posted on Nov, 8 2010 @ 12:44 PM
Having gone through Primary and Secondary Public School and several years in College, I myself have always been critical of the Education system in
the United States. Recent changes due to "No Child Left Behind" have only acerbated the problem.
I earnestly believe that the most major problem with education in the United States, even before the dumbing down of Education to the lowest common
denominator and "one-size fits all" Education, is the fact that our Education system relies upon teaching the What instead of the How (or
what to think instead of why to think).
Instead of empowering our students how to educate themselves we promote a mentality of "cram and purge" of seemingly irrelevant facts. Rather than
give our students the tools of reading, research, reason, rhetoric, and logic we instead spoon-feed them excerpts from a book, denying them the
ability to discover self-evident truths for themselves.
For example, most children in our Educational system can point to geographic North on a map. However, how many of those children know how to actually
use a map? Do any of them know how to determine true North without the aid of a map or compass? If you teach a child how to observe true North using
but two stones and the stars, that basic knowledge will lay the foundation for everything else, allowing them to fill in through logic and
extrapolation for themselves the things that a teacher fails to instruct them.
Likewise, when you empower a child to love to read, give them proper research methods and the ability of use reason to determine the difference
between fact and pseudo-fact, then there is nothing that child can't learn on their own. A teacher at that point serves no other purpose than to
encourage, to guide, to be a resource, and act as peer-review, rather than the dictator of what the child is to think.
In all my years of education in the United States there was nothing, outside of penmanship, that I learned from a single one of my teachers other than
the fact that they were far less learned than myself and as fallible as the next person. The greatest of my teachers that I came to respect were the
ones humble enough to acknowledge this and acted more as a mentor than an instructor.
I see the same thing happening to my own daughter as she goes through the same Educational system today. She has difficulty grasping the abstract
recitation and memorization of seemingly irrelevant dates, names, places, equations and notations, and relies on me to make up for where her teachers
have failed her to provide the "Why" and "How" so that she can explore the world and educate herself.
The worst part is that we are creating a self-perpetuating crisis as those who are lacking the essential understanding of these subjects become
teachers, being no better qualified to instruct in any other way than by rote, just as their teachers did for them.
I weep for the Educational system in the United States. It is a farce, even (or rather especially) at the university level.
If we don't revolutionize our Educational system in the United States soon, going from 18th in the world back to the Top 10, we are going to see the
United States continue to become increasingly more irrelevant upon the World Stage.