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America's Education System Is Fine

posted by samusaran253 on - last edited - Viewed by 937 users
I originally posted this on another forum, but then I realized how much I wanted to share it with you guys, so here goes:

After seeing some people, mostly Europeans, claim that all Americans are stupid because our "education system is worse than North Korea's" and making other baseless claims like that, I've decided to share my own experience with the education system of the United States. After going through America's 13 year system, let me say this, it was easy. I wish I could be one of those people who say that high school (the last 4 years of the education system; the last 6 years, if you count junior high school), but they weren't, in fact I am a much happier person now than I was in high school. By no means am I implying that the American education system is perfect, since no system is entirely perfect, but it's definitely not as bad as the liberal media makes it out to be.

No, I'm not a prodigy or anything, but I went through the education system and it worked fine. I didn't go to some fascist Orwellian high school with metal detectors, school uniforms, strict dress code, drug sniffing dogs, or police everywhere. I also didn't go to a run-down high school with gangs, violence, bullying, or anything like that. I just went to a normal American high school. Please note that I am basing this entire thread upon my personal experience, which was with a high school in a semi-rural area, and by no means represents urban (city) high schools, which are likely gang infested.

I went through the system like everyone else, did my education like everyone else, K-6, 7-8, and 9-12, and I wasn't generally a straight A student, nor did I have perfect behavior. I definitely could have been a straight A student had I applied myself more, but that was not the fault of the education system, that was a fault of my own. I am an extremely intelligent human being, and have been since I was about 13. I can code and design an entire fully functional website in less than an hour, I am informed about almost all political issues and have opinions on them, I study political ideologies and religions in my free time to further my knowledge, I know how the world works both in high school and after it, and I was always a step ahead of most of my peers, and still am today in many cases.

We teach our children and later our teenagers just fine, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Does that mean I want to lessen funding towards education? No, in fact I want to increase funding towards education. I feel as though education is very important for today's young people, but remember, high school is all about learning how to become a productive and social member of society, K-6 on the other hand is all about learning basics such as the English language, science, mathematics, and other core classes. My school district never had the best funding, and in my final year of high school it was/is crumbling now, because of lack of state funding. It has gotten so bad that they had to close down a lot of elementary schools in the area, and merge them with other elementary schools. They're even planning on merging an elementary school with my local junior high school, which many of the locals, myself included, are strongly against.

Now lets get down to the social aspect, high school has virtually no bullying, bullying is something little kids do in the K-6 system, not teenagers. No, I wasn't some popular football playing jock who had a cheerleader girlfriend, in fact, I was the opposite. I was the video game playing geek with practically no friends. Sure, I had some "friends" who I would hang out with at school and talk to online, but like most people, I only had maybe one or two real friends. But even within my own group, I was one of the people who just didn't fit in entirely, despite me being one of the two leaders of the group, and the administrator of the group's official message board. We had cliques, of course, like every high school does, there were the jocks, the emos, the stoners, the cheerleaders, the preps, the band geeks, the goths, us gamers, and all other kinds of cliques, and of course there was also individuality. But cliques are nothing like what Hollywood makes it out to be, everyone gets along with everyone else, and everyone has friends in every group, and all groups peacefully socialize with each other.

There were no gangs, but again, I've never lived in a major city, especially not a poor area of a city. We did have some drugs though, of course there was alcohol and smoking, but never on campus, and those are of course general things teenagers do to rebel (or because they get addicted). There wasn't any peer pressure though, no one ever pressured you into doing drugs, or even really asked you too. Of course, there's the occasional pot, but pretty much no one got into the hard drugs, maybe a few of the stoners did some of the hardcore stuff like meth, but no one I know (aside from one girl, but she graduated a few years before me). Now then, teen sex, sure, there was a lot of that, but most people played it safe and used condoms and/or birth control. There were a handful of pregnancies each year, but they brought that upon themselves. As for fashion, let me say that, like most guys, I'm not very adept when it comes to fashion. I would just wear whatever I felt like, and never got made fun of or singled out too much. Sure, there were the preps who always wore Hollister or the emos who generally wore darker clothing, but it certainly wasn't a fashion contest or anything like that.

I'd say the school system is pretty damn good, if not the best in the world. Sure, after high school, like most people, I missed it, and still do sometimes. I wish I could go back and be 13 again, a teenager, and start my adult/teenage life over. But all-in-all I'm glad of the person I am now, I'm not rich or overly successful yet, but I work hard and I'm getting there, since that's what America is all about, hard-work and making your own future. The school system has already vastly improved, my baby brother learned in 3rd grade what they taught me and everyone else in 5th grade. He was learning multiplication and division in like second grade. So yes, I'm glad our school system is making strides to become better, because our young people are the future of this country. Do I think we need to completely overhaul the school system? No. Do I think we need to take extreme stances like metal detectors, teachers beating students, school uniforms, strict dress codes, search and seizures every 2 hours, drug sniffing dogs, or anything like that? No. But I do think we need to fund education more. Of course, you have to remember that every high school is different, and with that, I bid adieu.
24 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • I doubt that most intelligent people believe Hollywood's version of things, most things are exaggerated in movies, although it is true that there is some stigma attached to American education - mostly down to the media though, because as usual, it's only the shocking things that get into the news, so that's what everybody hears.

    Out of interest, not a criticism or anything just wondering, is it true that the majority of American tests are multiple-choice or is it like in the Uk where there's a couple multiple-choiced but most are open-ended questions?
  • Baseless? They make these claims based statistical evidence not anecdotal. Your argument is based solely on your expeirience and using that to make an assumption of the whole of the education system.
  • Most of these people calling us stupid probably have no idea what they are even talking about. They just latch on to some news story they saw on their TV's and without looking into the context, or complexity of the issue, and use it to generalize and issue insults to feel better about themselves. I too came up partly in the America education system, and depending on who you ask, I turned out half-way decent :). The public schooling system has some issues, I think we are doing just fine on the whole right now.
  • TL,DR Version: "My school was fine so all other American schools must be too."
  • samusaran253;487803 said:

    Now lets get down to the social aspect, high school has virtually no bullying, bullying is something little kids do in the K-6 system, not teenagers.
    Wut. Maybe where you went to school, but I went through five different high schools of vastly different styles before grad, and the bullying was brutal in all of them. Most folks I talk to relate similar experiences.

    I'm glad you got to have such a great school, I honestly am, but few were/are so lucky.

    Of course, you have to remember that every high school is different, and with that, I bid adieu.
    And with that, you just invalidated most of your post. Your entire stance is based on your personal experiences, but you agree that your experience =\= everybody else's. So where are you coming from with this?

    Also, you disregard urban schools, and admit that you never lived in a city (which is clear, with your "likely gang-infested" remark), but that's a massive chunk of the American school system.

    So basically, you're saying "The US school system is great, except when it isn't... probably, but it was great for me, and that's what matters."
  • I agree that the problems of American schools are overstated (I'm a former educator myself and we have these conferences ad nauseum; overall state of schools is not as bad as people sometimes claim but obviously we should always continue to get better), and I will only amend this:

    Aiming for standardized tests in which everyone passes (state goals are 95% or some number) is a fruitless endeavor. When everybody passes, the test itself is meaningless.

    At the university I am interning at while finishing up my masters work, I've been pleased to see the culling that separates those prepared for college and those that aren't. I've had the pleasure of having professors more than willing to fail those who believe attendance is a reason for passing.

    As an aside I was an inner city school instructor.
  • Just to focus on one segement of your speech: Saying an educational system is fine, citing the ease at which you acheived decent grades is flawed. Afterall, it is that education system that gives meaning to the grade. The same knowledge that got you a B for example, might only get you a D in another countries system. I know that that logic itself is flawed (Curriculums being different for example), but I just said it to get what I mean across.

    I however don't think the US education can be that flawed. Afterall, the US is the worlds second largest source of scientific output (recently overtaken by China, I believe), which implies that some of you atleast must be taught pretty well.
  • I got brilliant grades with little effort and the UK education system is still terrible. Our ability to think was not nurtured or trained at any point.
    But then, that's what I value. If you value something else, then it may be good. All depends really.
  • doodinthemood;488438 said:
    I got brilliant grades with little effort and the UK education system is still terrible. Our ability to think was not nurtured or trained at any point.
    But then, that's what I value. If you value something else, then it may be good. All depends really.
    I second this. At the end of secondary school I walked away with mostly A*'s and A's. Can I count all that well? No. Can I write fantastically? No more than the average person. Do I have an understanding of what countries there are in the world, what they believe and where they are? No, I can't even name all the countries in the EU, let alone find them on a map, or the rest of the world. Do I have a detailed historical knowledge? Heck no.

    I've had to teach myself about the majority of important historical events, like the Soviet Union, Coldwar, American revolution, the English Civil War, Battle of Trafalgar, the battle of britain... and so on. In my five years in secondary education I learnt about the two world wars, the slave trade, the american west( the Native American tribes and stuff) and what medicine was like throughout time (a thoroughly pointless, but reasonably interesting unit). I don't have the knowledge I feel is required by the world today. Communism and the soviet union seems like something that definately should have been included. It's recent, it was huge and is very much in older generations minds. Were they frightened we'd all turn into commies if they taught us it? Well, I'm afraid I've swung partially that way due to my research being incomplete and one-sided (trying to find a proper balanced view on the subject is hard, as most american written ones are heavily influenced by the cold war propaganda).

    None of that is the fault of my history teacher. He was truly fantastic, and really enthusiastic. He's got MS now and walks around with a walking stick.

    Science was fine though. We had the most enthusiastic teacher ever. I remember him getting really, really excited when we had a Russian Nuclear physicist come and give a lecture. And when some Big Bang theoreticist came and gave a lecture. And then when LHC was switched on, he was as giddy as a school girl.
  • Actually, there IS a problem with the American educational system, and it's not the Europeans complaining about it.
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