Among a group of 34 other industrialized nations, including China, South Korea, Finland and Russia, America’s students on average were ranked 25th in math, 14th in reading, and 17th in science. These statistics clearly represent how America’s education system doesn’t perform to the same effectiveness as other nations’. The current mindset and execution of the education system may prove to hold back and limit the youth of our country.
The current method of teaching in American public schools focuses on teaching students to temporarily retain information for examination rather than developing critical thinking skills and preparing students for real world problems. This approach will restrict the advancement of our society and limit the abilities of our students. This mindset also forces students to care more about test scores than actually learning. Also, when the main objective of the school is to perform well on the government issued, standardized tests, schools won’t attempt to incorporate other courses aside from the main subjects into their curriculum. If we want to have an advanced and intellectually stimulated culture, we’ll need to teach students to value knowledge and logic rather than making them dread the classroom. The most effective way to advance the system would to remove such an emphasis on standardized testing.
Currently, schools focus the majority of their effort preparing students for standardized tests which don’t encompass much, if any, history and science, two extremely important subjects. If this remains the focus of the education system, America will continue to fall farther behind other countries, not just in education ranking, but on a social and scientific level. Another area where American education fails in comparison to other countries’ is in teacher pay. American public school teachers receive much lower wages compared to some of their counterparts in other countries. Higher pay for public school teachers reduces the gap of higher quality teachers being hired by private schools and reduces further classism. Another change that should be made to school curriculum is the introduction of more classes that develop real life skills.
Instead of a full year of gym, perhaps schools could have a class that lasts for one quarter a year each year throughout a student’s high school career. These classes could encompass short courses on things such as how to pay taxes, apply for a loan, compose a resume, and other small but important life skills. This would prepare students for an adult life without compromising education of core subjects. If America wants to secure an advanced future, serious revisions will have to be made to the education system to fully prepare and develop its youth.