Stupid American Teenager

Stupid American Teenager

A Chapter by Nicole
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An observation from the perspective of one of the unfortunate nerds paying out the a*s for tuition so the morons and druggies can play football.

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            The United States has enjoyed a superior position in education amongst the nations of the world for a very long time. But according to recent research, that may be a position we will now be forced to relinquish. Recent test results assessing the performance of students from countries around the world have yielded startling results that speak clearly about who the leaders of tomorrow might be (Jones 2011). Out of the 34 countries that were tested, the United States ranked far behind the competing nations of South Korea, Finland, China, and Canada (Jones 2011). It would be easiest to point angry fingers of blame at educators and teachers, but in fact we should be turning those accusing fingers right back around at ourselves as parents and equal members of American society. Children in the United States are falling behind academically primarily because we, as a nation have become complacent to the importance of education. We have placed too much focus on meeting state requirements for standardized tests rather than teaching applied skills. Our society places more importance and focus on praising the success of school athletes than honors graduates. This has led to a result that should be disturbing to parents, educators, and general U. S. citizens alike because it is our nation’s future that is at risk.

            Susan Holland of CNN agrees that Americans have indeed become complacent to the slipping in the educational performance of our nation’s students. This is the pivotal reason that we are seeing the United States fall further and further behind competing nations who do realize the importance of an education to the longevity and strength of their country. Because we have become indifferent to seeing ourselves fall behind other countries that embrace the value of a strong academic foundation our education system is left to its own devices. To try to patch the problem by implementing standardized tests and punishing schools that do not achieve high rankings. Rather than giving these schools aid, funding, and the tools to do better, they are punished with harsh budget cuts. Teachers must conduct their classes such that their students merely memorize enough to pass these standardize tests, leaving no room for applied skills that generate better understanding. What good is there in memorizing the periodic table of elements if students never actually see how this knowledge is applied and used? Budget cuts and state-mandated standardized tests are clearly not the answer, since scores and performance have not improved, and so the harrowing question remains: why would we be so willing to turn a blind eye of neglect to the education of our youth? What could possibly be more important than ensuring the strength and academic fortitude of preceding generations of Americans?

Perhaps if Americans were more focused on the importance of their students’ academic performance and less worried about the rankings in the SEC, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Ray Tannock, a columnist for the BleacherReport.com website, agrees that “college football has always been a national pastime in America,” but when did it become more important than the value of a college education? As the cost of tuition to schools and colleges skyrockets to help fund lavish and excessive sports programs, students are the ones who are actually footing the bill. It demonstrates how American society has come to praise the success of athletes rather than the achievement of the scholar. We place more value in the sports figures and coaches at schools than the students attending these schools to learn and build the foundation for their careers. The truth, as Tannock sees it, is that while sports and athletics are important in our society and will likely always be important, we must be outraged when that focus becomes unhealthy such that “students and education start to take a hit because the shift in emphasis is unbalanced” (Tannock 2009).

It has been suggested that tests such as these are biased against United States students in that they exclude material, such as American literature, that might be more familiar to students from the United States. But with the ranking of 25th in mathematics out of the 34 countries whose students were tested, that suggestion clearly isn’t valid. These tests are meant to give fair opportunity to all students from all nations because “student performance on international assessments is considered especially relevant as today's high school graduates enter a global job market” (Jones 2011). Tipping the scale in any direction would cause the results to be flawed and would misrepresent the performance of a nation’s students as they embark on their own journey to find employment and achieve their own life goals. We cannot continue to hide behind excuses like this, saying that the tests are unfair or that schools tests scores are too low, if we wish to actually address and solve the problem that is crippling our education system in the United States. Complacency, useless patchwork solutions like standardized tests, and a shift of focus and funds to athletic programs rather than academic programs are the causes of why we are seeing the United States fall further and further academically behind other countries. If we value our reputation as a country comprised of intelligent, educated, and well-rounded people, then something is going to have to change. Otherwise, we stand to let our young students continue bear the stigma of being the “stupid American teenagers.”



Sources Cited

Holland, Sally. "U.S. students behind in math, science, analysis says." CNN.com.

            25 August 2009: n. page. Web. 16 Dec. 2011. <http://articles.cnn.com

          /2009-08-25/us/students.science.math_1_math-and-science-fourth-

          and-eighth-graders-math-scores?_s=PM:US>. Web.

Jones, Brent, ed. "In ranking, U.S. students trail global leaders." USAtoday.com.7

December 2010: n. page. Web. 16 Dec. 2011. <http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2010-12-07-us-students-international-ranking_N.htm>. Web.

Tannock, Ray. "What's More Important, America: College Football or College

Education?." BleacherReport.com. 11 November 2009: n. page. Web. 16 Dec. 2011. <http://bleacherreport.com/articles/288158-whats-more-important-america-college-football-or-a-college-education>. Web.

 

 




© 2012 Nicole



Author's Note

Nicole
This one hasn't been edited, so I apologize for any typos.

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Featured Review

The sad part is the USA school system is aiming at the wrong things. Education does many things. Prepare mind and body for life. USA need to go back to basic. Reading, writing and math skills. Europe had a advantage. Must speak more then one language to survive in Europe and Asia. I believe all kids need a second language. Expand the brain and the ability to think. I enjoyed your view on education. A excellent chapter.
Coyote

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

The sad part is the USA school system is aiming at the wrong things. Education does many things. Prepare mind and body for life. USA need to go back to basic. Reading, writing and math skills. Europe had a advantage. Must speak more then one language to survive in Europe and Asia. I believe all kids need a second language. Expand the brain and the ability to think. I enjoyed your view on education. A excellent chapter.
Coyote

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on January 8, 2012
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Author

Nicole
Nicole

Wichita Falls, TX



About
About Me... My name is Nicole Conway and, yes, I'm an author. It feels wonderful to finally be able to say that. Believe me, I've worked very hard for it. Writing is not just a passion, not just a .. more..

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