Why the U.S. Education System is Failing (and Why I’m an Authority) by indianamcfly
July 21, 2008, 11:59 pm
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My brain just exploded.

As an AP student in our awesomely failing compulsory education system, I agree.

I am the student that deserves a C in one class and suprisingly receives an A or a B. Sure, I’m thankful when I do get rewarded with an easy A (though, often it’s not an A awarded, which brings me to my next point). I am the kid who should be in Honors for some of my courses, but instead is forcefully pushed into a realm of education that should be beyond what my personal limitations are, all to avoid being in the cut-up class of Honors students who were pushed into that level of education. In a nutshell, I am a prime example of the failure of the U.S. education system. I am a product of my environment.

The A that I was awarded (or that 5 on an AP exam) may get me into a college – but what for? To be in another institution filled with students who were also pushed into courses in which they were given A’s but should have earned C’s?

This degradation of the public school system may put more kids in college, but only hurts us in the long run – that “long run” being the post-college career. It would not be so detrimental to the U.S. if the education system were slackened (as it has) were it not for one minor problem: The global position of U.S. education. This (pardon the cliche) “real world,” in which economics and business and policy are all counted and measured and judged and pitted against each other play out on the international stage – not the American stage. In this worldwide play, American students are slowly becoming the extras – the ones which people know are there, but everyone except that kid’s parents are too captivated by the leads to notice. Perhaps the most poignant observation (among many) is that College Board should grade teachers.

Here is a prime example of why.

Starting with the class of 2009, the state of Maryland’s Public Education System put in place standardized High School Assessments – tests which all MD students must pass to graduate. Is this fair? Does it ensure that teachers are being held accountable? To put it simply, no. This new, shiny, state government supported, fail-proof, strict measure has already been given elasticity to its intended rigidity: Students did not pass, teachers are not being fired, and not surprising in the least – its being challenged. Parents will not stand for their child, who is enrolled in an advanced Science course, to be told that they did not make the cut.

This intended swift hammer of justice did not strike. Nor will it. Not until school systems stop pushing for the school with the most enrolled AP students, and start pushing for the most students passing the AP exams.

We need to follow a survival of the fittest approach to education, not the “Oh-well-everybody-had-fun-here’s-a-juice-box” t-ball technique that we are using now.