Education

In the pages on this site about QR Code that I have chosen to take off topic, I have talked about the economy and healthcare. I have discuss how both of these hot button issues are being handled quite poorly, and I understand that it probably looks like a lot of complaining. However I do believe that I am just pointing out two symptoms of what is really wrong. The lack of healthcare availability and our struggling economy are indeed big problem, but there is something much deeper at their roots. The gorilla in the room that no one wants to talk about is the mess we have made of our education system.

Our education system is so flawed that our children our being given a sub par education and we can barely afford even that. In a poll done by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2010, the US did not rank above 14th out of 70 counties in the world. We actually placed 25th in math. For being considered a major world power, that is pathetic. Why are our children being robbed of a proper education and why is there no active plan to fix that? The younger generations are our future and we are setting them all up to fail.

There is no enough focus on academics anymore. We are lowering standards just to pass everyone through. We have lost sight on what is in the best interest of our children and focused instead on becoming their enablers. In Japan, students’ grades and test scores are often made public. Instead of promoting competitiveness about a sports team or who has the nicer clothes, there is a competitiveness in academics that is promoted.

In the United States we would never think of doing such a thing. There is too much fear of hurting a student’s feelings. We are teaching our children that it is ok to not apply yourself and failing is all right. Students with poor grades should be concerned and feel bad. No one is trying to encourage a student to commit suicide of a bad test grade, but how does one force him or her to improve if the quality of his or her work is never challenged? It might sound extreme to some people, but with our future so dangerously being threatened, isn’t it time to attempt at least something? Our kids need us to start saving them from this economy and it all goes back to how we educate them. It should be something that we all feel enough passion for that we would try to do anything.

Another difficult subject is the teachers themselves. Almost all of us have that teacher that we connected with, one that we will always remember fondly because of their impact. But if there is even a possibility that there are educators that have let their standards fall, shouldn’t we make sure that they are corrected and not able to hide behind tenure. Our educators are one of our most valuable assets. We cannot allow their integrity to be questioned so it is possible that we could do with some stricter evaluations of their work. Tenure is a dangerous thing if the wrong teachers have it.

The funding of our education system is the other problem. With the money that our government would put into healthcare and failed stimulus packages should be going to our schools and more specifically higher education. We raise up countries with free healthcare as an example of what we want, but why not look to the countries with free higher education instead. Some of the European countries that have outranked us offer free higher education and it seems to have served them well. By making higher education more available to people without going into decades worth of debt, it could change lives. By having stricter criteria and higher test scores needed for college entry, we could ensure as long as students work hard for their education they will be given the chance to continue their education and better their lives.

Another issue is the way that the funds are dispersed in the education system. Are all of our priorities really making sense? I am a strong believer that the arts and athletics are extremely important in a child’s development, but what should take priority? With our cores in reading, math, and science so beneath other countries, perhaps we should look into saving the academics before the music and sports programs. Parents would still have municipal options for sports and arts programs, not to mention stimulating the local economy by going to private instruction if their situation allows.

The biggest battle seems o be out of the hands of both the education system and the government. And that is the battle of making sure that parents are involved in education of their children. For every parent that reads and studies with their children there are also those that don’t. We will not improve this country’s dire situation until that changes. This is much harder to solve, as it is a difficult thing to alter someone’s value system. It is a trait of our society and not one to be proud of.

In the end, improving our education standards and pushing our children to once again be the best will put us on the road to recovery. A proper education will help our children not only find better employment but also it will make them become the minds that will change the world. They will be the generation that comes up with wiser and more efficient solutions to the economy. And their chances being better at getting gainful employment also mean that they will be able to afford health insurance through employers. There is no magic fix to any of the messes that we have made, but there is hope that we will save our children fro being the ones to have to clean them up. And at the very least let’s help them have the education that will make sure that they do not make our same mistakes.