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Willisms

« The Middle East Is Changing | WILLisms.com | Changing Scope of Women's Rights »

Education, an Autopsy

You see, boys forget what their country means by just reading The Land of the Free in history books. Then they get to be men they forget even more. Liberty's too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I'm free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn't, I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that. -Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Bill Gates recently remarked that American High Schools are "obsolete." That’s an upsetting comment, only for that fact that it’s true. America is very used to, and very comfortable, being the top dog and the leader of the world. In our comfort though, we have gotten fat and lazy. Through celebration of mediocrity and grade inflation our population has been dumbed down, so much so that we are really a laughingstock in the world.

This nation has not always been the sole superpower. We started out lonely, a small coastline republic on a vast, unexplored continent, but through the natural hardships we grew strong of will and character. That strength allowed the fortitude to grow a strong industry, a model of capitalism in which even a poor Abe Lincoln could become educated and rise to the Presidency.

We have, however, lost our way. The greatest minds of the past, the Einsteins, Edisons, Benjamin Franklins, and Adam Smiths share something. In their youth, they were educated by teachers who did not attend "education schools." Believe it or not, at one time teachers were required to learn subjects just like other students, and then teach. They were not simply enrolled in education schools and then sent to schools. Today, the education major is by and large, a joke. I do not mean to imply that there are not brilliant, highly dedicated individuals who are enrolled in such programs, but the data is overwhelmingly against the idea that they are anything but unusual.

For Science classes in high school, why not bring in individuals with a strong background in science, like say, a scientist? If they don't have a teaching certificate, that’s illegal in many places. That doesn't make sense.

What education in America needs is not new ideas, but to great rid of the new ideas, and get back to what always worked. Stress sciences and math. English is not social studies, and should not be treated as such. The workload in many cases need not be harder, but it should make more sense. I know when I was in high school, 2 consecutive English Classes discussed nothing but the Holocaust. It’s an important subject and must be covered, but do I need 2 years of high school devoted to it, and nothing towards the American Revolution? Our friends in the education business are not stupid; it’s just that they know so much that isn't so.

Competition is not bad for children and teenagers. It’s good for them. Canceling spelling bees and no longer having valedictorians serves only to diminish the drive to succeed, and does nothing to help those who fall behind. The world is full of competition, it would be good to get the youth prepared for it.

The rest of the world is catching up to America, and I would have no problem with this if we were in a position to compete, but as I see it today, we are not. We have too much television and not enough thought. Sure, we may be a wealthy country, but that doesn't mean we are going to remain a wealthy country. Education is the most important duty we have to the youth, and we are failing miserably.

Posted by · 4 March 2005 12:58 PM

Comments

Just wanted to include some of Newt Gingrich's ideas on education, found here:

http://www.aei.org/events/filter.,eventID.1016/transcript.asp

One of his ideas, and he admits it is "radical," is paying the kids to actually prove they have learned the toughest subjects.

Posted by: Will Franklin at March 4, 2005 02:22 PM