Does anyone want to hazard a guess at where America falls on the educational charts when compared to other countries? Anyone? When last I checked the USA was either 15th or 17th in the world when it came to the quality of the education that the average student receives, and for a nation that prides itself on being the top country in the world that sets the pace for all others that just doesn’t seem right.
Why is that? Why in the world does a nation that seems to pride itself on so much fall so far below the world average when it comes to education? Well there are a few valid reasons that people might not like to hear since to many the USA is the greatest nation in the world and of course we can’t be faulted for the problems that are plaguing our own educational system. If you didn’t catch the sarcasm in that statement it’s because type doesn’t transmit it as well as live speech.
But anyway, here’s just a few ideas as to why we’re falling so far behind.
The quality of our education is lacking in many ways.
We’re raised to think that education is important, but at the same time as kids we see that even those that don’t have a college or even high school education manage to find jobs and do fairly well in life. The unfortunate part about this is that we don’t always see the hardship that comes from not having an education and being able to do what you want, where you want, and when you want to do it.
Education in other countries is fiercely competitive and unlike the USA, where shame is not deemed as acceptable and is in fact simply abhorrent, some countries simply don’t care who’s shamed in favor of someone else advancing. It’s a matter of who’s the best, who’s the most qualified, and who can reach their goals and break through their limits, not who’s feeling badly about themselves because they want to perform half measures and get by on doing the minimum amount.
This is where our educational system begins to fail. We consistently lower our standards so that those that either can’t or don’t want to try to succeed bring down the national average. Those that excel do so on their own, while the rest that simply want life handed to them are accommodated first and foremost in their adult lives by the system that’s charged with educating them and pushing them to new heights. It’s hard to learn anything when a D-average is able to get you an education.
Sports is our main concern, not the education that is required to earn it.
Granted, a lot of athletes will work hard in the classroom to get good grades and push themselves through school so that they can compete, but too many still bank on getting into their desired school for sports and have dreams and aspirations of reaching pro level to think about their education. By the time they either realize their dreams of going pro aren’t going to happen or their pro career is finished it’s imperative to know that they have something to fall back on. While some do in fact make good use of the education that was necessary to get them there, others treat their education as an ends to a mean, meaning that they have nothing left when all is said and done.
Sports in other countries are a leisure activity and not to be taken so seriously, but in the USA sports become everything for some athletes, even at the cost of a valuable and priceless education.
Too many of the students in the USA don’t believe the system has anything to offer them.
It could also be that by living in the “Me” generation that education has become more of an option than a requirement. Too many young folks these days, even those that work to maintain a solid GPA, are too self-oriented to believe that the educational system has anything to offer. They won’t give their undivided attention to the system largely because they want the end reward as incentive rather than the work that is meant to help them achieve that end result. It’s a matter of “I want” instead of “I want to learn”.
There are still many students that will put their nose to the metaphorical grindstone and do what is expected in order to achieve their goals, but too many these days want what comes after the work before ever opening a textbook or studying for a single test. The “Me First” generation is here and is in full effect, creating a very negative effect by demanding everything while learning nothing.
It’d be great if all these problems were easily solvable, but it’s going to take some time, and possibly the bottoming out of the system to finally realize where we’re going wrong.