I have recently been trying to gather a general consensus about what people feel should happen with the declining education system in America. From the impression I get, people simply understand that public education is failing but are dumbfounded on what to do about it. Some say more money should be generated to fund the system, others say it’s cultural decay and that the failing educational system is a symptom of the ever sedentary, consumption based generations being raised, while others simply say education has many quick fixes.
All these thoughts have their own merits and I can obviously agree with most. Although I would argue that cultural decay is just a symptom of a poorly educated public. The United States is currently near or at the bottom of developed countries in Math and Science (and Id say Social Sciences). That is nearly the bulwark of the educational curriculum, and we are doing poorly in all of them.
When I think and read about the contemporary educational system I come away with the thought, that learning and teaching has become almost passe. The human desire to learn must not be destroyed early in ones life – thus we need the education system to adapt with changing times and innovate ways to keep learning fun and remain a persons life goal to obtain as much information and knowledge as possible. This can be done in various ways e.g. the Internet should be integrated more because it is the information super highway and has boundless information (and misinformation).
Though educational innovation is at a stand still (compared to other countries) in the super bureaucracy that is American public education. Innovation in America has been spurred for many years by use of incentives, but in the monopoly that is public education, innovation has been destroyed. Why in a country that values competitiveness and innovation would education be barred from this? Im not an expert on how education has progressed over the years but it is a fact that the United States educational system was once the wonder of the world – sadly no longer.
Voucher based education systems have been a huge success in Europe. A voucher system is simply a system where money is sent directly to the students for their use to spend on the school of the kids and their parents choice. This means that schools compete with one another to offer the best education, graduation rates, ect so that they receive the funding. This requires schools to hold teachers accountable and innovate new ways to teach/ mold kids into the best and the brightest they can be.
We have many barriers to this type of system. One I can think of right off the bat is teachers unions who make it almost impossible for schools to fire the incompetent and create a merit based pay system for the teachers. There are horror stories everyday of teachers who can’t get fired even when they are proven sex offenders, ect. For more interesting stories on this please read Central Falls Rhode Island Fires Every High School Teacher
I also posted a article a few weeks ago about how our education system has changed (With great thanks to Charles Hugh Smith and his wonderful blog) . Its worth the read if you havent read already….
Education should not be directed only towards generating and producing children into the workforce. Like the previous link ” how education has changed ” I believe classical education has lost out. I don’t mean to generalize but, the ever increasing fascination with celebrities and the declining values of what it takes to be a celebrity (e.g. every egocentric, moronic reality show put on TV nowadays) just goes to show how poor of a job the education system has done. Contemporary journalism (if you can call it that) has been destructing, and politics has become a name calling barrage of non-sense – these all are symptoms of a poor education system. A democracy cannot function without an informed and intelligent public. The war in Iraq is a symptom of a poorly functioning democracy. Education is part of the ecosystem of life so to speak, everything is intertwined.
I have rambled a bit here, but simply put, if we let education erode then we reap the consequences and the country will slowly erode. To stop this we must take action, demand action, and change the status quo. We should copy what works and make it even better! – a voucher system of schools competing and ever innovating, which will improve our nations education. It’s not like the United States hasn’t done that before, we have always copied and improved upon a vast array of things. Lets start now….
Next up…. Colleges insane debt servitude