Education in America
By Tyler M.
Education accounts for a major amount of time during a person’s life. From kindergarten through college the amount of time spent in classrooms consumes the average young adult. That being said, , why is it that according to USA Today Americans ranked 17th among other countries for academic performance in math?
Private schools had all around better scores, but why is it that public schools scored so low in comparison to public schools in countries with GDP’s much lower than America? Is it teachers? Is it students? Is it technology? Is it the lack of technology? Is it a system so outdated that it cannot adapt?
Truthfully, much of the decline has to do with students and their attitudes. As a student in public school I felt lost in the lesson, behind in grades and loaded with work that seemed impossible. My response – I gave up trying creating a huge void in my life that had been occupied by school. What to fill it with? Anything that made me feel good and gave me instant gratification – that was my solution.
The focus on “I feel” rather than “I think” is a major cause of the decline in American education. How often have I heard in the classroom a student respond with “I feel that …” instead of “I think that…” The student is automatically right. After all, feelings cannot be wrong. So the mind becomes lazy, content to feel rather than think with the added bonus of never being wrong!
In a recent study A World of Difference: An International Assessment of Mathematics and Science by Educational Testing Service of Princeton, Koreans answered 83 percent correct on an applied thinking exam and Americans scored striking low 78 percent. Fortune 500 companies such as APacific Telesis reported: “Only four out of every ten candidates for entry level jobs at Pacific Telesis are able to pass our entry level exam, which are based on a seventh-grade level.” It appears that do enough to pass and then when hit with real world deductive reasoning these text book proficient students are taken out of context and flustered.
From the 1830’s through the 1930’s textbooks such as McGuffeys Readers which were published for the masses included works such as Shakespeare, Longfellow, and Hawthorne. Recently words such as “spectacle” and “admired” were eliminated from a popular high school history textbook because they were deemed “too difficult.” Standards are lowered and students lose the motivation to excel.
It isn’t just the dumbing down of our textbooks. Young people are surrounded by things that dull our intelligence. Rap music and media that focuses on celebrity gossip for example certainly don’t challenge our higher level reasoning skills. After reading books such as Dante’s Inferno and Shakespeare it is unfathomable that authors of contemporary times were able to create such developed works.
It is known that Higher Education in America attracts international students, professors and researchers from all over. According to Univertias 21 in 2012, we ranked first place at having the best higher education system in the world. Unfortunately top schools cost top- dime and education costing so much is looking weary to those in economic troubles. Hard times have been affecting schools likewise, the budget crisis in California have been forcing private and public schools to become extremely selective. The dwindling money available to pay professors means cutting back, unfortunately the only ones to suffer are students interesting to apply.
There was not a single incident that caused this spiral of educational excellence, but rather an ever changing level of acceptance towards lacking behavior, grades and performance in the class room. I am not saying that every school, student and teacher around is useless because we do produce products and ideas regularly. There is always room for improvment. Getting educated is not a priority anymore to the general student.
I am not entirely sure what I can do to fix this issues that promises to ruin my generation. I know what I should be doing and how to do it, but giving up the entirety of myself to this massive nationwide issue seems hopeless. That is the mentality that many young students have and that is causing such an academic crisis. Teaching others around me to awaken to the mishaps of today’s society is one approach to fixing this issue. I may not reach every struggling student but, as Wayne Gretzky said, “100% of shots not taken are missed.”