Improving America’s Education System Quality
There is a quote by Jeff Daniels in the “Newsroom” that still worries me about our country, while it is a tv show, it is one that is meant to represent real life and all the facts that he said are correct, to put this in context, a young woman in her mid-twenties asked the question “What makes America the greatest country in the world?” This is how Jeff Daniels’ character responded to that. “We are not the greatest country in the world… We’re seventh in literacy, twenty-seventh in math, twenty-second in science, forty-ninth in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force, and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined (Daniels, 2012).”
It is typical here in America to say that we are the greatest country in the world, but is it actually true? We have educational school systems that poorly educate our youth who later end up undeveloped, and in certain low socio-economic areas that means that you are most likely to be incarcerated or participate in illegal activities. The education system here in America is a disgrace to not only the adults teaching but to the young kids that have dreams and goals but no way to succeed (Vindis, 2012) The root causes of the decline of our quality of education are money, population influx and also the curriculum and teachers (Lynch, 2015). Money has always been an issue with education, more specifically the socio-economic background of the town or county a school is located in. Schools in higher income areas tend to offer high-quality education as they are well funded and can afford the extra staff and resources needed to educate the people more. This is also the case with private schools and colleges. The more money you pay the higher quality of education you get in return.
This has been an ongoing issue since education systems began. But since the American education system is funded mostly by local governments we see socio-economics play an even bigger roll in the downfall of the quality of education. The population influx due to not only immigration but also to the influx of pregnancy is the second biggest contributing factor. In certain low-income counties, classes can have up to 40 kids per teacher which in turn makes it hard for a teacher to not only deliver lessons but also to connect with their students one on one to make sure they are understanding and comprehending the material (Preble, 2011). The last thing that ties in with that is the curriculum and the teachers. Certain curriculums have to be changed due to the influx of students. Teachers cannot do all of that work. Also, since 1960 the number of public school teachers soared from 1.9 million to 3.2 million due to the demand for them since the student influx from 36.3 million in 1960 to 49.3 million today.
And as the demand for teachers went up, the quality required of those teachers went down. In fact, there was a study that was conducted which took 2,000 random teachers from 17 different states and tested them and the information gathered was astonishing. Only about an eighth were well suited to teach a high school level curriculum. The consequences of this declining education system is very obvious as we can easily see it in society today. The quality of the education of our American citizens has been declining at a drastic since the late 1900s (Rothwell, 2016) Most of the students coming out of the U.S. education system are not as well equipped for the real world as our elders. The map can attest to the lack of education in most urban parts of the United States, take California for example, leading in the amount of debt by state California is the most uneducated state of all. This is a detrimental problem as we are the next generation of people that will have a country to carry on our backs. It is obvious and apparent that the quality of education has been decreasing over the years, this will eventually affect all sorts of things in our society.
A few big industries that will see a decline in the quality of their effectiveness is business (markets, trading, economy etc.), science, and advancements in technology. Things like this are what made this country, we make new discoveries every day. But if we do not attain the knowledge we need as the next generation then these advances will cease and come to an abrupt halt. I fear that those won’t be the worst of our problems though. The American society along with the decline of education has seen an increase of many other things such as obesity, violence, income, poverty and behavioral issues (“America’s Decline In Education”, 2015) I feel that these are related and that they should frighten us greatly. These issues are directly related to education and the lack thereof. Since our nation has become more and more uneducated we see the increase in job opportunities for the higher more intellectually intense jobs like doctors, scientists, professors, data analysts etc. but no shoes to fill them.
This leads to the lower end jobs being unobtainable and almost impossible to get. We have seen this most of all in big populated states or cities like California. Here in California the unemployment rate is at an astonishing 4.2 percent and rising. This lack of lower end jobs that require just a high school diploma (if that) and the rise of higher education requirement jobs with little to no educated persons to fill those positions (VanOuse, 2017). This leads to a diminishing of household income overall and a higher poverty rate which eventually raises prices of goods and services for others so that the state can take care of those unfortunate people which also leaves higher, middle and lower class people with less money in their pockets. The under-attainment of education in The U.S. has also been linked to obesity and behavioral issues as the people with this issues did not receive the education that they needed in health and body nourishment to keep themselves healthy, well fed and mentally sound. This nationwide epidemic can eventually lead to an underdeveloped society as the nation will be physically capable to keep up its economy.
I read a quote that inspired me while doing this essay is by a man named Marco, He emphasizes, “If the best thing that you see in the neighborhood is a drug dealer, then that becomes your goal. If the best thing you see in your neighborhood is working a 9 to 5, then that becomes your goal. But if you see the doctors and the lawyers, if you see the teachers and the professors, then that becomes your goal.” (“Why Education Matters To Health”, 2015) The decline in education will lead to the economic decline of cities and towns alike. The fewer people that feel motivated to achieve a good successful life the more likely this country will fall and collapse in on itself. The government has tried to increase the number of young adults that will succeed academically by starting to offer loans and grants. What these do is help the student with the financial drawback of higher education. A loan is money that the government gives to people expecting them to pay it back in time plus interest.
A grant is when the government gives people money without any need to pay it back. Over 200 million dollars in grants were approved for California in 2017 alone, this helped thousands of people get the education they need to have a good and healthy lifestyle (Jawaharlal, 2017). The government in recent years have also been trying to siphon the teachers as well. They started to put more regulations on who can teach what and whom can teach whom. These regulations help improve the quality of the education that our young adults receive. With these regulations set in place an individual that desires to become a teacher has to go through a higher education process that is suited to the type of educational subject that he or she would like to teach, so that not just anyone can be a teacher, they have to be well equipped with a degree and their teaching credentials.
America’s education quality has been on a decline in this past century and it is apparently obvious what it is doing to our nation as a whole. The lack of education has led to a butterfly effect of consequences such as fewer jobs, an increase of violence, less income per household, an increased poverty rate, an increase in behavioral issues and even health issues. But the government has seen these issues and have been trying to resolve this problem for years now. I have faith that our government can one day pull us out of this rut, but until that happens we will continue to see the nation spiral out of control due to that fact that we do not educate or equip our fellow neighbors with the knowledge and tools that they need to prosper in everyday life.
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