The Love Chronicles; Education In America Sucks

Posted: January 23, 2014 in Life
Tags: , , ,

American Education Sucks

 

 

A report out last week by Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance found that U.S. students are falling further and further behind their peers in other countries.

Students in Latvia, Chile and Brazil are making gains in academics three times faster than American students, while those in Portugal, Hong Kong, Germany, Poland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Colombia and Lithuania are improving at twice the rate.

The study’s findings support years of rankings that show foreign students outpacing their American peers in education. Students in Shanghai who recently took international exams for the first time showed up with exam scores higher than any other school system on the planet! In the same test, American students ranked 25th in math, 17th in science and 14th in reading. I suspect even then the tested students did not come from inner city schools in our largest population centers.

Just 6 percent of U.S. students performed at the advanced level on an international exam administered in 56 countries in 2006. That proportion is lower than those achieved by students in about 30 other countries.

 

In a comparison of education in different countries, we find that many countries not only have a longer school day, but a longer school year. This gives teachers more opportunity to present new material.

 

Successful education in other countries has some things in common. They actively recruit teachers from the top 10% of the class, and they require all teachers to have a Masters degree. Instead of spending money on standardized testing they spend it on teacher education. Also, in order to attract competent teachers they pay them well and treat and respect them for the professionals they are, and allow them the freedom to know how to teach without being told how by someone who does not have their credentials.   Additionally, each community, whether poor or affluent, is funded equally. I believe this to be one of the more important aspects of education and where we fail miserably.

 

We have turned our schools in the poorer areas of our inner cities, and elsewhere, into simply housing our youth to keep them off the streets, but not actually educating them. These schools have little to offer a student that actually wants an education. Studies show that even students with very high grade point averages do not do well in college because their education did not prepare them to compete at the college level. They do not even do well in junior colleges that have programs that are designed to help these very students. So unless you have a genius IQ and can educate yourself and learn at an accelerated rate once you reach an institution of higher learning, as the title suggests, your education coming out of a very large percentage of American schools, sucks!

 

We need to treat education for what it really is, the only way to end the inequality of our nations residents. Sure I rail against all the loopholes that in my opinion make the top 10% in this country tax dodgers. I also think that we subsidize big energy companies, you know the ones making billions in profits, for more money than it would take to fix our schools and fund them all equally no matter where they are situated. But no matter how you feel, be you left or right leaning, our school system is failing.

 

Ok, here is where I may get a little too radical for some of you. I don’t believe our schools should just be housing students. Students who don’t really want to be there and make it hard for the ones that do should be released. So I propose that school be a privilege, not a mandate. If you do not pay attention in class, are disruptive, or you have been caught breaking the law, the school has the right to not continue to educate you. It should be a privilege to go, and I do not mean everyone has to have a high IQ, only that they are using the school to the best of their ability. Now I know that a howl just went up, but this is one of the most insidious problems with large inner city schools. Gangs, drugs, intimidation, even of teachers, are the norm. We have to change this environment. We also need to have a way for students who have been “let go” to earn a way back in. Complicated, of course. Does this mean we will have more people wandering the streets of large cities with no way to earn a decent wage without resorting to crime, sadly yes. So this idea has to come with ideas about how to handle the problems associated with not using our schools as a place just to house our youth. Part of that, an important part, is what I have already mentioned, funding all schools equally. Paying teachers well and requiring a Masters degree to teach. This way you attract highly qualified professionals to the craft of education. Also we need to allow more freedom for the individual school and teachers to decide how to teach and what to teach. Teachers being the key word, not politicians or school boards who do not hold Masters degrees in teaching disciplines.

 

In our current situation, some form of testing is needed, and the new testing does seem to require the student to think not just learn how to pass the test. However, if what I propose is done, mandated testing would not be needed, and this money could be spent keeping teachers updated and in tune with an ever changing world in order for them to better enrich their students lives.

 

Comments
  1. James Mahon says:

    I’m sure I told you this story John…. Back in the 80’s when I was getting my second degree, I overheard two young men walking up the hall with one saying, “AFTER I finished the test, I started thinking.” Of course I capitalized the after to show the problem, but that story seems to back up a lot of your points.

  2. John Love says:

    I remember the story Jim. One part of a large problem we need to address. I have had high school grads from local schools who could not tell me what time it was without their digital watch. No joke. Reading comprehension, rare, if you could call what they did reading.

  3. Reblogged this on Upskilling America and commented:
    Wake up America and learn.

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