American Education Lacking

            Experts are saying that foreign students are surpassing American students by scoring much higher on many achievement tests, according to The New York Times.

            Many foreign students are at least a year ahead of their American peers academically. Currently, about 70% of American students graduate from high school, which is lower than most other developed foreign countries. Only Spain, Mexico, New Zealand and Turkey lag behind the United States in K-12 educational achievement. The New York Times reported that America’s education system has been on the decline since the years after WWII.

            Many experts attribute these causes to varying factors. Some believe that the public schools are not the problem; rather the problem is the lack of motivation in students. Some believe that it is a cultural problem, in which education is undervalued for young children. Experts believe that middle school and high school students are too focused on constantly being entertained. This distracts from school work because students are frequently disinterested and apathetic about school.

            Other experts believe that the lack of a centralized, federal system of education is the problem. Most other countries have centralized education that is operated, controlled and run by its system of government. In contrast, American schools are administered and operated by the states and local districts. Some believe that America needs more federal standards and regulation for the education system to improve.

            Experts believe these are the roots of the problem, and a fresh attitude is necessary for education. The workforce feels the ripple effect of these cultural and administrative problems. Colleges are inheriting more-distracted, less-motivated students, which decreases the number of qualified workers for future jobs. This can even lead to more jobs being outsourced to foreign countries.  

            Many believe that improving America’s education system could boost its economy. Some say that increasing students’ literacy rates and other academic measures by one school year could create long term value of over 40 trillion dollars.                                                           

            South Korea has the highest high school graduation rate at 96%, and some believe that is one of the main reasons why that country’s economic value has grown. Other experts point to Finland’s education system, which retains and recruits great teachers, as a model to emulate.