Why School and Activism Go Together Like Oil and Water

It was Nelson Mandela that famously said,

 “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

So, what went wrong in the twenty-five years since that statement was made?  Education itself is an essential component of activism and change, but the methodology surrounding how students are educated still remains flawed.

Creativity and schooling already have a tenuous relationship.  So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that activism and schooling go together as well as oil and water.

Day in the Life Of A Typical Student

Class is now in session.
Class is now in session.

Whether you are a current student in high school or an alumni, it’s safe to say that you’ve experienced the feeling of waking up half dead at 6:30 A.M,  shuffling to the next six or seven classes in an attempt to learn, then finally leaving school completely drained knowing you have another two and half hours of homework eagerly awaiting your arrival at home.  Is this fair?  The short answer is no.  But we do it all the same because we don’t have a choice in the matter and we hope that by following this system, the college of our dreams will open their gates for us to study there.

 After such an exhausting day, is it any wonder that so many students aren’t using their imagination or intellect for projects outside of school?  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve wanted to work on an article or a project of mine, but couldn’t due to the sheer volume of work that school demands.  In fact, a 2014 Stanford research report corroborated this sentiment when it found that the average amount of homework given by teachers only led to greater stress, reductions in health, and significantly less time for extracurricular pursuits.

 It was education reformer Sir Ken Robinson who summed it up best by stating that,

“We have sold ourselves into a fast food model of education, and it’s impoverishing our spirit and our energies as much as fast food is depleting our physical bodies.”

The Bottom Line

Everyone needs to go to school to learn.  But, the way in which we go about learning should be reevaluated.  Measures like the Common Core have attempted to foster a more creative environment, yet nothing has been done to reduce homework levels or the inordinate nature of modern-day schooling itself.

One of the central ideas behind starting this blog was that the best change starts from young adults who want to make a difference.  However, it sure is hard to make a difference when it takes you until 9 or 10 PM to finish your homework every night.

In some respects, the way we are learning is holding us back.  This is a complex issue, one that individuals have dedicated their lives to and one that is not fixed easily.  Nevertheless, when has that stopped people like you and I from trying?  Even if it is just talking with your teacher over the amount of homework he or she assigns, it’s a start.

It’s time for students to take their lives back so they can start improving the lives of others.

Agree with this article?  Let me know in the comment section below where you stand on this issue.

Written By:  Sam Gorman, Founder of Youngchange-Bestchange.

Inspired to take action?  Find out the five best ways to go about doing it here.

Role models are actually very important when it comes to change.  Find out why here.

Learn more about how excessive homework is detrimental in the Stanford research report that I referenced.

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog or join the movement on Twitter.


4 thoughts on “Why School and Activism Go Together Like Oil and Water

  1. This is by far my favorite of your posts! I couldn’t agree more. The school system we have is terrible and it’s obviously not working out as well as they wish it would. You should look into other countries’ education systems. I’d love to hear your perspective on that…
    Also, this was very well written and your thoughts were perfectly put together. Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are completely right and while parents have been saying this for awhile, having a student step forward and make a good case for a reduction in homework is powerful. You have a strong voice and a vision for change – you need to be on some of the leadership groups at BHS. Lets talk…


  3. I have bwen in other countries and I am finding that the American education system is doing very well. We don’t pay to go to more school after our school day. In fact the students don’t have homework from the their public school teachers bit will go to private learning academies and get homework from here. We may have homework from our regular classroom teachers and it is an extensioncof what we are learning our classrooms. There isn’t a disconnect as there is here in another country. Plus we are not paying an extra 700.00 to do it.


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