The current state of the education system may have a bright and sunny disposition when those in office shed their own light on the policies they’ve enacted, but when it comes to the point of view of the students attending such schools whose regulations are constantly in flux, separating fact from a simple publicity stunt isn’t all that hard to achieve.
Lawmakers may think they are working toward the betterment of society in, but students lingering around the UCF campus after dark, show they have a difference in opinion.
Emily Schapiro, junior Communication Sciences and Disorders major, said teachers are under too much pressure to be able to give students the knowledge they need to succeed.
“They are forced to cater to the FCAT and other Florida education standards and end up limiting kids in what they can learn,” Schapiro said.
Greg Voda, senior Communications major, expressed concerns over the lack of assistance students get upon graduation in regards to job placement.
“My brother is flying in from China tonight. He is teaching English over there because there are no jobs here. He was actually a Financial Accounting major here at UCF,” Voda said.
Florida has a current unemployment rate of 7.1 percent, nestled in the middle of the two extremes with North Dakota at 3 percent and Nevada at 9.5 percent.
“We need a real-world education,” Voda said. “We have no preparation, here. People just fall through the cracks.”
Aside from job placement, one student said he’s scared about the money he’ll owe the state after he graduates. When asked, specifically, what he meant, he gave me a simple, two-word reply:
“Interest rates,” said David Simoneau. He was referring to student loans, as it turns out. He is a freshman at UCF. He and his friend Spencer Scheirer were on their way to a volleyball tournament Wednesday night, when I stopped to ask them how they felt about the education system.
In contrast to to Simoneau, Scheirer isn’t at that stage of the game yet. He’s still trying to enroll in UCF.
Scheirer has out-of-state credits and can’t seem to figure out how to navigate the system in order to become accepted into the university.
“I want to know how to get in-state tuition,” said Scheirer.
“It’s a complicated subject. In Illinois and Missouri, you just have to live in-state for three months and, BAM!, you’re a resident. Someone, here, told me you had to live in a dorm, but that’s not true either. You can’t live in a dorm if you’re not a Florida resident,” said Scheirer.
“There’s so many things you have to do. You have to switch over your license and registration,” Scheirer said.
“You have to emancipate yourself,” Simoneau chimed in. “You can’t take money from your parents or anything.”
Eric Golden II, Computer Science major, is one credit shy of becoming a sophomore. Golden is less worried about himself as far as potential loans he may have to pay back or whether he’ll have a job once he graduates. His main concern revolves around the incentive students have in attending schools and the proportional motivation teachers instill in those students in return.
Golden believes teacher salaries are in jeopardy, as money serves as a tool to goad teachers to pay more attention to their students. Quickly shying away from the touchy subject, he became particularly uneasy when he started speaking about zoning issues.
“Growing up in PSL [Port St. Lucie, Fla.] I was zoned to Centennial, but I went instead to LPA. LPA is in a horrible neighborhood, but the school is ranked seventh in the state and 28th in the nation, I believe. I haven’t been back since I graduated, but I heard they are losing the IB program,” Golden said.
“That’s what makes this school what it is. The IB program gives people hope, it helps them believe in achieving something,” he said.
Whether it is the image of the school that instills a certain malaise in students or the impending debts they incur throughout the time spent enrolled, a handful of UCF students feel strongly about modifications that need to be made in order to make it a better learning environment.
As the gubernatorial election for Florida draws near, approaching in November 2014, only time will tell whether the necessary changes will take place.