The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Easy A classes not valuable

Poet Henry David Thoreau said he wanted to “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”

But John Keating (played by Robin Williams in the movie Dead Poets Society), a teacher who thought education was to learn to think for yourself, said “Sucking the marrow out of life does not mean choking on the bone.”

As students, the nation, educators and family push us to be all we can be in life. But it’s ironic how the nation, data studies and media also say that our education system has failed.

Through studies done by Stuart Rojstaczer, a retired Duke University professor who tracks grade point averages, GPAs are higher now than they were in 1991, according to an article by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

At U.S. colleges, some critics credit the rise to grade inflation. Rojstaczer said the average GPA nationwide has gone from 2.93 in the 1991-92 academic year to 3.11 in 2006-07.

It’s an interesting paradox when the nation says grades are at their highest yet also says the education system has failed because students haven’t been taught to think critically.

“The weed-out classes aren’t weeding out like they once did,” Rojstaczer said. “We’ve made college easier.”

He said the inflation is caused by students picking the “easy A” classes after high school. Clifford Adelman, a retired research analyst for the Education Department, said students are simply taking more classes, and if they fail, the classes are repeated to cancel out the lower grade.

If either is the case, then maybe it boils down to high school students not being taught to think critically but to rise to their best potential for tests. Maybe some students aren’t comfortable taking a class that will push them to their limits or struggle because they have been taught to the test.

This is where the education system chokes on the bone.

Good education isn’t based on how well you do on a test but how it develops you as a person for the real world ahead. Good teaching isn’t an “easy A” class. It’s about facing challenges or finding inspiration from a teacher who will encourage you to go farther, do better or stand on a desk to shout “O captain! My captain!” because he’s given you a passion for learning or helped you stand on your own two feet.

That’s how you suck the marrow out of life.

That’s good education.

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