“We’re going to start this year with a review of fractions!” The fact that my sister is hearing that sentence in fifth grade is discouraging. Her class hasn’t even started utilizing variables, though my fourth-grade cousin in India is solving quadratic equations. Still, we continue to ask ourselves why American children are becoming less interested in mathematics and science. Being an Indian-American has helped me see the perilous shortcomings of U.
S. public education compared to other nations. The learning curve is a term referring to the relationship between time and the amount of knowledge learned. In American school curricula these days, such a curve can be best described as exponential, while those of other countries are much more sensibly linear. The potential of students is completely disregarded with drawn-out emphasis on basic concepts in math and science in early years. Then, to make up for lost time and match the standards of other nations, America has only one option: bombard students with advanced trigonometry and calculus from ninth grade onward.
In no way is such a workload impossible to manage; however, students have to exert a considerable effort to get through the concepts. For the world to ever think positively of U.S. math and science education, student learning has to involve developing an interest in the topics – not simply getting a good grade. Math and science especially test one’s reasoning and logic capabilities.
Limiting the development of these skills so early in children’s lives restricts their potential, forever causing them to struggle and lose the desire to learn. Though students might be more challenged in elementary schools if curriculums were enhanced, it is undoubtedly better for students to have lower grades on elementary school report cards than college transcripts. Ultimately, kids in American elementary schools should be allotting less time to decorating posters and more to reading beneficial books and learning. Otherwise, students may never reach their ultimate goals, but stay as lone asymptotes to the ever-advancing world around them.