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Why the United States Education System is Failing

Updated on February 18, 2015

The education system in the United States has been on a steady decline for many years. If we compare how students in the United States are faring in comparison to students in other regions of the world, our students are not able to compete at the level of other regions of the world such as Asia. According to the Huffington Post, the highest performing school systems in the world are in Asia, and the reason for that is because those school systems invest in their teachers. Those school systems pay their teachers well and regard the teaching profession as one with prestige. They also require their teachers to take 360 hours of professional development each year. The school systems in Asia are the best because they believe in making sure their teachers are well trained and highly compensated. The U.S. Department of Education http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011033, clearly shows how far behind our school systems are failing in comparison to Asian countries in Reading Literacy, Math and Science.

If our students are going to compete in this new innovative and technological society, we have to produce top quality students, and this is not what we have been currently producing. In our current system, teachers are not compensated nor recognized as highly as they should be, and bad teachers are not weeded out of our schools for re-training or placed in different areas where they can be more beneficial. Teachers here in the United States should be compensated much more than they are today because they have the difficult job of teaching our students who come to school with a myriad of issues that complicate the teaching process. Teachers today have to deal with children who are homeless, have various emotional and psychological problems, not to mention the violence teachers face from their students in the classroom.

When I look back at my own education, I had some wonderful teachers. Teachers that really cared about my learning process. They were also there for me on a personal level as well. When my parents were going through a divorce, my teacher would spend extra time talking with me and giving me extra encouragement. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the great teachers I had in my life.

With that being said, there is also the issue of having bad teachers in the classroom. I have had to deal with some bad teachers in regard to my own children, and there is not much you can do about that situation but to remove your child from that classroom and that is not always an option. So your child is stuck in a classroom with a teacher that shows up to class to collect their paycheck and cares very little about teaching your child. I dealt with that situation by teaching my child their assignments at home and hiring tutors so that my children were afforded a decent education. This is not a dilemma we, as parents, should have to be faced with, but this is what is happening in our schools today. Teachers should be removed from the classroom when the progress of their students are not meeting the guidelines put in place. We cannot allow bad teachers to remain in the classroom.

There has been some progress being made to address some of these issues, but there is still much to be done. On July 18, 2011, President Obama launched the "Educate to Innovate" campaign. According to the White House website, "President Obama’s "Educate to Innovate" campaign is designed to improve the participation and performance of America’s students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and includes efforts from the federal government and from leading companies, foundations, non-profits, and science and engineering societies to work with young people across America to excel in science and math." This is a start, but there needs to be more aggressive measures to ensure that our schools systems are brought up to a level that we will be able to compete in a global economy.

The education of our children should be important to all of us because our future generations are depending on us to do what is necessary to change our failing schools systems into one that is competitive with the best school systems in the world. If we don't stand up for our children's education, we have no one to blame but ourselves when our children fail to succeed.

Sources:

http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011033

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anthony-jackson/invest-in-teachers_b_844983.html

http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/educate-innovate

Credit for photo:

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2280


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    • NayNay2124 profile image
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      NayNay2124 4 years ago

      pstrauie48, you brought out some great points in your comment. I totally agree with you that people are not willing to pay a few extra dollars to fund projects that would provide our teachers and students with the tools they need to succeed. My children are no longer school age, but I am still active in making my voice heard in the education community in my county. I think it is important for people to stay involved in their local education communities even if your children are no longer of school age.

      Parents also play a huge part in their children's education. Too many parents do not take the time to be involved in their child's education, and then want to blame the teachers and the schools when their children are failing. I too could go on forever on this subject because I care so much about the education of our children. Thank you so much for reading my hub and commenting.

    • NayNay2124 profile image
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      NayNay2124 4 years ago

      pstrauie48, you brought out some great points in your comment. I totally agree with you that people are not willing to pay a few extra dollars to fund projects that would provide our teachers and students with the tools they need to succeed. My children are no longer school age, but I am still active in making my voice heard in the education community in my county. I think it is important for people to stay involved in their local education communities even if your children are no longer of school age.

      Parents also play a huge part in their children's education. Too many parents do not take the time to be involved in their child's education, and then want to blame the teachers and the schools when their children are failing. I too could go on forever on this subject because I care so much about the education of our children. Thank you so much for reading my hub and commenting.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      If our system is failing it is primarily the public at large who is at fault. We want quality education but we don't want to do anything to make it happen. We do not want higher taxes to fund projects that need funding for schools such as : building additional schools, monies for repairs, monies to fund music, art, and PE instructors, and the list goes on. Education is in some ways a dollars and cents situation. The dollars and cents provide avenues for projects to be accomplished.

      Schools have also gotten too large. No money to build new schools, hire more teachers, students are forced to attend schools where overcrowding absolutely affects student learning and teachers are forced to spend more time on disciplining than on teaching, often. And the the bigger the schools are the less opportunity there is for individual attention. That is after all how to really help children reach their potential. It is especially important at the elementary level where the foundation for learning begins.

      As for teachers, there are some teachers who should not be teaching just like there are those in every profession who should not be doing what they are doing.

      However the majority are there doing all they can to make each day a new opportunity for learning for your children.

      Be aware, stay on top of things, and make your voice heard.

      You as a parent (you being the global you) have the power to make changes in the schools. The teachers do not have the power. Your voice is much more powerful...but it requires persistence and work. You must make your voice known locally and at the state level.

      Organize your community and let them know how important it is to have taxes that fund the programs you demand. It is in large part an economic situation.

      There are other facts that I could cite but the entire page would be covered.

      It boils down to our commitment as a society to getting it right for our kids...being willing to step up to the plate and do whatever we can to make our schools the best.

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      beniyam 5 years ago

      you are so good

    • NayNay2124 profile image
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      NayNay2124 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for the great insight. I have a love for education and I raised my children pretty much the same way and they have done very well. I am really concerned with the education system in this country and wish I could do more. I am hoping my voice and my vote will make a difference. Thanks again for sharing such an informative story.

    • Steve LePoidevin profile image

      Steve LePoidevin 5 years ago from Thailand

      Just a quick note about the author of the above book so you don't think I am advertising for me! It is by Charlotte Iserbyt. She served as Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education, during the first Reagan Administration, where she first blew the whistle on a major technology initiative which would control curriculum in America's classrooms.

    • Steve LePoidevin profile image

      Steve LePoidevin 5 years ago from Thailand

      Well, I am the Math Department Head at a large school here in Wuhan, China and have been teaching math in this country for the last four years after a long teaching career in British Columbia. BC has always been ahead of the states in international tests but they are still behind the Asian kids when it comes to math and science. So that does not bode well for America! Anyway, I don't think it is a money thing although I must say that American teachers have been underpaid and under respected for as long as I can remember. It is about attitude and curriculum.

      Firstly, North America babies its students beyond belief. Most of the math curriculum that we teach in Grade 11 and 12 in the US and Canada has been covered by these Chinese students by the end of middle school, typically Grade 9 or 10. I can tell you that every student has mastered the basics of algebra, geometry and trig before they enter high-school. They learn by repetition, they are never allowed to use a calculator, and they need to memorize any formulas that are necessary. Before I came here, I was pretty much against all three of these concepts; rote work, memorizing, and no calculators. But I have seen the results with my own eyes. These kids can think their way through any problem because they have not become slaves to technology. Maybe they are not creative thinkers but they are masters when it comes to basic techniques. This is one thing that than many North American students lack, an understanding of the basics. With this mastery of the basics, my students can conquer problems that would be way above the heads of most North American high-school students.

      Secondly, school is important to the students and their families. It is the number one priority. They still have a good time but they have a good time in and around studying. They are not robots. They laugh, they cry, they are emotional, they listen to the same music as NA kids, they watch the same movies, they dance, but they are mature and it is possible to carry on an intelligent conversation with them. The Chinese students do not spend their evenings partying or hanging out at the mall. None of them have part-time jobs...they don't understand how any student could find the time to work and go to school. They are not into sex, drugs, and alcohol. There are couples around but it is always very discreet. Our students are covering two curriculum, the regular academic BC curriculum and the Chinese curriculum. They receive a graduation certificate from each country when they finish. My Grade 12 math class average is 90%. Their day starts at 7:30 in the morning and ends at 10:00 at night. Classes finish at 4 and then it dinner and supervised study until 9pm. Supervised study is also a social event, they all help each other out.

      North America is in trouble. Our school system (we have several schools across China) sent almost 1000 graduates to universities around the world last year, mostly to the US and Canada. And we are only one system in this country. By the time our students graduate from our school, they are bilingual. They master the English language over the 4-5 year period they are with us. Most have overall percentages in the high 80s or 90s. Most are going to study business or engineering. They all have a work ethic built in that puts the average North American student to shame. I can't begin to tell you how much we all enjoy teaching here!

      It was the same when I taught in Scotland. Education was a priority. Teachers were respected. Salaries were good. Students didn't own nicer cars than the teachers. Parents sided with the school if there was a problem. Nobody spent more time with a part-time job then in school.

      And finally, for a real eye-opener, download and read the free e-book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America at http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com/ or buy a hard copy at Amazon.

      I'm sorry about all the ranting but when we go back to North America to visit, it is so easy to see the writing on the wall and the big picture for the future if something doesn't change in the near future.

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      richfsr 5 years ago

      I use the term Low Class for a lack of a better explanation. Maybe illiterate or unskilled might be a better discription of the type of immigrants we are now getting into this country. Many of which are illegally entering, rather than coming in through proper channels. I am well aware that we are founded on immigration. I am a decendent from the Pilgrims. In the past, there were requirements to immigration. Those wanting to enter the US had to have a sponsor or relative here,good health, a trade, or skills needed. These people came here to make a new life, knowing they would have to learn English, work hard and assimilate into society.There were no social services burdening the taxpayers to pay their way while they made their mark on the American dream. Their incentive was to work hard, learn English quickly, and make their dream come true. And they came in legally. What we are getting in today are immigrants that don't have skills, don't want to work hard, and know we will give them all kinds of services for free with little incentive to do anything. You say "EVERY child has a right to a good education in this country". I say "EVERY AMERICAN citizen's child has an opportunity to receive an education in this country. It is up to the child and parents as to how good the education will be. Public education was not started to make geniuses out of our children. It was started to give the children a standard baseline of education. The colleges are the one's charged with the responsibility to teach the trades, philosophies, Arts etc. Instead, new students are forced to take English, Math, History, classes instead of classes of their career choice. I've seen this first hand from my own children going to college. As far as the public schools go we can't afford better schools,supplies,teachers because we've been pouring our tax dollars into special programs to bring illegal and/or non-english speaking children up to speed with the rest of our society. We have been sacrificing our own children's welfare for non-citizens and immigrants. We spend our tax dollars paying their rents, supplying food, clothing, etc, etc. These people have no incentive to do anything for themselves because the tax-payer has been footing their bill for years. Thus, no money left to fix our schools, roads, infrastructure, help businesses. The drain on our resources needs to stop. I am NOT a racist. I am a realist. I did not say these people are ignorant, I said they are not at the level of an average English speaking child, therefore, they drag down the class. Everything gets geared to their level so they can keep up, rather than they making an extra effort to get up to speed with the class.

    • NayNay2124 profile image
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      NayNay2124 5 years ago

      Rich, thank you for reading my hub. This country was built on people that immigrated to this country to make a better life for themselves. The diversity in this country is what makes America such a great country. EVERY child has a right to a good education in this country, and just because someone doesn't speak English does not make them low-class, nor are they ignorant and incapable of learning. We should be setting an example of tolerance for others that are different. That, my friend, is the reason why racism is still very much prevelent in this country because people have the notion that they are better than someone else. I think the education system in this country is better than a lot of other countries, but we still have a ways to go to be able to compete with countries that are far ahead of our students in areas such as reading, math and science. As I posted in a previous post, when our children enter college, many of them have to take several remedial classes to prepare for college level courses. This shouldn't happen. Our children should graduate from high school fully prepared for college. America is a great country, but there is always room for improvement.

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      richfsr 5 years ago

      I find it difficult to accept that our education system in inferior to the rest of the world. If there are failings, it is because of lazy teachers and lazy students. You get out of school what you put into school. Maybe in the public school systems we need to make improvements like kicking the Unions out and weeding the non English speaking illegals out that are draining our resourses and bringing the rest of the class down. We have saturated our country and schools with low class non English speaking immigrants at a ratio of 2 to 1 and we are wondering why our SAT scores are down. These people are already 10 years behind the average American citizen to start. We may have some problems in our school system but to say we are inferior to the rest of the world? No. This country as produced the world's greatest technology. innovations that have improved lives everywhere. Placed a man on the moon. Medicines that have erradicated deseases worldwide, and on and on. Many world leaders come here to go to school as well as send their families. Who-ever is pushing this propaganda needs to look a little closer at the end result to see who is really behind this defamation of the U.S.A.

    • NayNay2124 profile image
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      NayNay2124 5 years ago

      Ed, it is very common for students to enter college and the first year they are forced to take remedial classes because they are not prepared for college level classes. What does that say for our education system when these children aren't really ready for college? This is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed by our public officials. Thank you for reading my hub and sharing your thoughts.

    • Ed Michaels profile image

      Ed Michaels 5 years ago from Texas, USA

      I have a five year old boy, and together we are facing the Texas school system in all its inanity. I am not happy. This fall I will send him off to first grade--kindergarten I am taking care of myself--and nothing I hear from friends and family with kids in public schools is making me feel good about the prospect. Unfortunately, by the fall I will be in a position in which I will not be able to homeschool him, so public school is the remaining option.

      My father teaches at a university. I spend a lot of time with him, talking books and inevitably discussing his classes and his students. The most frustrating element of his job is that he has kids coming to him who are not ready to take on their own education. They are still waiting for someone to tell them the answer, give them the solution. They were not taught a learning process. They were not taught to critically think, to read well and with attention, to pursue ideas or to assess them. They come to him without these skills, and he sees them struggle with the material, but he cannot make up their every deficit in the time afforded him. He cannot strip the course of all its substance, turn it into something else far easier than a university course, and remain true to his job and his vision of what a teacher should do at this level.