The real knowledge tree

Sega Genesis version of the Mortal Kombat 3 opening

What is knowledge? What is power?

Knowledge – acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition. Familiarity or conversance, as with a particular subject or branch of learning (1)

Power – ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something (2)

By definition, if you know something, you gain the ability to accomplish said task, correct? Since “knowledge is power” makes sense, why does public school systems test memory instead of what you actually know? Why don’t public schools actually provide real world moments where what you learned will apply?

Math problems where you’re taught how to get to the correct/right answer, not using specific methods to get the answer; as well as understanding the why you would use said methods. “Use X way to find answer,” instead of “Use what you’ve learned so far to find the correct answer. Show your work.” I bring this up because in college, I had a math professor who was more concerned about how you figured the problem. While some problems require specific methods/steps, other problems can be solved through various methods. One example involved a Pre Calc problem that could be solved using Law of Sine or Cosine, and both provided the exact, same, correct answer. Math problems should also provide word problems where actual, real world situations are brought in; not worded as a real world issue.

Grammar rules should be the same across the board; not region specific. The biggest example: “Me and Mark are going to the park” instead of “Mark and I are going to the park,” or “I went to the park with Mark.” Either way, by definition you know I and Mark were at the same place; so does it really make that big of a difference how it’s worded? This is where other languages have the English language in check; because the subject and the verb make sense, and regardless to how you arrange certain words around, the sentence still makes sense. I hear so many times people trying to correct someone “because I was taught this way” instead of just letting someone speak how they were taught. Keep in mind I’m referring to the educated who are taught differently, not someone who’s uneducated and talk anyway they want out of sheer ignorance. The other problem involves dialogue in non/fiction, where the editor(s) always try to correct the character(s) way of speaking, then later complain because the dialogue doesn’t fit the character(s). The dialogue is written this way for a reason, and if the editor took the time to understand this, less editing would be required. Keep in mind there’s a difference between stereotypes and actual, difference in dialogue.

Science should be more about discovery, experimentation, theories, understanding, and less about the topics no one will use outside of school. Science class(es) should also teach how and why something occurs, with experiments to better understand; not just read from a book and test later.

I was informed through this generation of students that home economics (Home Ec. to the older generation) is being phased out due to funding, and because some teachers feel it’s material that should be taught at home. Well, in theory can’t the same be said about all subjects? If a student has limited skills involving cooking and/or sewing, how will they survive if they aren’t learning from home? What makes Home Ec. a useless class? If teachers call for a vote to out the class, I’d debate they’re the ones who hated the class at that age, and speaking for everyone else instead actually looking at the pros/cons from a professional view. You’re the teacher, set the positive example.

Why is art considered another useless subject? Art classes have proved countless times to expand creativity between students, and even certain famous people have opened their full potential through art-related classes. So take away a class to open full potential because a few people were vocal against it at a younger age? What makes art so bad where it’s another class to be phased out?

Where’s the classes regarding how to: change the oil in your vehicle? file taxes correctly? properly apply for college? correctly fill out a job application? how to respect people from different cultures and backgrounds? how to properly apply for student loans? how to use your creative side to better benefit society as a whole? While some schools have some these subjects, not all of them do. More money means better education? If I was a parent, I’d question where my tax money is actually going towards, because our education system definitely shows signs of not having enough funding.

Why bring this up today? I had a conversation with an older friend regarding how different the education system is today as opposed to when we were in school; and how different students are today compared to back then. The biggest take away from our conversation I’ll share with you as the reader – if schools taught actual knowledge, how to apply said knowledge, and actually provided proof of the schools doing their job, test scores will be higher, and more qualified individuals would teach to make the school system much better. Schools basically test an individual on memory; the better the memory, the higher the test score. Your memory can be top notch, yet you’re uneducated in other areas. Since you scored higher than the next person, on paper you’re the smarter one, which discourages the person who actually took the time to study to only fail. Society would say you’re the smarter one, even though you didn’t learn anything, you just have a better memory than others. Just because you remember something, doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t apply what you learned to real life. I’m living proof of being the low grade student since my memory isn’t 100%; yet you ask me a question of a subject and I can provide a real life example where you can apply said knowledge.

Remember: Knowledge is power. Discovery, understanding, utilizing, experimentation, explanation, teaching, and retention are what makes you the one above the rest. If nothing else, remember this – “If you learn from it, you didn’t waste your time.”

Here’s some further reading regarding a debate between knowledge and memory –



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