In the United States, we like to pride ourselves on being the best at things. We spend more money than any other nation on our military, health care, and education. Unfortunately, simply throwing money at things doesn’t make you the best at them. 👀
Our military, despite having the budget of the next ten biggest spenders combined, is tremendously wasteful and is constantly used as a destabilizing force in regions we wish to dominate or exploit.
Our healthcare system, despite occupying the world’s number one spot for per capita expenditure, is routinely ranked the worst in the developed world in terms of access, efficiency, and effectiveness.
While each of these topics deserves its own story, in this article we’re going to focus on the US Education system, why it’s failing our students and teachers, and what we can do to fix it.
Think back to your time in school. What do you remember❓
Early mornings, long windowless hallways punctuated by locked doors, a strictly regimented schedule. Your school life was dictated by the authority of the teacher, who conditioned you with countless commands every day:
- Sit down.
- Open your textbook to page ten.
- Stop talking.
- Line up.
You were punished for speaking to classmates, making a joke, or coming in a single minute late. You had to get permission to use the restroom. Class started with a bell and ended with a bell.
There’s another kind of institution that follows a similar structure. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that in the US, many of the same architects who designed our prisons also designed our schools.
For many of us, school is an unpleasant memory. Sure, most of us had fun with friends we made in class, but that fun was exclusive to outside of school hours. Odds are, the memory of your education itself is pretty negative. Besides the experience of attending an American school, the outcomes the system produces are also less than stellar.
Despite our cultural obsession with getting American students to perform well in standardized testing, our scores fall squarely in the middle of the pack compared to other industrialized nations. This single-mindedness also has a more critical consequence.
By demanding our teachers simply prepare students for testing rather than foster an effective learning environment, we end up with students who not only forget everything they crammed into their heads immediately after taking the test but also lack the skills required to learn effectively. ❌
The students aren’t the only ones suffering
The US has exceptionally high teacher turnover due to low pay and long hours and compounding the problem, a teacher shortage. So to sum up the problem, our students are unhappy, perform poorly, and don’t gain the critical skills they need, and our teachers are unhappy and overworked, and we don’t have enough of them to meet a growing need.
A country depends on its young people, those who will grow up and take the reins from the previous generations. So why are we failing them so badly?
Before we get into some potential solutions, we need to understand the three main problems plaguing the American education system. These are the system’s outdatedness, its underfunding, and its privatization. The lack of funding and the rapid privatization of the education system go hand in hand.
So let’s start there! 😀
When you think of the average school, whether elementary, middle, or high school, you’re generally thinking about a public institution. Right?
That is, a school that is federally funded and tasked with providing education to all people of the appropriate age in a given school district, free of charge.
Public schools exist in the US. since before it officially became a country, but the first board of education was established in Massachusetts in 1837. The person spearheading the education initiative, Horace Mann, believed that public education was the best way to overcome poverty, bridge social gaps, and prepare young people to enter the workforce.
The federal Department of Education was established 30 years later with the goal of standardizing and helping to implement education across the country. What may be surprising to some is that private schools actually predate public schools in the US.
As early as the 1660s, individual teachers were offering their services to young people and adults as a way to supplement their income. This private schooling often took place in the evenings and was less structured than typical day school.
By the beginning of the American Revolution, private schools had become pretty well established and were favored by those who could afford their fees. Fastforward to more modern times, and like with healthcare and infrastructure, we see a problem with accelerating privatization.
The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution that occurred in British America between 1765 and…en.wikipedia.org
The practice of privatization is simple. It entails the handing off of once-public responsibilities to privately owned companies.
Since the 1980s, there’s been a consensus, a deeply flawed one nonetheless, that there’s nothing the government can do that the private sector can’t do better (the word better is doing some heavy lifting here).
Private companies often get things done more quickly or with a greater profit. But what free market enthusiasts fail to realize is that the outcomes are incredibly damaging, as is the case with American healthcare, or extremely fragile, as evidenced by private infrastructure projects.
Take the Texas power grid, for example which it’s entirely deregulated and allows them to cut costs and make a greater profit. It also sets them up for disaster, as we saw with the recent winter storm that completely knocked out the state’s power and left millions stranded in freezing conditions.
In February 2021, the state of Texas suffered a major power crisis, which came about during three severe winter storms…en.wikipedia.org
This article was published in partnership with The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan local newsroom that informs…www.nbcnews.com
The lights have stayed on in Texas among the recent freezes the state has been experiencing, but experts aren’t sure…abcnews.go.com
Of course, a crisis like this is considered an acceptable risk when there’s a nice profit to be had. This free-market logic has slowly seeped into the realm of education.
Over the past couple of decades, various federal initiatives have provided parents with the option of using federal funds to send their children to private schools.
Whether by providing so-called school choice vouchers or allowing for the possibility of school transfers where students can move from low-performing schools to higher-performing private schools.
This has led to a number of problems and the most obvious is that by spending federal money to incentivize parents to enroll their children in private schools, they’ve robbed public schools of badly needed funding.
Why spend money to move kids around when you could simply fund the schools that are designed to be funded by that money?
Because of this practice, public schools face a vicious cycle.
- There’s not enough money to pay teachers, so teachers leave, which leads to more students in each class, which overwhelms the remaining teachers. ❌
- There’s not enough money for school supplies or even basic school maintenance, which leads to unsafe learning environments. ❌
These problems compound over time, which makes the schools perform worse, which then suggests to the federal government that they’re doing the right thing by incentivizing the move to private schools.
If the private schools perform better and the average parent can afford them, why not just abandon public schools❓🤐
There are a few reasons, some innate, for how private schools operate and some based on the responsibility of the federal government.
First and foremost, it has been long established that the state has a responsibility to provide access to free education to every student.
This is non-negotiable, at least for now. If public schools didn’t exist, there would be students who could not afford to go to private school.
Since education is right, this is unacceptable so for the time being, the federal government cannot reasonably get rid of public schools entirely.
The other issues stem from the private schools themselves. By their very nature, private schools are not beholden to any kind of governance when it comes to what is taught within their walls. All they have to do is provide proof that their education meets basic educational standards. This has led to an upsurge in what can be considered reactionary, or, as the schools prefer, traditional education.
What this means, in essence, is that most private schools are intensely religious, conservative, and insular. Their student body is overwhelmingly white, Christian, and wealthy.
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a parent wanting their child to get a religious education but the problem is in the US Christianity has been coopted by conservatism.
Gone are the days when people understood Jesus to be a brown communist from the Middle East who railed against the rich and preached inclusion, decency, and the value of living humbly.
Most American Christians have grafted the language of conservatism onto their faith, embracing homophobia, racism, unfettered free market economics, and a rabid hatred for anything that could be considered even remotely socialist.
This is not an accident❗️
The political right has adopted religiously patriotic language in an attempt to secure a large and dedicated evangelical voting bloc. And it’s worked!
In modern private schools it’s not uncommon to see PragerU videos shown in class. It’s not uncommon to see economics classes that espouse the suicidal free market ideology of Friedman and Rand.
PragerU is the world’s leading conservative nonprofit that is focused on changing minds through the creative use of…www.prageru.com
History classes portray the US. as the good guy in every conflict, including those where we were clearly in the wrong (you probably already saw that in all kinds of Netflix documentaries). Today’s, supposedly, Christian education would not be recognized as such by Jesus of the Bible.
Instead, it’s a new religion, the religion of free-market conservatism. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that those in power are doing their best to get more students enrolled in private schools. Indoctrinating them into the cult of capitalism while they’re young is the only way they can produce more pro-corporate voters. Heck, judging by what we’ve seen recently, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see public schools go the same way.
The previous administration even suggested the creation of a Commission for Patriotic Education, a slate of pro-America capitalist-imperialist propaganda.
In austere, starkly divisive remarks, President Trump on Thursday said he would create a commission to promote…www.npr.org
This disturbing trend towards privatization and capitalist indoctrination aside, perhaps the bigger problem with American education is the fact that the entire system is simply outdated.
Remember the Massachusetts School Board? The one established in 1837?
The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education ( BESE) is the state education agency responsible for…en.wikipedia.org
Well, that’s when the standards for education were established.
The stated goal was to educate young people, but if you take a look at how school was and is structured, it becomes more clear what education is actually for.
Like it is today, the school day was strictly regimented where teachers expected absolute obedience. The bell instructed students when the day began and ended, and punishment was doled out for any perceived noncompliance.
If the students retained some basic arithmetic, great. But the real goal was to produce obedient, servile workers for the factories of the Industrial Revolution.
Though a few innovations were developed as early as the 1700s, the Industrial Revolution began in earnest by the 1830s…www.history.com
Step onto a factory floor, and what’s expected❓
Obedience, focus, and the ability to follow instructions for hours on end. ✔️
The day even began and ended with a bell. School was then, and remains today, an instrument to instill discipline and to mass produce agreeable little cogs for the industrial machine.
The standardization of schooling ensured these cogs were nice and uniform, easily replaceable, and expendable.
Today, nearly two centuries later, factory labor is no longer the prime driver of the economy. Companies still need workers, but they demand a new set of skills as young people entering the workforce are expected to be flexible, creative, and on call at unreasonable hours.
Even from a capitalist perspective, modern-day schooling does not adequately prepare our students for the real world. Of course, preparing students for a lifetime of servitude should not be the goal of a good education. 🎓
Let’s examine the main issues in regards to outdatedness. Which of these two hypothetical classes sounds more applicable to real life? Latin or home economics? Guess which one is more commonly taught?
If the goal of school is to prepare kids for the real world, as we’re meant to believe, we are doing our students a great disservice. Why don’t we teach home economics classes? Why don’t we teach high schoolers how to file taxes? What about useful things like basic first aid? 😬
We simply don’t teach applicable skills. ✖️
Then there’s the fact that school curriculum just hasn’t kept pace with advancements in modern technology. Basic computer classes are offered as electives, if at all. Even less common are video production, digital art coding, web design, 3D modeling, and countless other modern skills. We’re letting students down when we don’t familiarize them with modern tools.
Imagine if public schools had the funding for even a handful of art tablets or iPads. Kids could come out of middle school with skills they could translate into a rewarding career or hobby by the time they graduated from high school or college.
Okay, so what are some solutions we could pursue❓
It’s all well and good to teach better classes, but that only addresses part of the problem because the root cause of many of the issues our education system faces is that we simply don’t have an incentive to teach our students.
As with anything in America, if there’s no financial incentive, nothing will change. ❌
The profit motive is the bottom line. ✅
Private schools have an incentive to at least prepare students for standardized testing so that their parents will be happy and keep paying tens of thousands of dollars per year for tuition. But that education comes packaged with truly damaging ideology, so making private schools more accessible would not be a long-term solution, as those students would go on to pass even more ludicrous free-market education reforms.
Vocational schools are an option if we truly believe the only purpose of education should be to prepare students for the job market. There’s a lot to be said for picking a trade and excelling in it: Electricians, welders, AC technicians — these are all critical roles in our society. ☑️
One problem with these schools is that they typically come with tuition, which can be a difficult burden for many families.
Homeschooling is another option, though, in the US. it often carries a similar connotation to private schools. Many homeschooled children come from very religious backgrounds and are kept separate from other kids their age, which can lead to serious developmental issues.
That being said, there are plenty of homeschooling programs that include on-location learning, such as in museums or on community college campuses. This offers a more diverse, hands-on experience for students and can provide an excellent learning environment, depending on the child. ✅
There is something we don’t discuss enough in the US: Appropriate education depends on the child!
- We don’t all learn the same way. ✔️
- Some students learn more quickly than others. ✔️
- Some require hands-on experience. ✔️
- Others learn simply by watching or listening. ✔️
By creating one single standardized educational template, we’re trying to standardize a whole spectrum of humanity,and that just doesn’t work.
There are some types of education, such as those found in Montessori schools, that try to foster a more diverse learning environment by allowing students to learn at different paces and having students who grasp subjects more quickly work with those who are struggling.
Montessori education helps develop all aspects of the child. What is Montessori education? For more than a century now…amshq.org
This not only allows more room for personal growth but also fosters empathy and interpersonal skills. The jury is still out on whether Montessori schools are strictly better than more traditional education, but some studies seem to say pretty conclusively that their students fare better than those in standard schools overall.
The moral of the story is that, like always, privatization is harming the majority in the pursuit of ever greater profits.
The defunding of public schools has caused our country to slip further and further behind our peer nations. Our inability to keep up with the times has produced students who are woefully underequipped to compete with students from other countries. Even from a capitalist perspective, it should be clear that our education system isn’t working. And maybe that’s the point.
Maybe for the ruling class, it’s desirable for the average American student to fail so that they’re forced to take the lower-paying jobs that generate huge profits for their executives.
Whether that’s the case or not, I think it’s safe to say that we cannot expect the federal government to solve the problem.
For at least the past 40 years, they’ve been completely controlled by massive corporations and will continue to trend towards suicidal free market nonsolutions.
Instead, I would suggest that education on the community level could be a worthwhile endeavor. If we expanded the idea of homeschooling to include other members of your community, we could create localized educational templates that not only allowed for more individualized expression but also catered to the needs and unique perspectives of each community.
- Local experts could teach small classes in their respective fields. ✅
- Students could learn the history of their town, city, or region. ✅
- Parents could build a network of trust where they could all help supervise or teach each other’s children, which in turn would strengthen the community by fostering cooperation, friendship, and empathy. ✅
These communities could engage in some sort of small-scale exchange program, such as day or week-long trips where students could experience the realities of different communities, which would provide them with worldly experience and a refreshing change of pace.
We tend to get stuck in the notion that what we have now is the only possibility, whether that’s in regards to health care, entire economic systems, or education. There are so many improvements we could make, so many possibilities worth exploring, and few are more important than how we teach the next generation.
- We spend more money than any other nation on our military, health care and education.
- The lack of funding and the rapid privatization of the education system go hand in hand. Over the past couple of decades, various federal initiatives have provided parents the option of using federal funds to send their children to private schools. What free market enthusiasts fail to realize is that the outcomes are incredibly damaging.
- American education is simply outdated. The real goal was to produce obedient, servile workers for the factories of the Industrial Revolution. School curriculum just hasn’t kept pace with advancements in modern technology. The root cause of many of the issues our education system faces is that we simply don’t have an incentive to teach our students.
- In the US. appropriate education depends on the child. The defunding of public schools has caused our country to slip further and further behind our peer nations. Education on the community level could be a worthwhile endeavor.
🚀 U.S. Education FAQs: The Real Lowdown! 🚀
Hey there, knowledge hunter! Welcome to the world of American education—where the stakes are high and the questions are plenty. Whether you’re a curious soul, or just looking to win an argument on Twitter, you’ve come to the right place. Strap in and let’s get scholastic! 🎒🍎
1. Dude, is the USA even good at this whole education thing?
Oh, buddy! Let’s start with a biggie. The US does have some stellar institutions, and top-notch programs.
Pros: Many of the world’s leading universities are here, creating cutting-edge research.
🎓 Cons: When we look at the broader picture—like primary and secondary education—the US has its challenges, especially with standardization and equal opportunity.
Quote to chew on:
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X
2. Why’s America considered a top dog in education?
It’s not just about size; it’s how you use it! 😉 America invests BIG BUCKS in research and innovation. Plus, universities like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford have set gold standards. It’s like if the world’s education systems were pizzas, the US would have all the extra toppings! 🍕 But hey, more toppings can also mean more mess.
3. Is the US the global teacher’s pet in education?
Sorry, folks! We ain’t the valedictorian. According to the OECD PISA rankings, countries like Finland and Singapore often snatch the top spots.
The US? We’re often floating in the middle. It’s like being the middle child – important but sometimes overlooked. 😅
4. Is American ed the world’s Beyoncé?
In some ways, YES! 🎤💃 We’re talking superstar universities, cutting-edge research, and world-changing innovations. But, remember, even Queen B has off days. Our public schooling has room for improvement, and don’t even get me started on student debts. 😩
Rank ‘Em Up: Education Showdown!
🔥 Quick Fire Round 🔥
- Which country is the smarty pants of education? Finland often tops the charts. They’re like the Hermione Granger of countries.
- Where does the US stand? It’s complicated. We’re not the jocks, but we’re also not the nerds. We’re like the cool drama club that occasionally drops the ball in Math. 🎭➗
- States in the US – who’s leading and who’s…well…not?Massachusetts often gets gold stars, while unfortunately, states like Mississippi have challenges to tackle.
Insider Tip: If you’re looking to experience the creme de la creme of American education, consider exchange programs.
Experience is the best teacher, after all!
Europe vs. USA: The Education Olympics!
European education is like a classic novel—structured, deep, and heavy on basics. 📚
The US? We’re like a blockbuster movie—flashy, versatile but sometimes lacking depth.
Pros of European education: More affordable, focused, and a well-rounded curriculum.
Cons: Less flexibility in course choices.
Pros of US education: Diverse choices, holistic approach, and more emphasis on extracurriculars.
Cons: 💸💸💸 It’s expensive, y’all!
What’s dragging the US behind?
Imagine building a skyscraper on shaky ground. That’s the US education system—lofty goals but a few foundational cracks. Issues include unequal funding, outdated curriculums, and a one-size-fits-all approach.
Anecdote Time: Remember that kid in school who’d always finish their lunch but still want your fries? 🍟
That’s the US – great appetite for learning but needs to work on its sharing skills.
Crunching the Numbers
|Metric||USA’s Rank||Top Country|
|Math Proficiency||Needs improvement||Singapore|
|Reading Skills||Doing okay!||Canada|
Rankings are cool and all, but it’s not just about numbers. Every system has its unique strengths and quirks!
Closing Thoughts 🌅
The US education system is a wild rollercoaster 🎢—ups, downs, twists, and turns. It’s got flair, pizzazz, and a sprinkle of chaos. While there’s work to do, the passion for learning burns bright.
So, whether you’re looking to study in the US, just curious, or fact-checking a friend, remember: Education, wherever it is, is what you make of it!
Keep learning, stay curious, and remember, stay sassy, not too classy! 😉📚🍎
P.S. J.K. Rowling once said,
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” So, choose to learn, grow, and rock on! 🤘
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Back to School: The Ultimate U.S. Education FAQ!
1. Is the USA good in education?
Oh, for sure, in some respects! The U.S. boasts some of the world’s top universities. But, like with every pop quiz, there’s always a tricky part.
On a K-12 level, the results are a bit more mixed. Some states are ace, while others are… well, hitting the books harder.
2. Why is America top in education?
Bragging rights: The U.S. is home to globally renowned institutions and groundbreaking research. Think of it as having the Michael Jordan of higher education institutions. 🏀
But, access and equality in education? That’s a buzzer-beater shot we’re still working on.
3. Which country has the best education?
Finland often gets the gold medal here. Their system emphasizes teacher training and student well-being.
Imagine the educational version of a well-oiled IKEA manual – clear, efficient, and surprisingly easy!
4. Is US education the best in the world?
- In higher ed? We’re rockstars 🎸.
- In primary and secondary ed? We’ve got some off-key notes.
5. Is the US the best-educated country?
Hate to break it to ya, but no. While we’ve got a solid percentage of degree-holders, countries like Canada and Japan have us beat in terms of overall higher education attainment.
6. Is the US number 1 in education?
I wish, buddy. The US has its strengths, but on global rankings, especially in K-12 education, we ain’t bagging that top spot.
7. What is the US ranked in education?
Depends on the metric! In global university rankings, U.S. institutions often secure top spots. In K-12, according to PISA scores, we’re typically middle of the pack.
It’s like being good at dodgeball but average in kickball.
8. Has the US ever been numero uno in education?
Decades ago, the U.S. was a trailblazer in terms of high school graduation rates. We were the cool kids on the block. But, global competition has since heated up!
9. What US state ranks lowest in education?
It can fluctuate, but states like Mississippi and New Mexico often find themselves at the bottom. But, hey! Rankings aren’t destiny.
10. Where does the US rank in math?
Math… our Achilles’ heel. 😖 We’re typically around the middle or lower-middle among developed countries. More “Math for Dummies” than “Good Will Hunting.”
11. What about reading and educational achievement?
Reading? A bit better. We’re closer to the upper-middle in that domain.
For overall educational achievement, we’re floating around the middle.
12. Where does America excel?
In innovation, university research, and making education cool (just look at all the college movies!).
We might not always be top of the class, but we’ve got spirit!
13. Is the US lagging?
In some areas, yeah. Especially when you compare our massive resources with our performance.
It’s like having the recipe but sometimes botching the cookies. 🍪
14. Why have we fallen behind?
Unequal resources, differences in state curriculums, and socio-economic disparities are just the tip of the problematic iceberg.
15. European vs American education, which wins?
Depends on your taste!
Want a rigorous, specialized education? Europe might be your jam.
Looking for flexibility and a diverse campus life? U.S. colleges are calling your name.
16. How’s the U.S. education system compared to others?
It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Each system has its pros and cons.
- Our strengths lie in research, higher ed institutions, and adaptability.
- Our weaknesses? Consistency and equal access.
17. Is American education the best?
It’s like a pie. Some slices (like higher ed) are delicious.
Others? They might need a tad more sugar.
18. Does the US outspend others on education?
You betcha! But, money isn’t everything. It’s how you spend it, and there’s room for improvement there.
19. Which countries are at the top of the class?
Finland, Singapore, and Canada often get gold stars for their education systems. They’re like the nerds who also rule the school.
20. Who rocks education in the U.S.?
If we’re talking states, Massachusetts is often the valedictorian. But shoutout to local schools and teachers everywhere making a difference!
21. The U.S. vs French education system: Who takes the croissant?
Both have their merits! U.S. is more about breadth, while the French system dives deep. Choose based on your flavor!
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