The Education System in the USA
The Education System in the USA
By Michelle A. Hoffmann
Hello. First off, let me say that I am a mother to 4 wonderful children. Three of them are grown and off doing their own things – whatever that may be. The fourth one – my son – I’d like to think I still have (some) control over. lol
With that being said, today I would like to talk about the Education system here in the United States of America. Now, you’d think that, because the USA is (or at least, was) considered to be an advanced society, we would have the greatest education system in the world, correct?
Think again. The education system that we are using to teach our children – our future – is so antiquated that we are doing nothing but basically – to put it so eloquently – “dumbing our children down”. It does not [seem] to care about whether or not our children become contributing members of society. All it [seems to] care about is producing more fodder for the machine.
Let me start by telling you a story. The other day, I was talking with my 15 year old son (Yes, TALKING! We do do that sometimes… I know, right? Weird!). I had asked him what he was learning in school. (He attends virtual school) He told me that many of the things that he was being taught were things that he had actually learned back in 7th grade (He’s now in 10th). I was like – ‘huh?’.
See, a couple of years ago, we moved from Wisconsin to Florida. (Love the warm weather in the winter – hate the HOT in the summer. I miss Wisconsin – but, I digress). When we had finally gotten settled, we enrolled him in school – 8th grade. Didn’t think much about what the education system was like until he began telling us that he was learning things in 8th grade that he had learned in 6th grade up in Wisconsin.
And then, in 9th grade, he ended up being taught more things that he had learned in 7th grade in Wisconsin. In fact, he even had to take a class (Spanish 1) that he had already taken in his old school in Wisconsin. And again, now in 10th grade… he is being taught some more things that he had learned in Wisconsin and, in fact… he was enrolled in Spanish 1 for a THIRD time. Why? I don’t know – he got an A the first two times he took the course. lol I guess it’s their ‘curriculum’.
It seems to me that the Florida school system is broken. That the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.
I began to think – ‘What the hell is going on here?’ I had been under the impression that the curriculum being taught in one state was the same curriculum being taught everywhere in the US. Am I wrong? I must be.
Not only that, but back in Wisconsin, the virtual system seemed to be so much more advanced and organized. Down here in Florida, on the other hand, when the pandemic hit, the schools scrambled to get their virtual system up and running smoothly for the thousands of new students that they would have to service. And boy… did they fall down on the job.
I’m not going to go into everything that went wrong. This would get way too long. But I do need to impress upon the people in charge that things DO need to be upgraded, updated, improved; whatever it is that you need to do to fix it so that the students’ time is spent LEARNING and not spent playing catch up because a system fell down and the administrators in charge were too interested in following POLICY rather than helping to fix that which is broken.
So, we need to fix things. And that’s what I am going to talk about.
The first thing we need to fix is the old school ‘policy’.
Society today is no longer ‘sheltered’. We are no longer just towns and cities, countries and continents. Society is now WORLD WIDE.
The internet came along and it has changed our world forever. And the education system needs to change along with it. We cannot teach things the same way that we did 30 years ago. Back in my day (yes, I’m dating myself here), we were taught about things that happened in far away lands and to far away peoples and the things we were taught, ultimately, were the things that the ‘victors’ wanted us to know. We did not get to see or hear the other sides’ views, or hear their arguments to what was being fought about.
Today, we have TV. There are people traveling to other countries, telling their stories about what is happening (from their point of view). We get to hear from the oppressed. We get to hear from the [alleged] oppressors. We get to hear both sides of the story and we get to make up our own minds about what is going on in the world. And those in charge don’t like it.
They don’t like it because they can no longer hide the truth. Regimes are under attack by the very people that they have long been keeping hegemonized. The world is changing. Society is changing.
The current policy of the school systems (at least the Florida one) is that ‘this is the way it’s done and it can’t be changed’. This is (excuse my French) BULLSHIT!. Policy is not law. It is not set in stone. There are only 10 rules that were set in stone, and no one knows where they are.
So ultimately, the POLICY also needs to change. It needs to be more adaptable.
We all learned in school that in order for something to survive, it has to change. If early man had not changed; had not ADAPTED, we would not be here today. If we do not adapt to OUR surroundings; if we do not change, our descendants will not be here tomorrow.
We cannot simply keep doing things the way that they have always been done and expect things to progress. We need to change the way that we do things – and this ultimately begins with the way that we teach future generations.
In my opinion, we do not need to dwell on the past like we do now. Yes, we do need to touch on the past – if we ignore it, we are doomed to make many of the same mistakes that we did back then. However, what we need to do is to focus more on making the future better. Making LIFE better. for EVERYONE.
This brings me to the second thing that needs to change.
Schools – namely, High schools. I believe that high schools today really need to focus on teaching LIFE skills. You know, the skills that you need to get ahead in life? Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know, there are some schools now that do this, but not nearly enough. In fact, I think it would be great if there were classes in schools on how to raise your own food; how to manage your finances; how to raise your own kids (instead of having the ‘boob tube’ do it).
Maybe we can bring back classes such as shop, typing, and home economics; you know, the classes that were basically taken out of many schools to make way for things like ‘Gate to Tech’ (which, by the way, had NOTHING to do with Technology, my son says). Maybe we can introduce NEW classes that will focus on finding solutions to things like global warming, cleaning up our oceans, saving our rainforests, reducing our carbon footprint; in essence, saving our environment and our planet.
The third and final thing, while it does need to be fixed, does not really need to be totally changed.
This is the curriculum that is taught in schools today. English, History, Math, Science, are all great. We need all of them. However, in my opinion we do not need English and History as much as we need Math and Science.
Now, while I will admit that we do need to know some things, such as punctuation and grammar, we definitely don’t need English shoved down our throats for four years. Nowhere in life are we going to need to know that the words someone said were the past participle of the verb go. We don’t need to know what each and every little part of a sentence is. This stuff should be taught in college – to those people who will actually need to know it – like writers or editors or publishers. THEY are the ones who will be using it in their day to day life!
Nor do we need to know the victor of a certain war that was fought thousands of years ago by people we never knew and will never meet. The people who will need to know this are the people who want to be archaeologists or historians – people whose job it is to learn about past civilizations; people who want to learn about the past. This should be taught in depth to THESE people. Touched on in high school, sure. But focused on? No.
Now, Math and Science? These subjects are so important to the advancement of our society that everyone should be well educated in them. They should be taught from 1st grade right on up through 12th grade. Start teaching these to children early. Let their young minds develop into the Einsteins; the Teslas; the Tysons; the Musks; the Curies; or the Archimedes’ of tomorrow.
Classes such as Quantum Mechanics or Bio-chemistry should be offered in high school, not just college. Cyber-Security and Environmental Science should also be classes that high school students have the option to take. We can’t forget medical courses, either. These should be touched on, as well. Give the kids some options. Show them the things that are available to them.
In my opinion, high school should be preparing students for the future – getting them prepared to continue on with whatever they wish to do in life.
It should give them a slight push in the direction of what they will want to do or be. High School should be a stepping stone on their path to the future. It should encourage them to be more than they ever imagined!
The education system, the way it stands today, is not set up in such a way as to help young people succeed. It is a rickety, old, and cranky system which has become hardened in its ways, and refuses to yield even an inch toward accepting change. The future of the United States (and the world) depends on our children. And what our children need, is a system which encourages the improvement and reconstruction of that which has become stagnant and static, into something which can be molded and melded into a workable and accepting methodology that enlightens and encourages growth. In other words, it needs to accept change and adapt.
Michelle Hoffmann is a mother of 4, a digital artist at https://DistortedViewImagery.com, a writer, a Chandler, a photographer, a website designer, a Criminal Justice major and a Homeland Security & Emergency Management major. She is also the owner, editor and publisher of The 24KaratMarketer Ezine – http://24kezine.com, an online publication that is dedicated to helping marketers, new and experienced, succeed in their online businesses. Yes, she does it all!
Her main website is https://MichelleHoffmann.com