Has the American educational system failed and if so why?
Does the phrase, "The dumbing down of America," indicate a purposeful process or a outcome of unintended consequences? Are the teacher unions, the lack of proper parental involvement, teacher incompetence and Federalization of schools participants in the demise of education? Are drugs, seeming promiscuity, the lack of discipline and an educational system focused on a collective norm, as opposed to individual achievement at fault?
Is there anyone who can find a positive in our education system?
The fault lies in the individual American home. Teachers do their best to try to teach children all day, but if they just go right back home to their uneducated parents who tell them to ignore what all them evil unbaptized scientists say, they're just going to continue being stupid.
Compare this to, say, Japan, where religion is more of a leave-it-running-in-the-background cultural thing than a personal thing, and you'll find that Japanese kids are SUPREMELY superior to us in every single category in terms of education. And suicide rates, but that's another topic.
It has failed in most states and it gets low marks in the other states. Most organized education in the US today is still based on outdated and unproven methods developed as an outgrowth of the industrial revolution. I would argue that another failure is due to perhaps too much parental involvement in the system. Kids need to be sheltered to some extent from their own dumb-dumb parents and entrusted more to qualified, educated and trained (and certified) professional educators. Teachers today aren't the best. But they're a hell of a lot better than they used to be. Anyway, there could be a Hub essay written on this subject. So I'll cut myself off here and say the whole bad education process that we have always used is not conducive to success or learning.
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