It is well documented that many Americans Schools are not meeting the challenges of today. Surveys and test results are disappointing. The National Educational Progress Assessment reports that less than a third of the fourth graders are ” profitable ” readers. Almost 40% read below the ” basic ” level, meaning that they can hardly read at all. In mathematics, almost 40% of eighth graders are below basic. Americans are now sadly used to newspaper reports that fewer than one in five American children know the purpose of the Declaration of Independence or that one third of seniors in high school cannot identify the countries we fought during the Second World War.

Employers complain that many jobseekers lack the basic reading and math skills to perform the jobs they are looking for. They say that many students with poor working habits, including disorganization, irresponsibility and an inability to get to work on time, come from school. Officials from the college voice similar concerns. About three out of ten fresh college students across the country now have to take remedial courses in reading, writing or mathematics. As Steven Sample, president of the University of Southern California, observed, ” A country with the world ‘s best universities is one of the worst for primary and secondary schools. ”

There are some highlights in the academic record, especially in the lower grades. For instance, American fourth graders do well in international math and science tests compared to students in other countries.

However, their performance is middle by the eighth grade. They occupy the international cellar in the twelfth grade. American seniors are one of the worst in the industrialized world in mathematics and science.

Something is clearly wrong, especially in the middle and high school grades. Unlike students in other countries, the longer they stay in school, our children appear to be worse. At the end of the eighth grade, many people are unprepared for the type of high school education we want.

The United States For the better part of two decades, she has ” reformed ” her schools. We tried a hundred programs and a thousand gimmicks. We’ve poured millions of dollars. It is clearer than ever, however, that none of these nostrums worked, and some made things worse. It is deeply disturbing that so many of our children are failing in the most prosperous country in the world.

Many schools suffer from low academic standards. Textbooks, tests, and tasks are diluted. ” We are demanding less and less all the time,”

said a veteran teacher from North Carolina. ” I teach in the eighth grade that I taught in the sixth grade. ” Students learn to get through with less than their best. ” Nobody corrects bad spelling or punctuation— and we’re talking about third grade, ” one worried mom says. ” Everyone gets a gold star. ” Some schools seem to have forgotten the difference between an interesting lesson and an easy one. ” My seventh grader has spent the last two weeks of social studies cutting magazine images, ” reports another parent. ” What does he learn? He gets really handy with the scissors. ”

Some schools do not focus sufficiently on basic topics. Judging by the tasks of their students, learning to cherish the rain forests, recognizing ethnic foods and feeling good about oneself, is more important than mastering the three Rs. It’s not that issues such as environmental protection is not important. They are. Too often, however, they are used as an excuse for not addressing the harsh academic foundations. Remember, education is essentially time – consuming. We’re learning what we do. If a child doesn’t have many math problems, we should not be surprised that he doesn’t know a lot about mathematics.

Educators are no longer responsible in many places for stating what facts and lessons are the most important to know. They don’t say any more: ” This is what we teach your child before he leaves. Instead, they talk about teaching students to ” learn how to learn ” and remain vague about exactly what they should learn. Some schools see the preferences, instincts and feelings of children as teaching guides in large part. For example, in a school that is praised for its progressive attitude, the principal announced proudly that he uses the ” smile gauge “-if students smile, they do their jobs. This is, to say the least, a questionable approach to teaching and learning.

Once the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge invited a friend with such educational ideas to see his garden. ” But the weeds are covered, ” said his friend in a surprise. Coleridge explained that he let the garden decide what to produce. ” The weeds, you see, took the liberty to grow, ” the poet explained, ” and I thought it unfair for me to prejudice the soil against roses and strawberries. ” If schools do not explain what a student should learn, you can count on his education being choked by weeds.

Some schools have an uncompromising atmosphere. Children act, use foul language, talk to teachers roughly and get away with it. The adults in charge do not want to tell them to sit, rest and get to work. We have forgotten in some places that self-discipline is not the enemy of learning or happiness. It’s a necessary condition instead. We act as if young people cannot develop self – control in order to pay attention, do what the teacher says and carry out tasks until they are right. We have abandoned the notion of insisting on respectable, studious children.

Many schools do not have a moral center anymore. Their teachers were discouraged from training their characters directly. You are unwilling to ” impose your values ” on students. Their overriding concern is to show how tolerant they are about the behavior and choices of others. Saying to children ” What you do is wrong and bad ” could trample their rights, cause shame or damage their self – esteem. More and more young Americans are graduating with a shaky sense of good and bad.

Let us be clear about that. The United States has a number of excellent primary schools. Many are mediocre, however, and there are some we wouldn’t wish for a child. This is the conclusion: you cannot automatically assume that your school teaches your child a good job, even if it assures you that it is. You must pay attention to what kind of education your child receives.

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