The Better Version of School?

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The Better Version of School?

Bryan Wang

This short stretch of South De Anza Boulevard between Rainbow and McClellan Road is packed with prep classes. The majority of tutoring sites seem to be huge tutoring franchises, which can afford ample office space and noticeable signs on the main road. Many of these franchises, such as Huntingdon Learning Center and C2, offer tutoring in almost every school course as well as college counseling and standardized test preparation. Others, such as Flex and Best SAT exclusively offer college-oriented programs (college counseling, seminars, and test preparation).

The fact that all of these tutoring sites, even the austere Best SAT, are flourishing is indicative of a troubling trend. Students are showing a greater reliance on structured education. Instead of being resourceful, asking teachers for help or working to correct their study habits, students fall back on tutoring centers to provide a structured remedial class. Instead of studying for the SAT alone, students take SAT classes, which are essentially expensive placebos; the “classes” are just test-taking sessions in a classroom environment, but students feel like they are improving because they are in a structured “class,” and are forced to take the tests. Tutoring franchises only thrive when there is a demand for their services, and there is a demand for their services because people want to be told what to do, instead of thinking for themselves.

But parents have a big role to play in this as well. Coming from cultural backgrounds that extol more education as better education, parents sign students up for these classes to give their children a perceived advantage in life. But heavily structured education, where all the material is digested and spoon fed to students, does not create thinkers. It creates drones. Students need to be given some opportunity to manage their own education in order to become better individuals, and relying on tutoring centers eradicates these opportunities.