Positive and Negative Impact of K to 12

Most countries have instituted a form of K to 12 educational system wherein young children are mandatorily required to undergo schooling for twelve years along with one year in Kindergarten covering primary, middle and high school. While the curriculum may differ widely, it has been widely accepted that the K to 12 educational format happens to be the most effective when it comes to educating young children and preparing them to compete effectively with others for college seats and their dream career. Since this educational format impacts our kids lives directly, perhaps it is time that we took a closer look at its impact.

Positive impact of K to 12:

Strengthening education: One of the reasons that most nations migrated to K to 12 format was to improve overall education. Having better educated citizens makes you more innovative and competitive than other nations. As technology has progressed, an educated workplace is needed to maintain new advanced systems.

Cognitive development: K-12 is structured to follow our understanding of cognitive development as closely as possible. New concepts and ideas are gradually introduced over a thirteen year period. This is how children are able to seamlessly go from learning to read in Kindergarten to advanced algebra in high school. This is also the period where learning is easiest. The older we get, our brains are less able to process and retain new information. One example that sticks out is language. It is common to find children who learn multiple languages seamlessly while they’re young. Adults struggle and study for years, only to be less fluent than their younger counterparts in the long term.

Social skills: K-12 education also serves to socialize young people. It pulls them out of their comfort zone and introduces them to new people and beliefs. Studies show that diversity leads to more empathy and emotional intelligence, which are important skills that many people do not have. It also teaches students to navigate society as whole once they leave school.

Negative Impact of K to 12:

Cost: Good education is expensive and that’s the understatement of the year; so when you are asked to pay for two more years of schooling for your kid, you can imagine the bill that you would have to foot. One of the cons or negative points is that most of these countries which implemented the ‘k to 12’ system did so suddenly and in the process, forcing parents to pay exorbitant fees for the additional two years of education.

Stress: This is debatable, but the fact of the matter is that education comes with its own negative baggage and one of it happens to be high stress. So exposing your child to two more years in school means exposing them to high stress for the duration. It is important that you consult your healthcare worker as a way to find out how to relive the stress naturally; one method would be to get your kid involved in various physical activities.

Preparation: While the additional two years to provide these students with various advantages, there seems to be little or no focus on careers or what they should opt for. It should be pointed out that from a curriculum point of view, most of these can be crammed into the ten years rather than add on two more years. But now with the addition of two more years, the focus seems to be more on standardized tests rather than on developing key skills which can help them in their respective careers.

Equality Of Education:  Though K-12 public education has improved education overall, this hasn’t happened equally for all communities. There are critics who argue that many children attend low quality schools that provide a subpar education. This is especially true among minority and impoverished populations. Children in affluent neighborhood’s attend safer, newer, and better staffed schools. Schools in poor neighborhoods are often underfunded, more dangerous, and more likely to be shut down.

These are some of the positive and negative effects of ‘K to 12’; it should be pointed out that these negative effects listed above are an indirect result of the current educational format and not a direct consequence of the same. The fact remains that most of the school children are woefully undereducated by the time they start applying for colleges and this system seeks to redress the same. Granted the solution is not perfect and comes with its own flaws but with more effort, we should be able to provide our kids with quality education no matter where they are located.

Alan Behrens
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