- Education and Science
How To Overhaul The US Education System
The US Education System is flawed. There is a dearth of qualified teachers, lack of resources in some public schools, and a disparity in the learning abilities between the haves and the have nots. The No Child Left Behind Policy which was introduced during George W. Bush's administration has notable shortcomings. It focused on the test scores in standardized tests. This policy doesn't really center on the most essential aspect of student life, and that is learning. It all starts with one of the basic literacy skills which is reading. Le Var Burton, the star of The Roots and Star Trek founded the program called Reading Rainbows. It is a well-known avenue for children who know and want to read. According to Burton, the NCLB doesn't have budget for reading. That led to the demise of the program years back. With the presence of modern technology, Reading Rainbow is back on a digital format. It is one of the best ways to teach children about literature. You can download the app to create and discover books, watch videos in digital format. It is available for free on Apple Store. Burton wants children to be readers for life. Most reading materials can be found in digital devices. Sooner or later, hardbound books would be obsolete. Reading Rainbows is here to get more kids to read. Burton says that if we can get more children to read in digital device, the transition to books in tangible form is easy.
Bill Nye, a famous author, engineer, and is more popularly known as The Science Guy lamented why children are not interested in Science. This is due to the fact that some teachers are not qualified to teach Science. Some teachers would be reading the text books to class and not teach the basics. Most scientists and engineers choose job in tech companies such as Google and Microsoft because they are paid well. To solve this problem, Nye suggested that the government should pay teachers well so that they would be lured into teaching instead of working in Silicon Valley. According to the Pierson Global report, America ranks 17th in education while Finland and South Korea are first and second respectively. This is because these countries invest highly on education. Burton noted that the government spent millions of dollars on war in the past decade leaving a minimal budget on education.
Nye mentioned that it all boils down to teachers. He said that teachers are designed. They should be passionate about their jobs and should be performers. Nye proposed that there should be higher salaries for teachers that are commensurate with the kind of job that they do.
Another topic that gained attention was the push for online courses. Burton said that these online courses help the consumption of technology. The problem with this country is that we don't have quality education for everybody. We are not educating our citizens equally. The states have different policies on education. Burton said "that until we focus on providing the same product for everyone, the country will lag behind in education."
Nye doesn't believe in intelligent design. According to Nye, it's dangerous and you don't mess with the truth. This is because 46% of Americans believe that God created the universe. Some teachers instruct their students this way and they don't rely on the facts. Nye said that he is all for space exploration. This activity has placed 600 people in space. The VS Curiosity rover in Mars has been done before in other countries. The reason why not enough humans are sent to space is because it is expensive. Without space exploration, there would be no high-resolution cameras and other electronic devices. One main benefit of space exploration is that it is something that we must all tackle in order for everybody to cooperate. NASA's budget was cut that is why one of the problems is that there are no funds to detect asteroids. We can get hit by an asteroid anytime, but if they don't get the support of the government, these activities are doomed.
The ongoing debate between Science and Religion has been going on endlessly. Nye said that when people go towards science, they tend to go away from religion. Nye stated the fact that "you can't use tax dollars intended for science education to teach something akin to earth is 10,000 years old." This is analogous to saying that the earth is flat. People with religious beliefs embrace literal interpretation of The Bible as written in English as a world view. They hold 2 world views. Bible is a history book not a Science text. It is a study of humanity and evolution of culture, not a scientific document. Science explains how while Religion explains why. Those two fields don't contradict.
This country has a long way to go with regard to overhauling the education system. Another startling fact that we can't overlook is that some countries such as Latvia, Chile, and Brazil have academic gains 3x more than the US. This is an alarming fact since some of these countries are tagged as developing countries. In a nutshell, in order for children to do well in Math and Science, Nye suggested that Algebra should be taught earlier. We need to teach children that letters represent numbers. The government should also double the salaries of teachers and get teachers who are competent in the field of Science and technology. Children should be introduced to reading. There should be funds allocated for literacy programs. It is not too late to make necessary changes. We need to be fully equipped so that the next generation will prosper.