The “average” is a staple in public education. Schools consistently cater to the “average” student. The intention is to cover the largest demographic of pupils possible because most children are around “average,” right?

No, the truth is the “average” student is a myth.

Todd Rose, a faculty director at Harvard University, explains how the U.S. Air Force had issues flying newly made planes because the cockpit was suited to the “average” pilot. No individual fits our definition of “average,” not even trained pilots who serve our country. Yet our formative years are based around this idea. There is no regard for the diversity of learning in a standardized system, and that harms generation after generation of students.

What we need is a revamped, student-driven school system. Swap out grades in favor of comprehensive reviews of student progress that actually hold meaning, allow students to be creative and explore new topics. One’s mental capacity is not defined by filling in bubbles on a sheet of paper. Why do we continuously disregard those who can’t learn effectively in a standardized system?

Students deserve engaging curriculum and room to explore. We don’t need another era of minds stifled by public education.

Olivia Pax, Monona

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