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The Vox Box

The Education System

In an editorial by Andrea Chapin in our latest issue of The Vox, the issue was raised about how useless so much of our education has become. Arguing experience over theory with such conclusions as

analyzing a textbook definition of Islam is worthless compared to being taught how to pray by a practicing Sunni.

Many of these points are valid, but I couldn't help but hear Professor Umbridge talking. Yes, the demon lady from Harry Potter.

Much of the editorial seemed like a prettier version of Prof. Umbridge's speech essentially saying "stop doing things that are deemed 'useless.' Especially defense against the dark arts."

Now there is no doubt that practical applications are much preferred when possible, and that no one really need the Unit Circle, but there's more to education than that.

All these things we learn are parts to a whole. Higher math would be very difficult to fully comprehend without things like the Unit Circle. Accepted universal definitions, even when not congruent to what an insider would say, are necessary to understand and function in a universal world.

So yes, not everyone will be a mathematical theorist, and yes computers do much of our math right now, but if we don't understand what's going on, progression will be eliminated. Even if each step doesn't yeiled a product, it is a necessary intermediate to the whole.

In other words, yes kids are just going to memorize the facts and forget after the test, and yes much of what we learn will only be applicable to the 20 or 30 hardcore theorists of the generation, but without a broad understanding of life, and the self motivation to gain it, modern society wouldn't work.

Besides, learning by experience is not always better than in theory. If some one doesn't have a desire to actually understand the material, but would rather make the grade, they will learn little more from a Sunni than a textbook.

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In 2006, then-editor Steve Smith of The Spokesman-Review had the idea of starting a publication for an often forgotten audience: teenagers. The Vox Box was a continuation of the Vox, an all-student staffed newspaper published by The Spokesman-Review. High school student journalists who staffed the Vox made all content decisions as they learn about the trade of journalism. This blog's mission was to give students an opportunity to publish their voices. The Vox Box and the Vox wrapped up in June 2009, but you can follow former staffers' new blog at