If it becomes important, there are books, documentaries and the internet full of information. Every student learns differently, pursues something different and is passionate about different topics. Education across all levels needs a reform to more effectively and efficiently prepare students for the professional world.

My favorite part about college is the freedom. The freedom of dress, transportation, attendance and eating. I can eat what I’d like, when I’d like. I can wear whatever I’d like to, to class. I don’t even have to go to class if I don’t feel like it. Colleges are several steps ahead of lower levels with their freedom. I realize that college students are older, more mature and more responsible, but I don’t feel as if I’ve changed much over the last three or four years, so why did I have to go through the bureaucratic rules of high school for so long?

Education is one of the most important things in the United States, and across the world. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like that. Students are individuals, so why are we treated like a pack? I don’t want a one-on-one tutor, but I do want to be comfortable. I want to dress how I want, know my professors and learn about what’s important to me, and I think that’s what every student wants at every level.

Brian Eckert is a first-year finance and economics double major.