The Learning Gap: Part 1

The sun rises and millions of kids walk through the doors of public schools, with defeated faces and ready to go through the motions once more.  The epidemic of the learning gap, is here in the United States and has become more visible than ever in public schools. The gap between AP students and regular students is widening, yet no one is doing anything about it – some administrators are not aware it exists. Before we get to far let’s start at the beginning; the birth of a child into a broken home.

In a growing community, like mesquite, there is hundreds of children living in parentless homes, because the father has left and the mother works all day to support the family. The absence of a parental presence affects children not just when it comes to behavioral issues but it affects their academics, their thought process and their goal setting skills.

As an AP student at North mesquite high school I have only witnessed one side of the coin, thus I cannot give a testimonial on how regular classes are. But like everyone else, I’ve heard the stories; the counselors even warn AP kids not to drop out of the rigorous stressful classes, which have created an environment and an atmosphere of hierarchal proportions, because regular classes won’t challenge them enough. So when did this gap become socially acceptable? When did the school system decide to shape students into perfectionist anxiety-filled know-it-alls or into hopeless mediocre students? The fact that regular students are being taught at a level that won’t challenge them is a bit sad. It’s also sad that AP students who no longer wish to continue their AP career, have to settle for classes where the teachers care about as much as kids who haven’t been pushed to their potential. Because that’s what they are! Regular students are people who have not been pushed enough to achieve their potential and regular classes – that give them a basic understanding of the English language or a basic understanding of algebraic equations, history, physics, biology, and  geometry – are not helping.

Of course we cannot put the entire blame on the standardized school system that corporations have established, the problem also lies outside of school. Most families that live here are around the poverty line which means that parents – however many the kids might have – spend most of their time at work; leaving children alone to work on schoolwork if the kid is driven enough. Leaving children alone to teach themselves how to act, speak, read, add, subtract, and behave. Children are being taught by the media, whether it be the Kardashians or Spongebob. The most important thing though is that without parents around to instill morals, expectations, and goals a kid is born without hope. They are born believing that they can’t achieve anything, that the world they live in is the world that they’ll stay in. Thus when they go to school they don’t try, they show up late and cause problems at a school that doesn’t push them. At a school that has given up on them and left them alone just like their parents have.

Kat

North Mesquite High School, blue prints author. Sophomore and band aficionado.

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