US education system needs an update
Education in America is in a state of decay. With damaging policies like No Child Left Behind, (NCLB) we continue to fall lower in the global rankings of math, science and reasoning. America continues to voice its concerns, and promises continue to be delivered. However, the budget for education continues to be cut.
Dropout and delinquency rates are reaching an all-time high. There is a plague of apathy infecting students on a national scale. This is not because our generation is getting less intelligent. The problem is the American education system.
The over-regulated system we have in place teaches memorization instead of a more flexible curriculum that advocates problem solving skills, the promotion of student life-goals and allows students to reach their own conclusions about the subject matter they are studying.
Current textbooks tend to give mediocre information due to trivialization, omission and the manipulation of facts. This is coupled with the repetition of basic subject matter because of an oversensitivity to political correctness.
Furthermore, our method of educating students is often flavored with a strong American exceptionalism. There is a general refusal to change and become more open-minded toward information and policies even though the times deem it necessary.
Who is to blame for the state of America’s education system? Is it the teachers, unions, state and federal governments, students or the parents? The truth is, there is enough blame to go around. Teacher labor unions are often criticized for opposing meaningful reforms that could increase competition and for protecting lousy teachers while failing to reward the good.
And, true parental involvement often ends at kindergarten when it should be present through the duration of a young person’s schooling. However, parents are not the only ones who share a part of the blame.
Sometimes individual students need to be held accountable for their poor performance. It doesn’t matter how good the school or teacher is if the student doesn’t do the work and the parents do nothing to stop him or her. This attitude is only reinforced by the increasing amount of laws that lower standards and encourage a lack of student accountability and responsibility. School systems are subsequently deprived of the power and support to handle such problem students.
Universities are also not exempt from criticism. Every year students hang their heads at the reality of textbook price gouging, rising tuition fees, decreases in financial aid and frequently cut academic programs due to a great lack of government funding to public universities. This leaves students distraught at the idea of stumbling headlong into a future of unimaginable debt — if it’s not too expensive for them to attend college altogether.
Even though the issue is starting to gain more attention from a majority of America, the sense of urgency required from lawmakers is nonexistent. Education should always be the top priority and investment of our country. The payoff has a direct impact on the crime rate, the economy and the overall stability and progress of our nation. No civilization was ever toppled because its citizens were too educated and its educational system too effective.
Part of our American ideology has always been America is best. But it is a depressing thought, indeed, if we are currently the best we can be.
Marcus Smith is a creative writing sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].