A Tennessee high school student and his classmates were forced to spend their economics class running errands for the football team, he said in a viral clip.
“American education is a joke,” TikTok user @fryguy124 said in the caption to his video, which has reached 434,000 views since it was posted Friday. While walking outside his school building, the anonymous student explained, “I’m supposed to be in economics class right now, but I’m outside shuttling sh*t around for the football team.”
The high schooler said in other videos that he lives in Tennessee. He went on, “Yeah, our teacher’s one of the coaches, and they have a fundraiser—I think it’s this weekend, it’s a carnival—so I have a boxload of little prizes sh*t and I’m taking it out to the stadium.”
The camera then panned to show tall stacks of boxes piled in a storage room. “That’s crap we shuttled out here last class…and then that’s from the class before,” the student said. “I have this class three times a week and all three times we’ve been doing chores for the football team.”
The video ended on a different day, with the student updating his audience to say that his economics class was now cleaning the football team’s bus. “Until schools start prioritizing education, this nation’s just gonna go down the toilet,” he said.
The high schooler’s concern that STEM learning fell short across the country, not only in his own school, has been backed by education data. The U.S. ranked near the bottom in a survey of students’ math skills across 34 industrialized countries, coming in 27th, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reported in 2012. Overall, U.S. test scores are below the global average and scores are lowest in the poorest states, according to Kimberly Amadeo, president of the economic website World Money Watch.
The pandemic has only further disadvantaged U.S. students. A Brown University study in January found that the effect of COVID-19 on K-12 education has been “seismic,” leading to significant drops in both math and reading test scores. On top of the spread of COVID-19, schools have struggled with severe staff shortages and high levels of student absenteeism. Students and teachers have also reported mental health challenges and increased violence at school, the researchers said.
The high schooler’s video incensed his viewers, with many decrying the state of U.S. education.
“As a parent of a high schooler I would want to know if this was happening in my kid’s school,” said one viewer. “This is ridiculous, I hope you told your parent.”
“It’s genuinely a wonder how people think we have the best country out there, especially in the field of education,” another added.
Several viewers dryly commented that the student was perhaps learning a U.S. economics lesson after all.
“Idk man, that is a pretty good lesson of how economics works in Capitalism. Football coaches can get away with whatever because they bring in [money],” said one viewer.
Newsweek reached out to @fryguy124 for comment.
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