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The Problem With U.S. Education
There are a great number of problems within the United States Public School System, but the main one is frighteningly simple - our kids are not learning efficiently.
If you're surprised right now - that's ok, most people probably would be if they heard someone say that kids are not learning efficiently in U.S. public schools. But if you're not surprised, you'll probably know what I'm talking about.
Here are some major problems rooted within our public school system:
* Lack of incentives
* Government involvement
* The grading system
* Poor performance overall
Lack of Incentives
Right now, the only institution that has control over the public school system is the government at the federal and state level. It's the governments in charge of the respective jurisdictions that have the right to teach public school attendees anything and everything. They have all the power in you or your child's education. Now you may think, "well, that's a good thing, right?"
Just think of it this way - only one institution, called the government, is in control of every single aspect of education in the United States. It's the same thing as one company in control of an entire industry - and what is that called? Monopolization.
John Stossel of 20/20 had called the public school system a "government monopoly" in his report titled, "Stupid in America." (you can see it on the Links page of this site.)
Now, if a company has a monopoly over an industry, they have full control over it. They have no competition. With no competition, they do not need to serve their customers well - since they are the only distributors of a certain kind of item, and everyone has to go to them or not have it at all, why bother with treating them with adequate service?
And that's what's going on in America's public schools. The government is the only institution with complete control on the public school system, and since there is no competition between each school, there is no incentive to improve.
Federal and State Government Involvement
Another problem with the public school system is that the federal and state governments have too much involvement in the public school system.
First of all - it's the government that decides what kids in America learn. To make matters worse, the parents have no say in what their child learns. When it comes to controversial issues like teaching creationism, evolution, sex education, etc., the parents definitely have their views on the issue.
Furthermore, the government makes matters very hard and complicated for people who want to withdraw from the public school system and pursue an alternative form of education; homeschooling is one example. This only applies to few states, but sometimes the state government imposes such strict laws against alternative forms of education that it would seem pointless to try and receive another form of education.
The Grading System
Grades, whether on a numerical or letter scale, is treated like a way of how smart a kid is in a particular area of study. That is, at least, how students take it.
Whenever students get a bad grade on an exam, it is not unusual to see them walking around with a negative attitude, saying things like, "I'm stupid" or "I can't do this."
What this does is kill a student's love for learning, by making them say all these negative comments. It also makes kids compare each other, by categorizing someone who received a bad grade on a test "stupid," and someone who scored perfectly on a test a "genius." This can make kids feel inferior or superior to one another; neither of which are good.
Poor Performance Overall
If you look at some of the statistics, the United States is falling behind other countries like South Korea, Japan, and Finland, the countries with the best education.
All of this could be attributed to the many flaws in United States public education. Laziness of students, teachers, and parents are also at fault. Since there are no incentives for improvement, teachers do not have to be their best if they don't want to. Not to mention, many teachers' unions around the nation try to prevent the firing of a teacher as much as possible. Students also take some of the blame, because they are obviously not trying their best and having a generally negative attitude, but this is mostly the fault of the government for not providing a proper system that works for most public school attendees. And last but not least, the lack of responsibility parents have in education, again a governmental flaw, because they do not let parents have any involvement in education, wearing away at parents' sense of responsibility for their child's education.