American Education: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

1606 words - 7 pages

The United States has proven to be a world leader with their powerful military, democratic government, and stringent foreign policies. There is one category however, the United States struggles to be number one in, education. As shocking as this may sound, the public school system in America is not superior to other developing countries. I have witnessed this scandalous phenomena firsthand, engrossed in the public school system from kindergarten to freshman year of high school. The student body and the school administration is morphing into a nonproductive system with a zombie-like attitude. American students lack academic drive and curiosity compared to European and Asian countries because ...view middle of the document...

With teachers having a callous mentality about students in poverty, they lower the standard for both the student and themselves as an educator. Similarly, the U.S. government mimics the same approach a teacher would in the same situation. Government policies, depending on which state the student lives in, also suppress the “rigor of curriculum in schools” and lower the standard for test scores. The teacher has to go by what the state and the school board wants them to teach, giving the teacher no educational freedom. Having no educational freedom means no educational progress. The results for other countries, however, is polar opposite of the United States’ educational system and the statistics prove this contrast.
American students are academically mediocre compared to the rest of the world. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Opportunity (OECD), American students rank thirty-sixth out of sixty-five countries in the Program for International Student Assessment, preferred as PISA (Brown). This assessment is given every three years to fifteen year olds in countries representing eighty percent of the global economy. Intriguingly, seven out of ten countries that placed in the top ten were from Eastern Asia, and Shanghai ranked first overall in reading, math, and science out of all participating countries. The top ten includes world powers like China, Japan, and Singapore. The PISA results in 2012 indicated that “...disadvantaged students show less engagement, drive, motivation, and self-beliefs...” (Results from PISA 2012). American students from a low income area stated that there were many difficult questions; students skipped over or went back to these questions later. Middle class Americans were less likely to skip over questions. Contrarily, eighty percent of students of all backgrounds in the Eastern Asian region disagreed that there were difficult problems given during the test. Sixty-eight percent of those students persevered through questions that they thought were challenging. From these statistics, Eastern countries' education systems appear to be more advanced and effective than American systems. This harsh contrast leaves Americans pondering what steps need to be taken to resolve this incessant issue.
If the United States desires to improve their educational standards, then they should start taking notes on the countries that are already academically progressing. Finland for example, holds a unique philosophy on how their students learn. With light homework loads, little standardized testing, and no honors courses, “[socialization]” and “self-reflection” take a more prominent role in the school system (Wilde). Professor Jouni Välijärvi of the Institute for Educational Research at the University of Jyväskylä states the reason why Finland is a successful nation academically is because, “Students are not sorted into different groups or schools but different types of learners [that] are learning together” (Wilde)....

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