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America: A Country in Decline
Technology is supposed to be a blessing to us, but one really has to question that in regards to American students and their national test rankings. And in case you're wondering what technology i'm referring to, that would be our many social networks such as Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, that have our youth fascinated. I don't have a membership in a psychic network, but I'm quite sure that someone will question me as to what exactly am i talking about, and they'll insist that our children are doing just fine. And although I never intend to be mean or sarcastic, I'd have to question whether that individual has been living under a rock? Because if you weren't, and you were paying attention to current events, you'd know that American students lag far behind other countries in regards to academic achievement.
And please be assured that I'm not making any of this up, the facts are real, and they speak for themselves. Now if you care about your children and our country's future as I do, then I suggest that you pay close attention to this hub. Before I go any further let me pacify the naysayers with the facts. Our source is from a speech given by Pascal D. Forgione, Jr., Ph.D, United States Commissioner of Education Statistics. According to Dr. Forgione this is how American students rank in regards to other nations:
MATHEMATICS: GRADE FOUR
12. United States
We placed 12th here in a list comprised of twenty six countries.
American Education Not World Class
The schools systematically let kids down. By grade 4, American students only score in the middle of 26 countries reported. By grade 8 they are in the bottom third, and at the finish line, where it really counts, we're near dead last. Its even worse when you notice that some of the superior countries in grade 8 (especially the Asians) were not included in published 12th grade results. They do not need 12 grades.
MATHEMATICS: GRADE EIGHT
As you can see we took a significant drop as our children grew older.
MATHEMATICS: GRADE TWELVE
And we showed a little improvement by grade twelve, but bear in mind that the Asian nations are not included in the published reports for this grade because they don't have twelve grades. This is how we measured up in science.
SCIENCE: GRADE FOUR
In this grade we placed third out of a list of twenty six countries. But look what happens by grade eight.
SCIENCE: GRADE EIGHT
As you see once again it appears that as our children aged so did their test scores.
SCIENCE: GRADE TWELVE
16. United States
As you see we pretty much stayed at the same level that we where at in grade eight.
In advanced math and science we placed 15th and 16th. I don't know about anyone else but this is very disturbing. Aren't we supposed to be a "SUPERPOWER" or is this status delegated to us only when we're being war mongers? Are we as a society being brainwashed into thinking that we're something that we're not? One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that our youth are our future, and if they fail eventually our country will follow. And we can all point fingers, but isn't that how we got in this position in the first place?
But just in case you're inclined to point fingers anyway, whether it's the thumb, index, middle, ring, or pinky finger, it should be pointed at you. Yes, I said you. If you're a parent understand that education of your child begins with you, and it is then reinforced in school.
If we examine those same scores again we see that American students perform best in grade four. So that raises some serious questions in regards to our children as they matured academically, mainly; (A) that some parents are actually parenting, but why the huge gap in scores (B) Did we stop communicating with our children? (C) Did the children begin to join social networks? (D) Did the teachers go on strike? or (E) All of the above. As a parent and concerned citizen, you should know the answer!!!
Which leads us back to my original thesis statement that technology is supposed to be a blessing to us, but one really has to question that statement in regards to America's students. But before we delve further, let me point out that these same social networks are being utilized worldwide, but our counterparts are doing just fine academically, so whats our problem? Well I can only speculate on what I witness, and what I see is our youth around the country spending way too much time on these social outlets. Not only that, but does anyone notice that when they communicate to each other on these outlets they distort the English language so horribly that one needs a Ph.D just to decipher their conversation. And trust that this distortion carries over into the classroom where many words are misused, misspelled, etc.
And not to cast blame on any specific outlet, but when I think of Twitter and it's 140 character cap, I know this has had a significant impact on how people communicate their ideas properly. If little Johnny can't write a proper sentence, then tell me how the heck is he going to be able to read one to pass an exam? Although as I said earlier, I'm just speculating. But if you're a concerned parent and/or citizen steps must be taken to correct America's academic decline. I'm no expert but here are a few suggestions you might find useful:
- communicate with your child often in regards to their learning experience
- encourage them to achieve academically
- monitor and curtail their internet usage
- contact your congressman and/or senator and encourage them to veto bills that ask for cuts in education
- constantly educate yourself so that your child has an example to follow
And in conclusion, thank you for taking the time to read this hub, hopefully we can all work together to restore America to it's rightful place in the world, and realize the only way that we'll accomplish this monumental feat is by investing in our future, which is our children.