Further Evidence of the Failure of the Public School System

I just recently read a short article in Scientific American that is making me feel more concerned about the state of our educational system.  A venture capitalist wrote the article, and he focuses on educational projects for the firm.  Essentially, data is showing more and more immigrants are getting higher percentage of bachelors, masters, and doctorates.  In many cases these foreign students fly back to their home country, because there is better opportunity for them there than in the states.  First, the private sector is not hiring, and if they are, a masters will lead the life most are looking for.  The amount of people with college degrees working a minimum wage job has increased, and the average amount of money one can earn with a college degree has decreased.  It seems that if a person commits to going to college, they must commit to getting a masters.  So why are all these foreign students consuming a larger portion of the degree pie?  It is simple.  The public school system of the United States are not preparing students for college level work.  Considering the numbers involved, it is apparent that it is a systemic failure rather than the students’.  Sure there are students that put their failure in their own hands, but the drastic changes in the numbers can allow for the assumption that there are systemic issues at play.

There are multiple ways in which we could reform our education.  A TED talk that I will never forget, talked about the fundamental changes we should make towards education.  The first that comes to mind was recognizing how a certain child learns.  Do they learn best in a group, or by themselves?  If the child interacts in a group, how big of a group does the child learn best?  Teachers should be tailored and trained to identify, and it may just require asking some questions, on how the child responded to a given activity.  Eventually, activities would be tailored to how the children learn best.  I would of been the loner.  I would of loved to be able to pick from a collection of books which one to read, and then to just sit at a desk and read.  When it came to science and math, they were my strong suits but I needed a teacher to explain key concepts that other ideas were founded upon.  Excellent teachers are priceless, and I think we should put into place incentives for teachers to have their students perform better on exams.  If their students are performing well, then they systematically get a raise in pay.  If the performance of students are declining over time, then pay should be removed.  This idea was expressed in the Washington D.C. city schools, and the teacher lobby voted against it.  A lot of the teachers don’t teach anything if at all, while students are in the back smoking crack or weed.  The teachers are there to earn money and do nothing, while the students burn their time with drugs and gangs.

Those schools we need to help the most.  Their community doesn’t have the tax revenue to provide for good community schools.  And, where there is bad schools, there is bad neighborhoods and crime.  Simply, if a student drops out or figures there is no point into trying in school because their school performs so poorly, then they will resort to living on the streets.  And in order to survive, people turn to crime.  It is a vicious cycle.  The poor performing schools don’t have the financial resources to improve their facilities and faculty, and more students end their educational journey.  They don’t work a high paying job.  So therefore there isn’t substantial tax money to help the school out.  And so people continue getting in trouble and populate our prison systems.  It costs about $44,000 a year to sustain an inmate.  I think it is money worth spending to decrease the amount of people we have to sustain at a given time in the prison system.  That is a solid investment.  But that means helping some very poor people.  And frankly many American’s don’t like it, especially after the Welfare system.  The Welfare system was a fluke, but that just means that methodology didn’t work.  I firmly believe there are solutions out there that would benefit the poorest of schools into making them a thriving institution.  We would have to monitor the schools like an investment, and figure out where more money should be spent or saved.  There should be reforms on how teachers get paid, as well as administrators.  Schools should embrace technology and promote the usage of it.  Finally, schools should have a set plan to eventually seeing their students reach the goal of college and beyond.

Recently there has been a new curriculum pushed to some public schools across the country for grades K-12.  It provides a full plan on how to get students ready for the college scene.  I honestly think there should be a core curriculum required by all schools to follow, so that the public education system is in touch with higher education.  There is a danger to this methodology however.  Putting forth federal regulations on what people should know – if under the wrong hands – will create an educational system that is used as a barrier to revolution of an oppressive government.  Honestly though, I find no alternative in getting our schools out of such a dire spot.  I think tax money needs to be poured into education with nation wide reform.  I think better schools would be a stepping stone to ridding this country of poverty.  With a decrease in poverty, there would be a decrease in crime, which is money saved for everyone on many levels.  Plus, there would be more tax paying citizens, providing funds to not only the government but consuming goods and services.

Currently Washington is battling healthcare.  That is a battle that needs to be fought.  But I hope after things stabilize a leader will take aim for education.  We should be investing in ourselves, not dishing out our knowledge to other countries.  Better education not only produces revenue, but decreases the costs of crime and dependency.  Finally, it fights poverty.  It is just a humane thing to do to try and deter this problem of poverty.  The current welfare system doesn’t work.  We all know this, and we all should learn from it.  But that doesn’t mean we should give up!  If we could provide transitional housing for people on the streets to either further educate/certify themselves, or for aid in finding work, we should provide it.  It is a good thing to do for a fellow human being, and it benefits society as a whole.

With that said, it is apparent that our educational system is failing us.  I just hope enough people care to reform our public school system.


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