The American education system today has serious problem that not many people in the country want to recognize. Schools all across the globe are surpassing us on nearly every academic measure: science, math, reading, etc. In fact, as it currently stands, the United States ranks 17 on the latest PISA scores that rank the industrialized nations of the world, showing a continued American stagnation.
But what exactly is the problem and how can we fix it? For instance, the United States has a 25% drop out rate among high school students. That is shameful. One-quarter of all of our high school students will not graduate. Many of them cannot write at a proper level and they do not know the fundamentals of grammar instruction. We as a society are doing them a giant disservice.
What is much worse is America’s literacy rates among students. It is one thing to be behind other nations in complex and state of the art sciences or in-depth mathematics, but how can we, as country, be failing to teach our students the basics of reading and writing? People have been teaching students to read and write for millennia, so why is it that we are all of a sudden stagnating now? Students all across the country cannot read at their proper reading level, let alone write an essay with a basic understanding of the meaning of apart or a part (seen here, http://writingexplained.org/apart-vs-a-part-difference). What’s wrong?
To a great extent, what is wrong in the U.S. education system is the same problem that is plaguing the U.S. economy: too many regulations. There are too many regulations and too much bureaucracy involved in education. Oftentimes parents are required to send their children to schools simply based on a predetermined zip code. If you live in a certain zip code you are unable to send your children to any other school. Now why should we be mandating where parents send their children to school? Does the government know what each and every child needs to succeed in his or her education? Of course not! Want proof? Look at America’s test scores.
We need more parental involvement in education and greater parental choice in where students go to school to be educated. There is not reason why a zip code should determine whether or not a child gets a quality education.
If we allow parents to have a greater say in their child’s education, they are more likely to get the education and reading skills that they need to succeed. Some parents may find greater value for their kids attending a school that teaches detailed grammar and teachers kids sentence examples of WHERE vs. WERE (seen here, http://writingexplained.org/where-were-vs-wear-difference) while other parents might want their kids to be more versed in arts and sciences. But this is the beauty of parental involvement in education. A parent knows a child’s interests and passions while a bureaucracy doesn’t know and most of the time doesn’t even care.
The only way that we can get America back to the top of worldwide education achievement levels again is to include more options for parents and introduce a greater competition among schools. This will cause schools to take pride in their own learning environments and even cause other schools to mimic those being successful.