Sunday, November 6, 2011

Our Education Problem

The New York Times has been called the default national newspaper, even though it is politically a little more liberal than the nation as a whole. Similarly, I guess that TIME is the closest we have to a national magazine, with a look at the issues that are of the most interest to Americans each week. It may be slightly to the right of the New York Times, while still just a bit to the left of center. Yet more than any other magazine, it's the world's window on the American mind, week by week.

So I use TIME a lot to let me know what's going on and to feel the nation's pulse. This week the magazine's lead story was on declining social mobility in America. Two other stories splashed across the cover are closely related to that lead: one about the growing divide between young and old, the other about the sad state of education in the U.S.

The story Whatever Happened to Upward Mobility takes a look at how America's unwritten contract over the ages - we accept greater income inequality here because of the greater opportunity to move up and into a higher income level - has weakened recently. In other words, it's harder to move up from middle-income to wealthy; harder still to move from poor to wealthy. There's not a lot new in the article, much of it having been subjects of discussion for several years, and it reminds me of a story in the Washington Post yesterday on the same topic. One example of this "so what else is new?" idea is when columnist Michael Gerson writes "An economy that rewards skills and other forms of human capital is not a good place to be a dropout with a child out of wedlock." Wait - what? Really? So mostly, it's stuff we already knew.

Yet TIME's story makes it clear that there has been a shift and that some of the causes of decreased class mobility - and the accompanying greater income inequality - are societal and largely beyond most individuals' ability to change. One is the greater emphasis our economy has put in the financial sector relative to the past and to other countries; for the most part, this has not been a good thing for the country. The other is how the relatively smaller "social safety nets" in the U.S. have made it harder for lower and middle-class citizens to move up the ladder, compared to European countries, although Europe's current economic crisis shows there's a downside to that, too. But the bottom line is my Income Inequality essay of 2007 was wrong, to the extent that it didn't recognize the changes in social mobility. That's partly due to developments over the last 4 years, but also my failure to see all of the signs of those changes back then.

Nevertheless, the TIME story's main message overall is that we need better educated workers to get and keep decent paying jobs. That quite simply is the bottom line: education is the best way to reverse these negative trends. So this finally takes us to the magazine's article When Will We Learn?

Again - this is mostly stuff we already know. But with kind of an exclamation point on it! When Steven Jobs graduated from a California high school in 1972, the state's schools were widely recognized as the best in the world. Fast forward to today when California's schools "...rank at the bottom of the country, just as the U.S. now sits at the bottom of the industrialized world by most measures of educational achievement." The country's educational system now ranks 26th in the world; even worse in science and math.

In a world where low-skill jobs can be done much cheaper elsewhere, this is the single biggest cause of our high unemployment and stagnant incomes. While other countries have beefed up their math and science instruction, we instead have funneled college students into new "fields like sports exercise and leisure studies." The article sums it up with "Our labor force is too expensive and poorly educated for today's marketplace." If people are to move ahead in society, a good education is the number one requisite, and we as a nation aren't doing the job.

The solution? A combination of harder work on the part of students, more money for teachers, and more innovative teaching strategies. Students in Shanghai, which just last week scored higher than any other high school students in the world, go to school 2 hours a day longer than U.S. students; they study formally after school every day, and on weekends too. TIME cites South Korean students, who have two more full years of school than their American counterparts. Past essays on this site have described the lack of motivation on the part of the typical American student; this is also different from students in other countries, and thus another reason we rank 26th.

How will we add two hours a day, two more years overall to our children's schooling? That's all about the money, not to mention serious push-back from teacher unions, parents, and especially students themselves. And to be just totally blunt, that still leaves the motivation issue, which will only be solved, IMO, by an extended economic depression that finally slaps this message into our kids' heads: "If you want any kind of decent life, you better start working a lot harder than you have been!"

TIME once again brought up teachers in Finland, which has one of the world's most successful educational system. As you may already know, all Finnish teachers must have a Master's degree, teachers are considered as prestigious as doctors, and only one out of ten applicants are accepted into teaching programs. Meanwhile, a teaching career, and the people it attracts in the U.S., is not quite at that level, to put it gently. All this matters, says Bill Gates, who's spent $5 billion of his own money to improve U.S. education. He believes that the biggest single factor in improving student achievement is better teachers. He mentions a study that "estimates that if black students had a top-quartile teacher rather than a bottom-quartile teacher four years in a row, that would be enough to close the black-white test-score gap."

"More money for teachers" has been the mantra of just about everyone in America for many years - but it just never happens, and probably never will. At least not in the foreseeable future. We were exploring the concept of opportunity cost in my classes the other day, and one of the examples we considered was reducing the national debt vs. spending more on education. Almost everyone agrees that we need to seriously boost our educational system, and that will cost money. But at the same time, almost everyone agrees we need to do something about the national debt. These two things truly are mutually exclusive - at least in the short-run. In the long-run, a better educational system will help solve many of our problems, including the debt. But we simply can't afford to spend more on education right now. At the same time, we can't afford not to. A dilemma of the greatest order....

This of course relates to TIME's The New Generation Gap, and my own Generational Warfare essay of last month. The elderly are taking a larger and larger piece of the pie, and they are politically very powerful. In a time of especially scarce funding, they're sucking away money that could, that should, go to improving our educational system. In the long-run, we all win from better schooling - assuming that the teacher unions and students themselves see the light. Unfortunately, our country doesn't have a good record lately on sacrificing in the short-run in order to create a brighter future. That's gotta change, or else we're all sunk.

45 comments:

Brigid Moran said...

Many articles, including this blog entry at times, put too much emphasis on the failure of the American student. The Finnish view on the importance of good teachers makes much more sense than our own nation’s. A large part of a teacher’s job is to motivate students to do well both in school and the real world, but because being a teacher in America is not seen as being as important of a job that it is, many people who are unqualified and may not even really want the job get through the system, and do not do their job of preparing their students.

Shane Jost said...

Amother problem that america has now and may bar them in the future is the motivation of the student. Many of the students in the American school system simply aren't motivated to learn. They hate having to go to school each day and try as hard as they can to do as little work as possible and get away with it, starting in Kindergarden and 1st grade, and continuing into high school (with some exceptions of course). The main difference between us and Finland is that finland starts trying to get kids into learning at a very young age (around our equivalent of Pre-school and kindergarden), and try to keep Education interesting for them. And since they learned at a very young age that learning is fun, and not lame, they go through life with that same philosophy (which is probably why Finland scored an amazing 0.993 on the 2008 Education index published by the UN). Now, a lot of this is on the teachers, because they're the ones in closest contact with the students at this crucial age, but a lot of it is on the schools themselves, and it's up to a combination of the two to provide an environment which gives the students these ideals.

Elizabeth Kenyon said...

Funding for education or the elderly, this seems to be the question continually facing politicians who seem to always choose the elderly. The national debt isn't going away any time soon and cutting funds for education doesn't seem to be helping. Then everyone wonders why or educational system is not doing well, who then blame the teachers or the students. Yes I know that not all teachers or students are motivated. Motivation is a large issue in education and cutting funds is encouraging the lack of motivation.
Now I'm curious to see how American students would do in Finland. I would hope that they would engage and become more motivated to learn.

Sarah Hardimon said...

Improving education is necessary to improve the economy in the long run; however in the short run it seems also seems impossible to increase funding. While going into too much debt is partially responsible for the current economic crisis, borrowing more money to fund education-either to increase time spent in schools or increasing the salaries of teachers would have long term benefits that might ultimately contribute to improving the economy as the workforce become better educated and more globally competitive. The decision of whether or not to increase education ultimately comes down to opportunity cost. Increasing education funding would have the opportunity cost of either cutting other programs-like welfare or national defense, while refusing to increase education funding would have the opportunity cost of continuing to drop in world rankings and of having a less competitive workforce in the global economy.

Anonymous said...

"Our Education Problem" has a very distinct message towards America. The main issue is the Americans have been too "lazy" not doing work, and even when they have done work, it hasn't bee nthe bestr. I really enoyed this article because it has many issues that we discuss in TOK.

-Eddie

Alex Staninger said...

This essay was an overall good essay and I believe most students should read it because they need to see the problems we are faced with and know more about our education system. We need to stop taking our education system for granted because most kids aren’t given the opportunity to receive schooling even though many would like to all over the world. Education is an important step for us to move forward into this world. However I feel that there were parts of this essay that were one-sided.

Kristen Phung said...

Everyone says that we need a serious booth in out education system. But who is willing to initiate a better education? No one has the money right now to extend the hours in class, or the amount of days in a school year. In fact, budgets are so desperate right now that they had already eliminated days in a semester. Also, the districts up north have Furlow days where students receive random days off, due to the budget cuts. Our education system in the U.S. compared to those in Finland and Shanghai, is a joke to them.

Anonymous said...

What I really liked about this essay of yours was that it gave another look at something. You had a “let’s take a whole, fresh, new look at this issue and see what we can come to agreement on, if anything. You go on to quote Joel Stein when he says: "I don't know a lot about banking. But I do not believe that the worldwide recession was caused by financial derivatives created by the 1% who tricked the 99%. I believe it was created by the great wide middle class who took out loans to live out the techno-bling dream we deified in rap songs and reality TV. Credit-card debt went up 75% from 1997 to 2007. We're now a nation of really poor people with a lot of frequent-flier miles." I do believe that the recession was caused by financial derivatives created by the “1%” but after that initial disagreement, I agree that a lot of people “took out loans to live out the techno-bling dream we defined in rap songs and reality TV” and that people shouldn’t do that. But are they responsible for poor choices made by very powerful very wealthy executives who had a far greater hand in our economic turmoil? You could make the case if you wanted too… but I simply do not believe that to be true.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! I think you've encapsulated the mission of this blog and our challenge.

Melinda Sevilla said...

I agree that the first step in improving a student's success is the teacher, and the fact that Finland requires teachers to have a Master’s Degree in order to teach leads me to believe that “we” (The United States) are going too easy on our teachers and their qualifications to teach. However, an issue is that if we were to require teachers to have a Master’s, they would need to be paid more, and the government doesn’t exactly have a few extra bucks lying around to do that right now. In order to even start attempting to fix our education system, we need to fix our national debt. We can't afford to waste our money on anything but the country's necessities right now.

Emily Charter said...

I agree with this post, because most Americans don't try their hardest to succedd. Many Americans just try to float by, whereas other countries are more encouraged to learn. Another problem is due to the budget cuts from the state, where they cut money from schools, which is one of the most important things.I also think many people under estimate Americas schools. Schools like San Diego High, are one of many, who motivate their students and make them succeed.

Alex Tam said...

Difference of America and other countries? Importance of education. The education system has been severly impacted, with teachers being cut off and other activities being centered on. Not ony this, but there aren't many students with the motivation equaling with Finland. Fortunately, someone pledged themself to patch up the crack in the education system, but rather than help, he/she would just 'lay' down.

Scenario related to education problems? The stressful U.S national debt. With the rising debt at an average of $85,000 per sec, it doesn't appear to be great, and the progress of repeling the debt is extremly slow. Not only debt, but job deployment rates, which bogs down the economy in terms of productivity. Another person pledges themself to fix the debt problem, but rather than help, they just 'lay down'. Oh, did I accidently say the last sentece again?

For the American mind, in my perspective, money is 'sort of' the solution to prolong highly trained and motivated teachers. With all of the money hogged up by the 'poor' elderly, will they be able to use the money to help our everyday problems? It's their choice, but are they trustworthy?

How can any American can just stand still and do nothing when they could've realize education and debt are at stake?

Saul said...

This article has taught me a lot about what problems we have on education in America. We are low ranked in education. China, Japan and other countries around the world, have better education. America is struggling overall. The economy is not helping the situation. Teachers and staff are getting fired because there is not sufficient funds to keep them. It is sad to them go. That happened to us with Mr. Ankeney. This is something that the government needs to change.

Noa Kaufhold said...

We all need to step it up. Government and every-day people alike. I had the privilege of getting to visit Shanghai, China and had the most eye-opening experience in terms of education. The teachers do not wait for their students. While being taught Chinese, when the teacher was asked about a word she already taught us, the question was responded to with a confused look. In the Chinese education system, you either get it or you don't. There is no room for "I forgot". No one waits for you. It is fiercely competitive. You either step up and learn, or someone else will take your place instead. We need to learn to step it up ourselves, because at the rate the other countries are going, soon we will be unable to keep up. Nobody's going to wait up for us, and we'll end up in their dust, sitting there wondering, "What happened?"

SonjaImhoof5683 said...

I feel as though this article talks only about one perspective and not the perspective of the student. A student could be living in the worst situations or be living in foster care and all teachers can see are excuses. I can fully understand that teachers still expect work from any student, but it's not just the determination of the students that the problem. We need better money, better teachers, and more determination from just about everyone that is involved in the school system. By doing that we can actually compete against other nations. At this point our government is being ignorant and uncaring because they believe there are more things important than education, but they fail to remember that eventually our generation will run the country soon and they will be sitting back and watching things unfold. Unless we wake up now, we'll never be the great country we once were.

Samir Senner said...

While I've heard you mention this in class already, I agree that our education system is an issues. Much of the issue is the lack of motivation based on habits. America is known as "a lazy country" and being known this way, a lot of people don't really want to bother changing. The competition with China and other countries similar to it.. well there is none at the moment. As you mentioned, a lot of college students are being funneled in to majors such as athletic exercise or other fields the relate to this one, and while it can get you good pay, they just aren't very beneficial to our economy, and another important point is that it is just highly unlikely that someone is going to find a good job in this field that is actually beneficial to our economy. It's all a question of habit and motivation to me.

Madera said...

What if it isn't the student, but more of the teacher's fault? Yes, it should be the student who is in charge of his/her own education. However, what if the teacher is making the student unmotivated? When the teacher confuses the student with a lesson, that can be a HUGE factor in lack of motivation.
Furthermore, I believe many people simply don't have a list of priorities. They believe that grades are very important and sacrifice their life to attain an A in one class. I think something different. I take a class to learn, not to get a grade. I don't care if I fail a class, as long as I learn from it.

Rachel Padilla said...

There are many factors that lead to a booming economy. I feel like the argument that teaching should be a competitive career is a good point, yet, the funding to do so is limited. That is why this will always be a hard thing to achieve. If we cut back on other things such as health care, or increase taxes, society will always complain. I feel like if we want to see improvement, the government must make budget cuts, despite the complaints. There are many contributions to the dire economic state, yet, I believe that these failures are only encouragement to better the American life.

Elise Polk said...

It would be great if we could pay teachers more money, and implement, as you mentioned in the blog, the Finnish way, where they hire only teachers with master’s degrees. We need teachers who will truly teach for the kids, not just for their own income. But it seems that giving them a higher pay would be the only incentive for them to teach kids to their best ability. Even so, we as a nation cannot afford to raise teacher’s paychecks. So, I’m not sure what America can do. We’re in a tough situation; we must decide raise funds for education, or keep spending in other areas. I don’t believe this problem can be solved anytime soon. The economy is too fragile right now, and we are already in too much debt. Therefore, there really isn’t much that can be done to fix the education problem at the moment, but I do believe that it is important that teachers get paid more so that they will teach the students the way China and Finland teach their students.

Joanna Garcia said...

I agree with the idea that only an economic meltdown like a depression would awaken student’s motivation to excel in school. This recession has changed students’ view of reality of the job market only to an extent. The students who were directly affected by the rise in the unemployment rate, if for example, they had an unemployed parent they would be more willing to succeed. Beside those people, the recession does not paint the picture Americans desperately need. A lot of it has to do with the lack of understanding that we have a globalized economy and only hard workers will succeed. I think the essay could have touched on the student entitlement and overconfidence based solely on the fact that they are Americans, part of a powerful world power (that is slowly collapsing) as it is one of the main attributors for the lack of motivation. This has prevented students from unfolding a greater potential; to awaken the once again sleeping giant. In the long run spending on education is a great investment to make our economy flourish but it does come with short run opportunity costs that most people find to be crucial. In the end, education needs to be a priority to everyone if we want to continue living the quality of lives we have or face a greater economic meltdown.

mayapapaya said...

As I was reading this essay, I began to think how it is difficult to actually receive insight a make a fair judgment on problem and issues that take place in other countries, because not only will that countries news be biased but our countries new is always biased as well. The media only shows what they want the people to see, for example, for the war in Iraq or Afghanistan, the media will show what the United States is doing well and what we are doing to help the countries, or they will show negatives things in either of the countries, it is rare for the media to show the flaws of the United States of the government.

Brandon Matticks said...

Furthermore I think the U.S is more lenient with their educational system, which is why we don’t have as much progress as other countries. Not knowing this, Finland’s teachers require a masters degree which although harder to get, has benefited them very well. Also the U.S has one of the greatest populations, so there’s could be a bigger group os slackers whereas in other countries they don’t have as many due to their smaller population.

Jorge Saldana said...

We are between a rock and hard place with this one. The only solution seems to be that only a higher paycheck for our teachers and more money into the educational system will improve our students capacity to compete with third world countries. However, we cannot afford to do that. What we can do, is motivate our students. It is free and effective. Everyone wants to be successful, but they only 'kinda' want it. Only when a student wants to be successful as much as he or she wants to breathe, then they will become successful.

Jorge Saldana said...

We are between a rock and hard place with this one. The only solution seems to be that only a higher paycheck for our teachers and more money into the educational system will improve our students capacity to compete with third world countries. However, we cannot afford to do that. What we can do, is motivate our students. It is free and effective. Everyone wants to be successful, but they only 'kinda' want it. Only when a student wants to be successful as much as he or she wants to breathe, then they will become successful.

Alyssa Paredes said...

This issue is an ongoing dilemma that seems to have no possible solution; our country has dug a hole so deep that there seems to be no way out. There is no doubt that the lack of motivation in the American student should be considered a big concern, but is the student all to blame? Our country's negligence to the importance of the education system over the years has made a lasting impact on the young generation. I believe that the educational values in Finland set a perfect example of how to insure a student is receiving a proper education from teachers who are fully qualified for the job. From there, I suppose one can decide whether or not the student is the problem, but America wouldn't know. While society complains and worries about the fact that the young generation lacks motivation and good work ethics, it is only right to consider the lack of qualified teachers in our system. I believe reading this entry can benefit students, for it made me more aware of "Our Education Problem" and the possible (more like probable) obstacles our generation is bound to face in the near future.

Nico Gomez said...

This essay is about a very important topic, the Education Problem. If there was not a problem with our education, we would not have to worry about a 'education gaps’. We are ranked low in education as a state not because we are stupid kids; some teachers aren't as qualified as other states. When the teachers are qualified, you get a smarter California. If teachers were to be paid more, there would be more people wanting to be a teacher. Right now, people are looking out for themselves in the future. Being a teacher won't give you the pay day of your dreams, and that’s what people are looking for.

Dana Garcia said...

Education is the key to a better future. However, it can't just be all put in the hands of the teachers. Students should be trying as hard as they can, slacking off won't help. In order to compete against the other educational systems of the world, there must be a balanced strive to succeed between the teachers and students. The economic problem won't be solved anytime soon, therefore it's up to the workers of tomorrow. Paying teachers more money, makes it seem like it will be the only incentive for them to teach better. Once the educational system improves, everyone will be motivated to strive for their best.

James Mendoza said...

I agree with the majority of the ways that were mentioned on how we should improve the education of this country. For instance, I think students should be in school longer. Personally, I wouldn’t like this too much at first, but I would learn to accept it. I think most students would feel the same way. At first they would be angry, but in the end they would adjust. If we are to catch up to other nations, then we must follow their example. I also feel that teachers should be paid more, but in return, they should have to be in school longer. Maybe if both students and teachers were in school longer, then the educational system in the U.S. would improve.

Unknown said...

Many students lack the motivation and the extra push that parents in other countries give their kids. I believe that they hold them up to a bigger standard that the American parents hold their kids to. America has a stereotype that you can come to America and turn your life around, as to other countries such as China hold their population as a whole to a whole different standard. To have a student really succeed in this world they need motivation from everyone around them.

Katie Whitelock said...

Regardless of the steps taken, it is evident that as a nation, we need to redefine the way that we view our education. As American student’s test scores continue to decrease while students in other nations continue to succeed, we need to make change before our students are left even further behind. The attitude towards public education needs to shift from being an entitlement to being a blessing. Also there needs to be a greater focus on preparing college students to choose career paths in which they can repay their students loans quickly. Finally, there needs to be reform in the allocation of our government spending so that money can be allocated towards improving the education system .

Gabriela Reha said...

We all know that there is no extra money that could be spent on the educational system so; “a good solution would be a combination of hard workers, more money for teachers, and innovative teaching strategies” would not fully work. We might ask ourselves, why don’t we will cut back on other spending? But we have gone over this before in class… There are not many things that we could cut back that fall under non discretionary fiscal spending. With the exception of the money that goes towards our educational system. The government can’t cut social security, health care, etc, but they can decide to cut back from our schools. I believe that this has a lot to do with it. It is partly our own governments fault. But us as students, since we know that we can’t really count on funding, it is up to us to work hard, in order for us to live any kind of "decent life"

I rhink it is r said...

I think it is really horrible that our education system has become so horrible just in the last couple of decades. It’s really sad to think about how America is spiraling downward so quickly, and no one wants to do anything about it. We never want to think about what we are doing to affect our future, and how what we do now can negatively affect the future. All Americans ever care about is what is going on in the present, and I think that alone can bring our country to a really low place.

Brandon "Caveman" Casillas said...

I liked it but i think what it needs is a better explanation on why the school system has changed and what is causing the decline in education based issues. The Chinese have one way, but we aren't China, and the Finns have their way, we aren't Finns either. Different school have different ways of education, times have changed since the post WWII era of "feel good times" and we still think that it could work. Many things have changed for education, technologically and socially. We no longer have segregated school and no more use of chalk and blackboard. We need to find the missing link between the 1960's and now. We could point fingers at the kids or we could look at it as a whole rather than pick one thing and call it the reason why our education is lacking

Mia Anderson said...

I agree with this essay, because it really is the job of the students to be more motivated. It's also the job of the teachers to make sure the students get a good education and are motivated enough to do well. If we weren't so worried about the debt, and tried to better the schools, our debt might not be so big in the future. We will be the ones in charge later in life, and if we don't have a basic education, it will be impossible to get jobs.

Unknown said...

I agree with this essay because I think it's important to get a good education. Since we will be the ones in charge in the future, an good education is something we'll all need. It also has to do with the motivation of the kids. If the students aren't motivated to do good in school or at least try to get a good education, then there is no point in hiring good teachers. If more money were to be spent on schools and teachers, the national debt might not be so big in the future either.

Karina Valencia said...

I agree with this essay because overallI think that for the United States to have a comeback in the education system, the students must have a motivation. To solve the problem we must start with the students first and make them want to go to school also with the teachers and make them actually teach the students and be their role models. America has to focus on the students because they are the ones who will be in charge later on and if they aren’t well educated then who is going to fix the problems in America such as the national debt.

Joanna Garcia said...

I think part of the reason why California schools in the early seventies were held in such high esteem globally was because of the education reforms implemented in the sixties by President John F. Kennedy so as to be able to compete with powerful world powers like the Soviet Union. Education was seen as the only solution to beat the Soviets in the Cold War, a terrible time of the United States, but it revolutionized our perceptions of what academic excellence meant. Since education was not seen as of national importance for the next decades it proved to be less revolutionized. Just like the essay mentions, one of the solutions to alleviate our global incompetence is by injecting more money into our public education system. There has not been a significant increase in the amount of real money per student since the sixties and I believe that has been the greatest mistake.

Karina Schulz said...

The fact that is is now showing to be quiet evident in today's education system is terrifying. Changes should have to be made to improve the academic system in the US for us to once again regain a dominate role in the world. This may only be possible, though, if each individual gears their mind towards wanting to be on top. Separating sports and school will also be on the beneficiary side of enhancing our country to a place that it used to be.

Joshua Hallmark said...

Today is January 17th,2013 what make that so special is the relationship with the blog. The blog was written in 2011 what shocks me is that many of the arguments presented in the blog are the same as what is currently going on in 2013! I have to agree that there is no way we can become superior scholars in the situation America is in. Education is based of off money, if we lack money that means our teachers, studies, and dedication to learning will weaken. In our position in terms of money we cannot do anything except for decrease the amount of money going to schools. I have experienced many teachers receiving 'pink slips' and being a student I have taken notice of the shorter schools years. How can we improve our system if it does not want to?

Anonymous said...

After reading this blog post, I automatically remembered a conversation we had in our econ class a few weeks ago. You showed us a pie-chart illustrating where the government spends their money in a year. Unfortunately, the government only spends 1.21% on education. And this I believe is the root of the problem. Our country focuses more on entitlements rather than other extremely important aspects that are lacking in funding. I remember you saying that reducing the percentage spent on The Department of Defense won’t solve all of our problems, and no one will want to cut Social Security, Welfare, or Medicare. Cutting that huge portion may end up being political suicide, but we must cut our spending somewhere, and reducing the amount of funds for the schools will not diminish our deficit in the slightest.

-Haley Davis

Alex said...

The first thing I want to comment on is the solution on how to make education better in America. Yes, teachers should be paid more because they are developing the future generation and blah blah blah. However, that is not what would actually help education. A person can be a bad teacher and be paid well too! The main reason we have bad teachers is because of the mentality too keep a teacher employed at a school for as long as possible. Tenur will be the death of everyone. In almost any job market, if you fail to reach a certain standard then you are fired. Why is it not the same for teachers? Obviously there will be students who will fail because they are simply not up to par. That brings up another problem, which is advancing kids through grades when they are not fully ready or at grade level. Holding a kid back is taboo and extremely rare and probably expensive for the educational system, but would it help? Would the threat of being held back more easily inspire kids to get off their ass and do homework? I think so.

Haley Sweet said...

I find that the essay focused a bit much on the lack of funding, suggesting that that was one of the major problems with public education. Which didn't really seem to add up when the main comparison in the essay was America and Finland. Because the US and Finland spend the same percent of their GDP on education.I think the most likely scenario is that Finland has a better teaching philosophy, one that most likely does a better job when it comes to motivating students.

Anonymous said...

In the U.S we approve of greater income inequality because of the advantage to go up in a higher income level. Income inequality can be improved and be easier to move up the ladder of mobility by a better education. Since 1972 our educational system rank has dropped to 26th in the world while other cities and countries are higher in ranking, spend more time in school than in the U.S, and as a result are doing better. one way we can improve our education is by having better teachers, but unfortunately it is not affordable.

-Pablo K.

Lizzie Hall said...

Motivation is a big problem students face, including myself. It makes me wonder if in other countries the students are more motivated to do well. In America, everyone seems to have this belief that, no matter what, everything will be okay. You mentioned this belief in another essay, and I think that it accounts for part of the reason our students are not succeeding as much as foreign students. In other countries, I think students are more aware of how important their education is. They understand that is can determine their quality of life later on.

Lizzie Hall said...

Motivation is a big problem students face, including myself. It makes me wonder if in other countries the students are more motivated to do well. In America, everyone seems to have this belief that, no matter what, everything will be okay. You mentioned this belief in another essay, and I think that it accounts for part of the reason our students are not succeeding as much as foreign students. In other countries, I think students are more aware of how important their education is. They understand that is can determine their quality of life later on.