Thursday, June 3, 2010

Education- Briefly, and Some Questions

Note: this is a brief rant, comment and discuss!

One of the most avoided yet most important issues in America is education, and how our education system continues to decline. According to UPI, the US is now 18th among 36 nations for secondary education, with a high school graduation rate of only around 75% (compare that to South Korea's 93%). In Maryland, there are provisions ensuring that no child ever fails, and this includes giving a grade of at least 50% just for submitting an assignment with the kid's name on it. Ask yourself, how is this fair? Why should students get rewarded for doing nothing, while there are others legitimately earning grades? Why are grades permitted and often encouraged to be doctored in order to reflect higher averages? Why should kids who don't try be awarded passing grades, and, should parents be held accountable? Frankly, I don't have the answers to these questions.

It is also becoming ever more apparent that our public education system, well, just plain sucks. More people can recite the Big Mac jingle than recite our Pledge of Allegiance or our Bill of Rights. On a side note, isn't it interesting that most people who claim to be "constitionalist" make it really obvious they have never read the damn thing)? Many people believe that our country was founded upon religious principles (subject of a future post), and that we are meant to be a Christian Nation. Many people refuse to accept Evolution as a valid scientific theory, despite the overwhelming evidence favoring it. But most importantly, the question must be asked, what exactly are schools supposed to teach us? While I am the first to admit that history, language arts, science, liberal arts and math are essential to being a productive citizen, our system fails to create real-world applications for these concepts. Take, for example, the SAT. Many of our futures are based solely on this exam, which tests students' abilities in math, writing and reading comprehension, and is supposed to measure intelligence. Frankly, it doesn't. It measures how well kids can take a test in 3 hours. How is this relevent to anything one experiences outside of high school, and, why should one's college future be so dependent upon it?

Another trend in the US in recent years is to introduce subjects like Creationism as science. While I would have no problem with this being taught as a philosophical topic, it certainly is not science and has no business being taught as science. This week, Arizona sunk to a new low, outlawing ethnic studies classes (which has already been done in Texas). It is now illegal in Arizona to study other cultures, for fear that this could lead to kids wanting to "overthrow the US government" (source: Governor Brewer should be removed from office; clearly her support of this law and of the new immigration law demonstrates that her state of mind is anything but sound. Okay, fine, she's nuts... and a racist... but I digress.

How can we be a productive society without being able to learn history, let alone the histories of cultures that have helped shaped our own? What are convervatives so afraid of? What exactly is so threatening about... learning? Every day it seems the far right in this country only want conservative religious doctrine to be taught in public schools (the same people who scream about their First Amendment rights, but clearly don't care about everyone else's). Anyway, discuss.

No comments:

Post a Comment