Devil’s Advocate – U.S. education fails to prepare students for the real world

In Devil's Advocate, Opinion
Education in the U.S. has long been a topic of debate from politicians to everyday citizens. How children are educated is an important topic that has far-reaching consequences. Some argue our schools don’t focus enough on advanced mathematics and sciences, yet some believe a comprehensive education is more essential for the real world. (Courtesy of Flickr User Phil Roeder)

The U.S. education system is flawed, yet there is still a future for young and dedicated minds. The real world outside of school is terrifying enough, and the schools today aren’t doing enough to prepare students for what lies outside classroom doors.

America’s overall science and math education trails behind other countries. The Program for International Student Assessment collects test results from 65 countries, according to NPR. The most recent report in 2012 showed the U.S. ranked below average in math, science and reading. Twenty-nine countries outperformed the U.S. in mathematics, up from 23 three years ago, and 22 countries outscored the U.S. in science, up from 18.

The failure isn’t in lack of intelligent minds; the problem stems from the system that educates these minds. Each student is different. One way of teaching does not reach all students’ potential. The problem with schooling today is that students are all taught the same way. If the education system could teach and adjust learning based on individual progress, more students would comprehend and retain key information.

Teaching to pass a test to move on to the next subject, or even the next grade, isn’t how learning is supposed to be. Measuring results through testing might not be the end all, be all. Learning should be something that internally changes the way a student solves problems, critically evaluates situations and broadens the spectrum of creativity. Cramming for tests shouldn’t be a common activity if students are taught right.

Not only are concrete subjects important for life after school, everyday practical knowledge is vital. The U.S. educational system doesn’t only fail to teach basic subjects like math, science and English, but also fails to address many real-life situations that most Americans will have to encounter in the future.

Knowing how to apply for a student loan, pay taxes, write a resume, buy a house and basic banking proficiency are skills that are rarely taught in high school or even college. That’s a huge problem that needs to be addressed. Schools need to educate their students in practical subjects that allow not only a richer learning experience, but ensures a well-rounded individual who’s prepared for the future.

Despite the lack of a strong educational system, American students are intelligent, driven and capable of being truly successful in life after school. Students everyday manage to make it through school and figure it out, but with some tailoring, the U.S. educational system has the possibility of leading the world in all areas of study to go along with the young, brilliant minds in American schools.

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