Well, lets look at this another way. How many hours should kids spend in the classroom? Lets look at Finland. They start school two years later,
they have virtually no homework, there is virtually no testing, they get 3x as much recess, and their school day is two hours shorter than ours.
Despite all of that they are completely kicking our ass in education. Alternatively we can look at the Asian approach to schooling that the US is
moving closer and closer to which involves long days, even longer days of homework, and extremely high standards. In math and science they're beating
us too but in anything involving the ability to think rather than regurgitate facts they really aren't very good.
Slightly off topic, but I want to share a related experience I had today as I chose to eat dinner on campus, and ate with some friends of friends.
They consisted of a Japanese foreign exchange student, two Tunisian foreign exchange students, and a foreign student from Egypt. It put the
educational opportunity I take for granted in a whole new light. I am quite busy with my classes/work and by every metric am a well performing
student including being at the top of my class, but the truth is I consider myself a slacker. The reason I do that is because I compare myself to
these foreign students and when I am off taking breaks like reading this website, or writing down an idea, or working on the structure for my future
business. They are at a desk or a couch rereading the classwork. They work their entire lives to get one of a handful of ultra competitive foreign
student visas with the US Visa always being the most highly coveted, and then they bust ass here like people I have never seen. They attend every
class, and arrive on time every day. They get perfect marks on tests (I'm actually competing with the Egyptian right now for the top grades in the
two classes we share (math and programming) in each we're the top two students with less than 1% separating us both), and their work is always handed
in on time, in full, and always perfect. I wish more students in the US could do that. These are some very driven people.
However, bringing this story back on topic, these people are very good at learning, to be fair I'm pretty darn good at learning too and a certified
genius but they do what I cannot. If you tell them to do something they will learn how to do it, and then they will reread the documentation over and
over until they can perform that specific task to absolute perfection. The problem happens when you change it slightly, they lose all concept of how
to handle the problem. They have to start again from the basics, build it up, and see what changed, then they need to learn how to apply a fix. They
have no creativity or ability to improvise and that's a symptom of using pure memorization as a teaching tool
When it comes to cultures those who learn to think and apply select generalized knowledge to specific circumstances are in much better position than
those who apply specific knowledge to specific circumstances. That is why Finland is #1, the Asians are also beating us, and we were in the middle of
the pack. I've spent a long time in college now, when I'm done this will be my 5th and final degree so I've seen it first hand plenty of times:
American students are apathetic. The manta most of them preach is "C's get degrees" and every weekend is an excuse to take substances that render
them unable to remember the weekend.
More than a shift in what our schools actually cover, we need a shift in culture.
edit on 24-10-2014 by Aazadan because: (no reason