Education Problems in America

There are many problems that plague the education our youth is receiving today. Education is being more standardized which is taking away the creativity and passion our teachers have for educating and the cost of higher education is so expensive it is pricing out those who are not willing to go into debt to acquire what is still referred to as a “formal education.”

I don’t agree with everything said in the video below but it makes some good points and the video ultimately led me to blog about the topic. Hopefully some interesting conversation becomes of it.

Being relevant is important. There is value in an education but considering the costs, you need to look at the ROI of that education. How long will it take you to make back that $50k in student loan debt? Yes some professions require an education regardless, I get that. You are not allowed to teach yourself medicine or law, but 95% of the rest of the professions of this world can be learned faster and more effectively on your own if you have the right ambition and drive. Not all have the right ambition and drive to self educate, which is where education outside of k-12 comes in, unless of course you want to become a doctor, lawyer or do something totally valuable like major in some weird niche of history. #sarcasm

Back to the topic of relevance: Being relevant has never been more relevant. I know that sounds stupid but if you look at society and the way information moves these days, I am sure you agree. Young people these days want to learn from and look up to relevant people. Earlier generations never looked up to CEO’s of startup companies. Just look at what they talk about and share on social media to see what their true interests are and what they find most relevant. This is not to say that a college professor can’t be relevant, it’s just that there are not many that are.

Below the video player I will break down my thoughts on quotes from the video. I apologize for the few bad words in this video, but I think it is a discussion starter if anything.

“It has never been less valuable to be smart about information than today.”

I agree. Those who know and understand the information that is relevant to whatever discussion, job or project they are involved in are more likely to succeed. Information is at the core of everything. What schooling does do, or perhaps used to do, is teach you how to learn. Today kids are being taught the answers to the standardized tests they need to take because our government is taking away our teachers ability to be creative and relevant.

..They’re making them memorize facts that are at their fingertips.”

I believe we should all have a basic education that is similar. This is what k-12 is. We learn a lot of information that not only gives us somewhat of an understanding of the world we live in but also teaches us how to learn. Do I agree with everything that is taught to our k-12 students? No. This is why I have decided to sent my children to a private school. It has nothing to do with the teachers, it has everything to do with what is forced to be taught.

“Most kids are learning more on their own because they have more information than they do in the classroom.”

Kids are learning more outside of the classroom than they are in the classroom because of the information that is available to them. That does not mean that all kids are learning valuable information outside of the classroom. Some kids are, such as the growing population of iPhone App Developers under the age of 16. However there are even more kids who are learning hazardous information because of the media and television shows that are available today. Parental controls are almost impossible to enforce.

Should kids be allowed to choose the information they wish to ingest and replace that with school? No way. This is what parenting is. Parenting does not stop when you drop your kids off at school nor does it stop when you put a laptop or iPad in the hands of your kids. This is what happens in a world where there are far too few households with a parent present throughout the day. Properly parented kids are much more likely to choose to ingest information of value and not waste their time fantasizing about what the entertainment industry glamorizes.

“The internet is the biggest culture shift in the history of human beings.”

What about the fall of man, or the birth and death of Jesus Christ? Perhaps the internet is the biggest culture shift in our history of the last two hundred years. That I might agree with.

“We are teaching our children to memorize &*%^, and regurgitate it.”

If we keep letting the government have their way, this is exactly what will be the case for education, especially public education. Teachers need to be given the freedom to teach. Teaching is not just a process of cramming information into the heads of our youth, it’s about taking that information and making it real. If you hated history, it’s not because history isn’t relevant or interesting, it’s because your history teacher sucked.

“I hope my children are D & F students because that gives me the time to teach them the real $%^# because they won’t be working on their homework.”

So what he is saying is that he will be an involved parent but he won’t embed the importance of being able to learn from others into the minds and personalities of his children. How communist of him. I want my children to be able to learn from anybody who has something worth learning and I want them to be able to differentiate between what is worth learning and what is a waste of their mental capacity. I am a more hands on learner who likes to learn by example. I don’t excel learning by textbook. Textbooks today are evolving but the textbooks of the 80-90’s were horrible. Paying attention in school, doing homework and meeting deadlines so you can get a good grade prepares you for the future as you will most likely be required to do work and meet deadlines as an employee. I think that it takes schooling and hands on parenting to grow children into adults who will add value to society and be able to provide for themselves. I do believe that this could be taught outside of school but it would require just about as many hours as you put in at work each day and most of us are not going to be able to afford to retire by the time our kids reach schooling age.

“There is eye rolling and checking out in classrooms across this country.”

I think this is a less of a problem with education and more a problem of how children are being raised. Most children are more interested in their Angry Birds score than they are interested in getting a 100% on a test at school. This is a parenting problem which ultimately results in an attention span problem as kids age. However, there were many classes I took in college where I knew my professor was teaching us at a snails pace and was teaching information that was no longer relevant. This led to much eye rolling and checking out from me and ultimately led to me dropping out of college.

What are your thoughts about education today? Is it the fault of the government, our teachers, professors or parents? What can fix it?

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