Education in America is not what it used to be and sadly, we won’t get the true results for decades..
Nurture or nature—is one of these responsible for the pitiful state of American students? I got news – we’re in BIG trouble if it’s nature.
Because if it’s nature, it means Americans are producing intellectually inferior people. Not easy to measure, and unfair to impose reproductive incentives to the intellectually superior while bribing the others to hold up on bearing young. But, if it’s nurture, we can fix the system in which we foster academia.
Right now the system is suffering, and the data proves it. High school graduation statistics are more than embarrassing. They are an indication of a national crisis. According to one source only 69% of American high school seniors earn diplomas! We are no longer Number One in quality and quantity of high school graduates, we’ve fallen to below the top 10%. Half of our Bachelor Degree candidates are taking six years instead of four to finish.
Are we producing intellectually inferior people? An argument could be made for that, depending on whom you poll or which mall you canvass. But seriously, that’s not likely. It’s the nurture quotient that is lacking. Parents set the kids up with iPods, iPads, iPhones, gaming equipment, and HDTV. So the kids act as if everything useful has already been invented, and they have no purpose other than to whittle away hours using it all. They lack interest in real life and pursuing achievements of their own. No wonder they’re lazy and have a sense of entitlement?
An education system that coddles young people instead of challenging them is also partially to blame. The shift from rewarding top performers to rewarding all participants has contributed to national shame in our current education systems. And kids know it. The ones who don’t try know they are not deserving of recognition. They mock the system. The ones who exert themselves with success, but are treated as just another participant, become disillusioned over lack of recognition. Disillusionment can lead to apathy. It’s a vicious circle, this one-reward-fits-all arrangement.
Because of imposing a so-called level playing field, or Common Core, we are at risk of seeing critical thinking go by the wayside, and seeing curiosity and ambition die. American inventors are going the way of video cassettes and rotary phones. Our greatest inventors of the last thirty years were educated in the 1960s and ‘70s B.C. (Before Common Core). It’s not a coincidence that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs excelled on the personal computer scene at the same time. Both were products of a better system of education—one that endorsed ingenuity and exploration over preparing to pass exams.
Educators of the decades of the 1960s and 1970s were long-term dedicated professionals who invested of themselves in their students. They were respected within the community and boards on which they served. Parents cooperated with teachers, school principals and counselors for a unified approach to discipline and meeting academic standards. Children were expected to maintain good attendance, exercise self-control and do their own work. Parents enforced homework routines. There was cohesion between school authorities and parents, for the good of the students.
It’s hard to say when the shift toward coddling our youth took place. Could it be when the dress codes changed and it became acceptable for boys to untuck their shirts and for girls to begin wearing pants? Or was it when divorce spiked at 50%, and parents were attempting to compensate for dividing their children’s loyalties. Maybe, more likely, it was when psychologists began to put self-esteem above all other character strengths.
When high self-esteem started to encroach upon other attributes, and mothers and fathers were urged to withhold correction in favor of unconditional praise, things got lopsided. When parents began to ask children what’s what instead of telling them, things got tilted a little more. Eventually self-esteem replaced self-control altogether as a trait to nurture. America saw an increase in smart-ass back talkers and a decrease in dedicated young scholars. Parents gradually became defensive and demanding teachers to back off controlling the classroom. Bullying, as natural a childhood phenomenon as it is, increased in frequency and hurtfulness. We’ve produced a couple of generations of poor performers who feel good about themselves while operating devices they could never invent.
Only a system with academic competition and cohesion between school and parents will re-direct our students’ energies and help curb the increase in couch potatoes and get American youth back on top as academic high achievers able to compete in the global marketplace. In turn, motivated young scholars will lead the way to medical breakthroughs and scientific and technological advances.
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