Why does the US need education reform? A nation in crisis.

Throughout history there have been defining periods of human ingenuity and creative thought that have transformed society. Inventions in the 1700’s were precursors to the industrial revolution in the 1800’s. The 1900’s saw the advent of the mass-produced automobile, the telephone, television, radio, computers, internet and more. In the past 20 years we’ve seen just how the internet and communications technology can change the world. It still amazes this blog writer that just just a few years ago Facebook burst onto the scene, a site that assisted in an Egyptian revolution and most of us generally can’t live without. We’re all living in a time when the world that’s changing at the speed of technology.

This ever-changing world has put our nation in crisis. Today’s HS graduate will have on average 8-15 careers in his/her lifetime, even if they stay with the same company. This is paradime-shifting in it’s implications for educating our children. Our competitive advantages of the past (natural resources, capital, technology and human captial) have been eroded by globalization. Brain power is now the competitive advantage in the 21st century, making ed the center of  global competition.

If brain power is the new global capital, how is the US measuring up? Let’s take a look. ABC’s 20/20 host, John Stossel, made a persuasive feature he titled “Stupid in America” arguing that a lack of choice cheats our kids out of a good education. This is clearly a pro-charter feature, which is a topic we’ve explored in previous blog posts and not why we’re referencing it. (See previous posts Join the Conversation: Charter Schools The Myth of Charter Schools) What was interesting about this report was a comparison between students at an above average Jersey high school and to students at an equivalent level at a school in Belgium. ABC gave parts of an international test to each class. After taking the test each class felt they had done well on the test. How did they fare?

“Belgian kids cleaned the American kids’ clocks, and called them ‘stupid.’ We didn’t pick smart kids to test in Europe and dumb kids in the United States. The American students attend an above-average school in New Jersey, and New Jersey’s kids have test scores that are above average for America. Lov Patel, the boy who got the highest score among the American students, told me, ‘I’m shocked, because it just shows how advanced they are compared to us.’ …When students from 40 countries are tested, the Americans place 25th.”

Today, more than 220 of the world’s biggest companies have their IT operations in India. Many of these jobs are skilled, high-paying technology jobs. Why are major corporations moving overseas? America is facing the challenge of an increasingly global and constantly changing world with an education system that’s entrenched in educating for a world that doesn’t exist anymore, and the market is holding this hard fact up to our face.  Intel’s Sr. Vice president fears four our competitive future as a nation. Lester Thorough of MIT expressed, “if we do not get a handle on this problem of non-functionals entering the labor market, the US will become a third world labor market by the year 2030.”

I was planning on throwing some more statistics at you demonstrating rising dropout rates and talk about how they’ll affect our economy and our ability as a nation to govern, but instead I think I’ll just show you these clips from Jay Leno’s late night comedy show:

  1. Jay Walking: Geographically Challenged. Jay quizzes high school students on geography because he couldn’t believe that 11% of American students between the ages of 18 and 24 couldn’t locate the United States on a map  (that’s 1 in 10 students)

Note: one of the comments below this video reads, “Man americans are stupid! I thought war was the only way for them to learn geography, but they don’t even know where they’re fighting.”

  1. Jay Walking: Citizenship Test. Jay asks passersby to answer questions from the American citizenship test and deports those who fail.

So, the question remains, how do we prepare our children to live in an ever-changing world? We need to find a better way to instill in our students the agility to learn and relearn, to think and re-think creatively and connect ideas, solve problems and think for themselves.  It’s clear we’re not doing that now, so what are we going to do about it?

Learn how entrepreneurship education can help.

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3 Comments

Filed under Discussion, Education Reform

3 responses to “Why does the US need education reform? A nation in crisis.

  1. Pingback: Why does the US need education reform? A nation in crisis. | International Education News | Renaissance School International | Panama City | private preschool, elementary school, middle school

  2. Pingback: The Creativity Crisis | Urban School Foundation Blog

  3. JERRY

    Our public schools have become nothing more than indoctrination centers for socialism and secular humanism. American education has taken a back to the creation of a global government. The United States has to be brought down not only in our educational standards, but our industrial, economic and political standards must be “changed” in order to make this global nightmare work. The Sovereignty of our nation is up for sale to the highest bidder and our children and grand children are going to pay the price if they succeed.

    Our American history has been drastically edited, deleted and twisted and today history textbooks portrays America as a selfish and greedy people. Nothing can be further from the truth. Everytime a tragidy comes along, it is the American people that step up to the plate and give. Amazingly, our nation has been the most prosperous and giving nation in history but this is not printed in todays textbooks.

    Our founding fathers have been made out to be a bunch of Gnostics, Atheists, and Deists, yet the vast majority of their writings portrays their strong faith in Christianity. In fact, James Madison modeled our three branches of Government after Isaiah 33:22:

    For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us. (Isa 33:22 KJV)

    In 1854 the U.S House of Representatives ordered a report on the faith of our Founding Fathers and this report can be read today at the Library of Congress website. After reading the report in 1854 they concluded the following:

    Congress, U. S. House Judiciary Committee, 1854
    “Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle… In this age, there can be no substitute for Christianity… That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.”
    Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives Made During the First Session of the Thirty-Third Congress (Washington: A. O. P. Nicholson, 1854), pp. 6-9.

    Administrator’s in our public schools preach critical thinking, yet deny the students the opportunity to study all sides of the issues relative to science and biology. Creation was the primary teaching in American schools for almost 200 years and we were number one in the world in almost every educational field there is. Almost every scientic and biology find in history has been found by those who believed in a Creator and they had no reason to twist the evidence in order to establish a religious view at the expense of true science.

    The bible was allowed to be read in school, prayer was the standard every morning, the Ten Commandments were posted so every student and teacher could read them, and Creation science was taught side be side evolution. If they have so much scientific evidence (and they don’t) for evolution, then why are they so afraid of Creation science to be taught in our public schools?

    Not until all of these things were removed did the deadly violence, drug use, rape and teen pregnancy become such and overwhelming problem as they are today. They have removed GOD from our public schools and in doing so have removed the fear of GOD from our nation.

    Today Darwinian atheistic evolution is the only scientific theory allowed to be taught to our students and this is not education, but humanistic (atheistic) indoctrination. Secularist after secularist has admitted that without evolution, their atheistic religion falls apart and they don’t have any true evidence for evolution. Both the Creationist and the evolutionist look at the same evidence but because of their world views they come up with two very different theories and results. Either GOD of whom was there is right, or man of whom was not there is right, it cannot be both! I believe that GOD created everything and man is created in GOD’S image.

    Just as I do, if you believe in evolution, you too have your Constitutional rights and are welcome to believe your religious view that man came from pond scum (nothing) and by some unknown means developed legs and crawled out if you want. But don’t indoctrinate our children in your religion and tell others that they have no right to teach their religion to these same children.

    Don’t tell me that religion is not to be taught in public school, it just depends on who’s religion and who is running our public school system. Who does the responsibility for education go to according to the U.S. Constitution? That is simple, the States and the parents, not the Secular/Socialist/Globalistic Federal Government of today.

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