Will Fitzhugh with The Concord Review forwarded me an email he received from a Harvard freshman, Ana Mundaca, who contributed to his publication when she attended Sidwell Friends School. With her permission I wanted to share that email in part with our readers because she offers an excellent insight into a flaw with the K-12 education system:
I am just wrapping up my first semester at Harvard College, and I am really enjoying it so far. As I’m sure you remember from your time here, there is a mandatory college writing class all(emphasis mine)
first yearstudents take either in the Fall or the Spring. I was lucky enough to be enrolled early in the Fall class,and was struck by how easy the collegiate level writing in the class was for me. I don’t mean to say I didn’t have to apply myself or that I was any smarter than my peers, because that would not be true at all. However, I found the writing that I did in that class (and in all my humanities classes so far) has closely paralleled the writing structure of the paper I submitted for TCR a few years back.
While I have since improved my writing, it was a huge relief to me to already have had experience writing
high levelacademic papers as it allowed me to focus on the content of my essay rather than the flow or style of the paper. Consequently, I found the final research assignment enjoyable and enthralling, and will be working on expanding the paper and hopefully publishing it in a music journal in the coming months. I would not have been ready for this rich experience in writing had it not been for The Concord Review. Original research is a pillar of any well-rounded education, and it points to a huge flaw in our education system that humanities research and writing are not more emphasized in high school. TCR provides an outlet for the type of academic work that we should be encouraging, and the publication is incredibly valuable. Publishing my first work in TCR only inspired me to pursue my writing further, and has led me to declare my major in Economics with a secondary in East Asian Studies in order to continue my research and publication. I will most likely be taking an in-depth course covering North Korea in Seoul this summer, and hope to expand upon the paper I submitted to you as part of my final project.
This is not a new problem. It was not emphasized when I was in high school either, but the hyper-emphasis on STEM and the poor ELA standards most states have as a result of Common Core I don’t see a fix coming anytime soon. K-12 education needs a return to classical education.
Anyway, The Concord Review should be commended for providing students with an opportunity many do not receive while they are in high school.