America: home of the free and (sometimes) under educated.

“If the president called and promised to implement any program or policy that you chose, what would you ask for?”

This is quite interesting, on many levels. First, because if the current president ever called me, I’d have a lot more to say than what this is asking me to say. But, in the interest of holding my tongue and answering the question, I will move on!

If he called me, I think we’d need to have a long talk about the educational system in the U.S. I know that I’m not a genius, but something has got to give. Something has to be wrong with what is happening in schools everywhere. As a college professor, I see students from all over the world. The difference between what the U.S. is producing and what other countries are producing is staggering.

U.S. students are often unable to write a clear sentence, never mind a fully thought out essay. I’ve had students who barely speak English perform better than those from the U.S. And forget about analysis, they have no idea what that even means (most think it’s the same as summarizing). There truly is no higher order thinking in so many of them.

They also seem to want to merely “get by” with as little effort as possible. I’ve even had grown adults tell me that there is just no reason to worry about grammar and spelling because it’s not important outside of school; and, because it’s worth so little concerning the grade, they find it a waste of time. Now I don’t know who made them think that their time is more important than mine, but they do. While they refuse even to try, I have to spend countless hours while grading to explain each infraction just so that they don’t turn around and blame it on me because I never told them.

Trust me when I say that I am NOT blaming the high school teachers (I would never; I was one of them). I blame the administration. They’ve got the teachers so worried about losing their jobs because some self-centered teenager couldn’t care less if they pass a standardized test or not, that they (teachers) don’t have time to worry about much else. They teach to the test to keep their jobs, and that’s not fair. Come on America, something needs to be done!

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