We Need to Look Now to Save the Future

Editor: James Sorensen

A lot can be said about the United States of America. Many countries call us a friend and see us as an ally to help in dark times, but others accuse us of taking things from others and only step in when it benefits them. However, no matter what people around me say I still love my country.

I will not deny that we have issues and we have done some sinister things in the past, but I think we as a country have the capabilities to help others and at least try to make things right. Unfortunately, there has always been one subject that I have hated about America, and I think the country as a whole will never begin to progress until it is fixed. This area, of course, is education.

This is not to say that America has not realized this or is not doing anything to try and fix this problem. In fact, America is the second highest country in terms of a budget of education (behind Switzerland).

The government has also come to terms with how much this problem could affect the future of our nation by passing laws like the No Child Left Behind Act, which helps students performing poorly, and several bills that provide more scholarship opportunities for higher learning after high school. We are also, admittedly, at a severe disadvantage due to their enormous and ever-growing population compared to other countries. However, the current system we have now needs to be changed if we truly want to address this issue.

Every three years the top 34 countries in the world have a select number of 15-year-olds take a test called the Programme for International Student Assessment. This test is used to compare math and partially science and reading subjects across the globe. Across the 34 countries, America came in the exact middle with a 17, and below other countries like South Korea and Finland.

The most successful country in terms of education and the holder of both highest graduating percentages and highest average scores is Switzerland. Several interviews with different professors and politicians have cited their diverse infrastructure, which allows students to move from subject to subject during all stages of school, and their free higher learning institutions as key elements at what keeps them ahead of other countries. So, what can we do to start moving towards a better system?

After talking to several teachers and students around school, the resounding answer on the first step towards a better education system is the removal of standardize testing. The testing system we have used since early into World War I has become extremely outdated to the point where most other countries rarely use it, and even then, it is typically used for elective subjects.

The biggest criticism comes from many major professors around the world that say the test do not encourage students to learn, but instead “teach to the test” which prevents students from studying a broader curriculum. In addition, considering the other countries’ standing without this system being a core part of learning, I cannot say I disagree.

Truthfully, there is much more I would like to talk about in accordance to this subject. I never got to touch on more ways to improve the education, which I woefully regret. In addition, how school has had a direct link to kids and their anxiety problems, far more in America than almost every other country. Moreover, of course, why we have not changed before now like other countries and are only addressing this issue now and not sooner, but this article is already long enough and I do not want to take up too much time. The key thing to remember is that we as humanity progresses at a much quicker rate than ever, we need to make sure we, as a society, are ready for these steps by teaching what will inevitably be the future of the world.

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