I’d have to say my schooling was the average run of the mill as well but I felt I was behind when I landed in a university setting. I would have to agree with Gillium that the kids who wanted to do well did, the kids who looked for excuses did.
The American education system has been behind other countries considerably going by the TIMSS system, UNICEF also scored US 18 out of 24 countries in terms of relative effectiveness.
From my personal experiences there are too many teachers who reap the benefits of working 9 months a year, have phenomenal pensions, and still don’t produce a viable crop.
When the American/Government educational system doesn’t produce a successful class what do they do? They lower requirements/scores.
I personally feel that teachers should be paid a base salary and get their wage increases based off of performance, you reap what you sow. [/quote]
I never experienced any of the problems that everyone keeps harping about. The kids that wanted to do well, did. Those that chose to be screw around didn’t do all that well.
The schools I went to before college were all in pretty run of the mill, average middle class neighborhoods.
Of course, I didn’t go to an inner-city school, so I can’t speak about that. But, my guess is that schools in poorer areas, regardless of country, have a difficult task of providing quality education to their students.[/quote]
make important points that shouldn’t be missed. I want to underscore them once or twice… depending on where you go US secondary schools are some of the best in the world, and some of the worst. Of course the “average” falls somewhere in between, and more rather then less fall closer to the “some of the worst” side of things. But anyway, you have to consider the following.
While the United states–so much anecdote evidence suggests, and I’ll accept it–has some of the poorest secondary education in both the developed and developing world, the United states is both A) one of the largest countries in developed and developing world, and B) attempts to provide one of the most egalitarian educational systems in the world. To make my point, I’ll contrast this with Germany. Germany has about one-third the population America has, and is very unegalitarian, in the sense that not all children receive the same education. The better, brighter German students go to Gymnasium and then onto Uni, the one’s who don’t make the cut go off to various types of vocational “high schools”. Germany’s smaller size and the stratification of it’s secondary school system mean’s it’s quite literally impossible for the American secondary system to compete. The United States would instantly improve it’s overall quality of education if it first randomly kicked out two-thirds of the students in the system, and then systematically throw out all but the top 25% of those. Test scores would certainly go up, no?
This isn’t so much a defense of the US secondary school system, but just stating the facts. I think there are many serious problems with the US secondary school system and that we can and must do better–much better. The problem is that “the US secondary school system” is such a disjointed and ambiguous thing it’s hard to state what THE problem is–it really various state by state. How do you fix it all? God help me if I know.
As for American universities, you run into much the same problems of too many students and an egalitarian perspective. In America we have a queer view on the place of a universities. Universities in the US are places where one goes for a piece of paper that then helps them get a job, not to really to get an education. I’ve bitched about this enough in another thread though.