It didn't really surprised me why the U.S. was not even in the Top 10 for the best educational system in the world according to the most recent survey. There's a real problem in the system of education in the U.S. and it's a shame that those politicians in Washington are not doing much to rectify the problem. What are they afraid of? The truth is, the more educated the people are, the more likely they will open their eyes, thus becoming much aware of what's going on around them and they will unlikely be operated to run like remote-controlled toys. Sad to say, the U.S. government is not doing enough on this problem and would rather approved of this mediocrity in education by not making it affordable to its own citizens.
How about these as hypotheses - Money is not the primary determining factor in the quality of primary and secondary education. OR - the Department of Education is not as effective as states and localities at educating children, does it actually educate anyone? OR - perhaps the value of education is underestimated by various American sub-cultures
I think we've become such a liberal society...placing little burden on the children to do their best. When I was growing up, homework was done first...we played in the band, we ran out to play after school, we were social with one another. Today these kids are on their electronic toys, growing fat and anti-social! It's up to parents to install good work habits and the schools to go back to basics.
When I was teaching, we studied these findings. They're a little deceiving. For example, US students were found to have much more creativity and innovation than those in other countries, and they were able to think "outside the box." This was attributed to the fact that our education system isn't as "regimented" as those in some other countries.
Keep in mind, however, that it was several years ago when I poured over the studies, so things might have changed since then.
When our politicians force schools to teach mythology on an equal footing with science there is an obvious problem.
When politics drives learning, then nothing will be learned.
Why don't you think mythology is important? I taught Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology for years in my lit classes. They provide an important basis, especially for literary allusions in modern lit. And I've always thought that teaching the classics was a must!
we aren't the best "education" systems in the world...
... yet we are the most powerful innovators, have the strongest economy, and are routinely discovering the latest "random thing # 15" in the world.
Sounds like the definition of "best education systems" needs to be redefined.
I would say the US are good innovators, but the best? Education is not just about inventing new widgets. I think the US systems is falling down in the mathematical and scientific areas. It is okay to good in the arts to economics and 'meh' in the other areas. Every country has strength and weaknesses.
I agree that the maths and sciences are our weakest points.
Economics is both a profoundly challenging mathematical discipline and a philosophical one. Much like physics it describes and interprets a complex and orderly/chaotic systematic universe.
Agreed. Plus, may I also add that the good old moral values and ethics are fastly dissapearing in our society. We also need some improvements in the areas of reading and spelling.
The United States has received more Nobel Prizes than the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Russia combined. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_No … by_country
US universities are still enormously popular among international students. http://chronicle.com/article/Number-of- … -in/49142/
Issues regarding US education invariably swirl around primary and secondary education. In 1986, I was part of a graduate studies group in issues in reading education. The Reagan Administration had just published a series of recommendations on improving education.
The quality of American Primary and Secondary Education has been a significant issue for decades and yet the US is still an amazingly productive and innovative society.
@ uncorrected vision.
Not that simple. You need to take population ratio into your equations.
The US has won .85 per 1 million citizens. The UK has won 1.5 per 1 million citizens.
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-countries- … prizes.htm
Hmm interesting..No wonder Finland is on top 2, they have also high quality of life. Canada is included in top 5 too, and UK is top 20. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog … ce-reading
In another data - among tertiary educ the top ten are all from US and UK http://www.usnews.com/articles/educatio … -400-.html
Having children in the school system and being a student myself in collge, I feel the biggest problem is that the class sizes are too big for any kind of one on one help. Numerous times my daughter has asked about math problems only for the anser to be, "I just explained that or you must not have been listening."
I feel that the teachers rely on mom and dad to do alot of the teaching, and I for one have no idea how to do the "New Math"-(personaly I think the old way was better). But we also have the 'no child left behind' which is great in theory, but I know of a few students who cannot even read at a 7th grade level being pushed through to keep with quota.
I dont feel the educational funds are the issue. You can teach with a rock and pavement,sitting out doors in the mud if your students are interested and the teacher is interesting and knowledgable.The motivation isnt there anymore, you are compared to a state wide test not individually, the teachers are put to the test to make sure kids are above rank or they are frowned upon. Too much stress on the kids and the teachers teaching.
I feel that our schools need to be year round and broken down into smaller classes. Enough of spending great amounts of money on paraprofessionals to sit w/ hyper kids- put the money towards more effective classroom teaching.
Also----something that inferiates me is that the school mine are in dont even notify you if your child is struggling or heading towards and F- my daughter is always on the honor role and came home crying because her grade had reached a D- she pulled it up with MY help, but I wasnt notified of this change (dramaic change) in her grades! Again reminding us that the classes are too big to even notice a change?
Just a thought.
Disagree with the class sizes being too large.
In the time that I was educated, 50s and 60s, we had classes of about 40. We were also the most well educated people on earth at that time. (I was educated in South Africa.)
I will tell you this however, that when I relocated to the USA from the UK 7 years ago, I decided to go to college.
a) The number of professors who got their facts wrong was scary. More than once, I went to the dean and got proven right.
b) The level of some of the information that was taught was equivalent to what I learned in my 4th and 5th grade of school.
c) Yes, it was mandatory for me learn Latin, Math, Physics, Chemistry, 3 languages, world history, world geography, etc., but while I've never had to read Cicero or Caesar since, at least I have a good understanding of etymyology.
I think what is relevant here is that in the mid 60s, educationists started talking about changing the education system from the old classic model to a more modern one because they felt that children should be prepared for the modern world.
They said, for example, that one shouldn't give children spellers to learn to spell, because children would naturally learn to spell on their own. So the practice of having to learn to spell between 5 to 20 new words every week for 7 years was abolished.
I guess, we have the modern world...
As a retired teacher, I think one big problem with public education in the US is that schools want cookie-cutter teachers who use cookie-cutter teaching strategies in an attempt to produce cookie-cutter students!
Each student is an individual, with his own unique learning styles. Most teachers don't have the time, the resources, the creativity, and/or the desire to address this issue. I blame most of this on administrators. Most school systems are much more comfortable with the cookie-cutter method, so even when teachers attempt to break out of the mold, they're often admonished. Sad, really!
"Each student is an individual"
Yes, yes and every human being is an individual, but the world doesn't change for each and every individual. When people go out and get a job they can't moan that "I'm an individual" and expect private companies to revolve around them. Part of education is learning to adapt. It is a modern misconception that education has to adapt to each individual student rather than vice versa.
I think you misunderstood what I meant. For example, if the objective is to learn x, what does it matter if you master the objective via different means? Your future employer won't care HOW you learned the material, so long as you truly learned it.
In terms of higher education we are by far the best in the world. As for K-12 ed, we are not the best for the exact same reason that higher ed IS the best.
Textbook teaching doesn't work and many of the teachers I've met who come from the US need textbooks.
Well let's see how many non-English speaking illegal alliens have we adopted and given a free education to? That's bound to bring down our averages.
Look at where the innovation in the world comes from. There's nothng wrong with us. The whole world loves to steal our ideas and our companies love to outsource our jobs.
Because our popular culture rewards dropouts and condemns those with degrees(teachers) to low paying jobs despite their efforts.
Who said we were not in the top 10?
Start there and you may find the answer.
I do think "teacher-proof" education systems are a bit of an issue. It does prevent quality from getting too low in any particular class, but I feel it also stops it from getting "too high".
But it isn't really a sky-is-falling. Overall literacy and numeracy s pretty good, and tertiary education is pretty good. Although class sizes are creeping up across the board including the tertiary level and there is a problem of some big shortage in the trades and skills. It seems everyone wants to be a fashion designer but no one wants to be a pattern cutter.
My first job after college was tutoring gifted but disadvantaged kids, and based on that somewhat limited experience, I think one of the biggest problems is that so many people in this country don't value education.
The program I worked for had fairly strict attendance requirements, but we had terrible times with some of the parents, who would let their kids skip on the slightest excuse, despite the fact that kids who graduated the program successfully got substantial scholarships to the college of their choice.
Even a lot of the parents who obviously did care didn't seem to really know how to provide enrichment for their kids. I had one 16 year old - a little sullen but smart and responsible about doing his work - who was being raised by his grandparents. They'd jump on him like barnacles on a whale at the slightest dip in his grades, but one day when he finished his work early and I was trying to help him pick a book to read until the session was done, I asked what he liked to read at home and he looked at me like I was nuts. It came out that he didn't have a single book in the house, and never had.
My best friend is an elementary teacher and she's got all sorts of horror stories about parents who let their kids stay up until 3 AM playing video games and then bring them to school at lunchtime. And that's a nice upper middle class suburb. She did a couple years in inner city Chicago too, and over there the kids were getting shot instead. They had SWAT teams show up multiple times a year.
I came from Asia and the difference that I can notice is that the children here have lesser homework and lesser loads than an ordinary child anywhere in Asia. In Asia, teachers have higher status than a lawyer say for instance, people look up to you more if you are an educator. There is always a competition ongoing between students that they have to excel because it is the only way where they can have a bright future. Math is given priority as well as Science.
I can say that in East Asia like Japan, South Korea etc, the trainings are really rigid, the image of a geek is true in students there. Character education and religion are included as subject. Trainings are rigid, you have memorize this and that and you can't complain.
In tertiary education, the thoughts, theories and knowledge are still rooted from the great thinkers in the Renaissance era, books are in English. That is why UK, Europe and US universities are good at that. To my mind Asian unis are not as good as the top uni in UK and US in terms of humanities, laws, social sciences.
Most of the universities in Asia are well equipt with technology. Every room for example in NUS - National Uni in Singapore, has a free computer. They invest so much in technology. Asian colleges and uni can compete with technical unis here in the US like MIT for example, but not with social sciences, laws and humanities.
Hi PDH - You are right, it is much the same in China.
I see the difference mainly to do with the basic cultures. There are also teaching differences that affct the larning process but the main issue is that Chinese know that job, status and success ultimately depend on getting the highest education possible - mostly.
The problem that I have with the educational system,especailly in the US is that it is archaic. It is still pretty much based on the ancient Greek education for the bored rich people.
There is much more to learn today than reading, writing, and arithmetic. Yet, the early years of education make that their goal.
I also have a problem with what is the meaning of a GOOD education.
To me a good education is one where you can get a decent job and move out of your parent's home and live on your own.
Unfortunately, big companies and their human resource departments have used a college education as filter to eliminate candidates off the bat.
Going through the education system is entirely different than going through a job career. The two are pretty much different roads. This is especially true in the technology field, as formal education is around five years behind industry.
College graduates are not trained to work in industry, the companies that hire them really have to retrain them to be useful.
My point is that many non college graduates can do as good as college graduates from the training at the company.
However this doesn't answer your question, as to why the US is behind in education.
The answer is that public education is a political football and the people at the top of the education system play the politics and forget about the education system itself.
Basically, the problem is that the system is only concerned with getting paid from their state for have students attend school. Truancy is not an education problem it is a money problem. No student, no money.
I will stop here.
the Southeast Asian and Chinese culture's emphasis on extended family has been lost throughout the past years in the US. In past decades there was more emphasis on extended family supporting each other, family trades/businesses being passed on to the children. Taking that primary core focus of extended family out of the picture has a huge effect on families time management and priorities. Education is highly honored in these countries at the top. In this country, despite having some very good schools/teachers and learning institutions, the teaching profession is still not regarded as a respected profession.
Teachers could do much more in the classroom if the students were coming to school ready and eager to learn.
The Asian countries are much more controlling and restrictive in their parenting practices. The children don't want to fail because it not only effects their family, but the reputation of the family, and their future.
You are generally right I think - where you say restrictive and controlling I might say disciplined -
this also applies to the whole nature of the country, many people see political restriction and control but in daily life it is the people who are more disciplined in themselves, while having more daily 'freedoms' than in any western country.
My partner teaches mid school kids in a school for extra lessons - all weekend and some eenings and ALL the holidays - and most of the kids come willingly and enthusiastically - much to my amazement !
Kids want to watch tv, hang out with their friends, start to date and they don´t care with their future anymore. And all of this with their parents permission! And there is the problem: education should begin at home and today only a few parents give their child a proper education. So, it´s easy to know why the educational system is bad: count all the broken homes around USA, the children living there, with no family dialogue, alcohol and other things and you`ll find the exact number of children that when in school age will have big problems to learn. Sometimes the problem is not the system but the support that should be given at home, and it´s not.
It´s just my opinion...
Just my opinion - I think the cultrue has lost its way with many living issue aspects of daily life removed by the standardisation of life to suit the business rulers who control governments. Life has become about what we have permission to do rather than just rules to stop extreme behaviours. Welcome to the life of being just a commodity and a consumer unit.
You forgot to mention the time spent on the Internet, and social networks, tweets, and cell phones.
I guess it depends on interpretation of discipline. discipline derives from two words meaning, teach and pupil; to teach, give instruction, training that corrects, molds or perfects the mental faculties.
it doesn't necessarily mean to control. ideally the instruction will be it's own 'control', so to speak. I don't mean controlling, but instruction that teaches to the end of modifying or changing thought or behavior.
I think true discipline gives more freedom because more is accomplished in less time. does that make sense?
Here in New Jersey our Republican Governor wants to cut teacher pension and benefits and there is a big roar coming from the educational community. The best teachers will not be enticed to come to NJ if salaries, pensions and benefits sre being held hostage by a "special interest" government. So our problem here is an economic one.
When I was in grade school (1960's) no one knew then I had ADHD. I didnt find out myself until I was in my 50's and I was alienated and ridiculed from K - 12. In grade school I excelled in English and Spelling, mostly because my mother used to drop me off at the public library while she went shopping and I learned to read at an early age. But my home life was so chaotic that I never focused on getting homework done or studying for tests. Somehow my father managed to get me into an all-girl Catholic High School dominated by bleach blonde Irish Catholic cheerleaders and/or intellectual folksinging radicals from upper middle class families. I didnt learn much and barely made it out with a "D" average at graduation (1969).
However, I went to several trade schools during my 20's and early 30's, first modelling, then secretarial, real estate and bar management...nothing I was too keen on but at least could make a living...but it wasnt until I was 36 years old and already raising two kids of my own that I decided to better my life and get a "higher education". The girl whose parents and teachers told her she "wasnt college material" back in the 60's graduated County College with an A.A.S. in Horticulture and a 3.7 GPA (Phi Theta Kappa), transferred my credits to four year state college and graduated there with a 3.1 GPA (had some trouble with Organic Chem and Calculus!!) and a B.S. in Environmental Studies. I attribute my success to a total commitment and desire to better myself as well as a tremendous, albeit rekindled, interest in Science.
My point is, the students have to have some sense of commitment and desire to learn which seems to not be overwhelming in typical U.S. students because of the various socio-economics ills that befall the majority of American families. But then after high school, trying to make their way in the "real world" they find that they, as adults, now need to address their educational needs to establish their true independence. The tremendous shift to online education is becoming the answer for those adult studeents who, for one reason or another, didnt get the quality education they should have in K - 12.
(Sorry to be so verbose!)
I'm glad that the US doesn't have the top 10 primary and secondary school education systems. I don't agree with rote memorization and too often, I think that's what those international tests measure and compare.
Actually most modern tests assess a rnage of skills and compitencies, including reading comprehension and problem solving. The nations topping the rankings are not those that focus on rote learning btu in a broad liberal education (liberal not in the polical sense but in the curriculum sense).
Have they found ways to test the efficacy of those modern tests?
Not test is perfect but if you mean are the tests reliable over time and retest and do they predict university and professional acheivement, yes--generally they do. The tests are specifically designed to test the qualities that lead to success in the education and employment system (not spirtual or emotional fulfillment etc). Most people whi work for a living probably relate to the ability to perform a set function to a set standard in a specified time as being part of that skill set.
Like everything else , American , apathy , complacency , the great welfare system of education. Overscheduled kids , with thier faces fused to the internet of cell phones. Parents to busy elsewhere to care. Teachers with no accountability in performance. Want more reasons.
Indeed we do. But tests, imperfect as they are, are better than random guesses when it comes to assesssing how well we are delivering the curriculum.
i think its most familys. i see tons kids alone after school. alot parents work past 5pm and dont do enough to teach kids from what i see.
Consider the way some of the school systems work today:
1) A child misbehaves and is punished by being taken out of the educational atmosphere. Rarely sent to study hall or after school detention anymore. These days are bogged down with out of school suspensions and "quiet rooms" or buddy rooms. What I see eliminated from the equation is education.
2) Some schools are more driven by funding and less driven by the education that they provide. The average school will keep a kid who would be best taught elsewhere (those with special educational or learning needs that are not the current schools strong suit- often kids with IEP's) because they get more funding for having them there and lose that "extra" funding if they allow those students to transfer.
3) "Some" Educators are less likely to take a hands on approach with students who struggle or even take the time to identify those struggles. Instead these kids are left to struggle and labeled as ADD, ADHD, slackers etc and in the long run the only one that approach fails is the child (and of course the stats for the location).
4) There is such a diversity in teaching levels and no set learning schedule/standard for these kids, in most places. So those kids whose families have to move or move alot may enter the 6th grade here and be learning division then move and be placed in a school where 6th grade level is algebra etc etc.
Just as an example: McCleary Elementary school (right here in Washington state) refused to teach a student to read or write until his behavior improved. This student had Asberger syndrome and O.D.D. (Oppositional defiance disorder). They were not equipped to handle this sort of disorder yet refused to transfer him to a school that did. Their method of rectifying this situation was to change his IEP without consulting his mother and only allow him at school for 1 to 2 hours per day (which included a lunch time) and would suspend him extensively for bad behavior. He was allowed to move on to 8th grade unable to read or write.
What got left out of that whole situation was the importance of that child's education. Rather than put that first it was never even added to the equation.
Now this may be a rather extreme example but I think it is prime in pointing out where some of the problems lie and where things need to start being redirected. Standards need to be enforced for schools and educators as well as with students - instead of just having consequences for students especially ones that restrict their education.
It has already been said here, but No Child Left Behind, coupled with too much diversity and lack of funding, has made our classrooms a cerebral mess. The NCLB has only created tremendous stress on teachers to meet unattainable proficiency goals. Diversity, where large numbers of students can't speak English, has shifted the focus from the learners to the non-learners.
The result is that students graduating high school can't read, do basic math, or communicate. Social skills are also lacking. So students with a diploma have little to offer the job market.
Diversity is a utopian dream -- nothing more. The U.S. still has to compete in the global marketplace. That has become a joke.
that is one of the saddest accounts I've read. that is just wrong in so many ways.
Why didn't the school place the student where he would be able to learn with teachers trained in specific learning disabilities? The parent has every right to contact a special education advocate or attorney specializing in special education as far as changing the IEP without the parent present at the meeting. The parent has to agree to the proposed change and sign a document. As far as I understand, if the parent doesn't agree to the change, the school cannot go forward with the change without requesting a new IEP meeting.
These are the students who fall through the cracks. Parents need to be involved with their child's education and their rights and they do have rights.
Our education system absolutely needs improvement. We know we are doing things wrong, but we haven't figured out how to correct it. Every one has to work together-politicians, schools, teachers, parents, and children. Too much of the responsibility is being put on the schools and teachers.
What constitutes being smart? I think smart shouldn't really be used to describe humans, because usually it is opinion based. In most cases people are "smart" because they were taught something. That person spent time in the classroom more than me, so you would expect better results. Although a smart idea, I would not consider that person smart. Just good at school.
The REAL smart people are the ones that can maximize their brain and understand how to use it to their benefit greater than others.
I like learning on my own, and had mediocre grades in school( finished high school with a 2.7 or so). There is no doubt in my mind I could have gotten all A's. I spent 0 time on homework and 0 time on studying my whole school career. I also missed half the school year my sophomore year with unexcused absences. And that trend continued to my senior year. I feel that me being able to do that made me unbelievably smart. Most kids with half the unexcused absences I had were expelled.
This is because I was an all around good kid, and was friendly with everyone. I dealt with all races and all age groups. High School was a great experience.
Basically long story short. Smart is something anyone(in almost all cases) can achieve, in someone's eyes they can be smart, but in other eyes they are the dumbest person in the planet.
Case in point George Bush.
He is made fun of daily for being dumb and believe say it is fact.
He got to be president, that seems pretty smart to me.
In the future our education system will look nothing like it does today, I can't see going to school being the best option. The human brain can be focused into specific areas people like, and the brain can be exploited beyond belief.
Sorry I'm fascinated by the brain and I can go on forever about it, if I don't make sense to you.
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