I've been so absorbed in this world of late that it's been quite difficult to emerge even to edit The Post or contribute to the rest of h2g2. In this past week I ended my first semester of the school year and started the second, so I had six classes with six exams. The previous weekend, too, I took the SAT, the standardised exam that is required for admissions at the majority of American universities. Not only that, but I've been working on the production of the school musical and playing for my school's quizbowl team as its playing season gets underway.
As I do all this, though — none of it out of the ordinary for a nerdy high-school student like me — I've begun increasingly to consider what it's all for. I've been reading literature from the 1960s about how ridiculously pointless aspects of the public education like grades and the rote methods of learning are — and indeed, American reformers like Bronson Alcott have been arguing such things as far back as the 1840s, but you don't see anything having changed. My educational future will still be determined by my school grades, as influenced by the exams I took last week, and my SAT scores, as determined by the exam I took the previous Saturday. But why? Why are scores so much more important than your ability to think or speak or write an Edited Guide Entry? Why does writing an essay to adhere to the format of the exam board seen as so much more valuable than a creative piece that is never graded? It's kind of like being caught in a giant hamster wheel — you just keep on running mindlessly in circles.
At least we've got The Post, though, which recognises great writing that doesn't have to end its first paragraph with a thesis statement or have five paragraphs or even be written in black ink! Give us your tired, your poor, your crumpled papers yearning to be free1, except make sure it's your best work, please! I'd like to applaud B'Elana for doing exactly that last week, and thanks also to NotScientific, who in lieu of a column this week has sent us a link to his article at Inkling Magazine for all you lot to check out. Have fun!
Copy for the next issue of The Post should arrive in our inbox no later than midnight on Sunday, 18 February. As always, the links and instructions for submission can be found at the Post Office. And submit something, or else I shall be very unhappy!
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