Many American experts in the academe as well as those in the economic field have been pointing out various problems that they have observed in the educational system in America. Some are questioning the substandard education that the US government is providing. Why is it that for several years now, America only ranks 17th when it comes to the international standards of education? More importantly, why is it a common occurrence for students of other nationalities to often do better than Americans in various levels?
The Issue of Standardized Tests
One of the frequently brought up problems about the educational system in America is the issue of standardized tests. Often you’ll find plenty of schools in the US that teach based on what will be covered on these national standardized tests. Instead of focusing on values and benefits for children, scores become more important because of the fact that their big fat checks from the government also rely on such.
In contrast, schools in Finland are more focused on creative and personalized learning. More hands-on and experiential activities are carried out. Moreover, Finnish teachers make use their own lesson designs and plans which they modify and customize to suit students, abilities, and interests.
Moving From Theories to Applications
Another feature of the educational system in America that gets bashed a lot is the heavy emphasis on theories. Although some schools in the US are taking major steps toward revamping this and inserting more practical applications and real-life situations into the curriculum, these are still mostly in the experimental stage. The overall system still utilizes more theory and is geared more toward the traditional.
On the contrary, if you take a good look at the education system in China, you’ll find that it has already embraced experiential learning very much especially with the proliferation of John Dewey’s “Learning by Doing” principle and program since the 1900s. The Hong Kong educational system which is also highly regarded worldwide also evidently employs project-based and experiential education.
The Value and Role of Teachers
How valued are teachers in the US educational system? If you take a good look at it, you’ll realize that despite the chief role of teachers in educating children, they are not given their well-deserved compensation and benefits in America. Many schools even hire teachers from other countries because not a lot of Americans are interested in this career. In Finland, though, teachers are well-compensated. What’s also interesting to discover is that a good percentage of high school graduates in this country would choose teaching over law. The same goes in South Korea, where many of the top teachers get to earn millions of dollars in a single year.
In addition, recruitment of teachers in these two top-rated countries is of high standards. Even preschool teachers need to complete the proper certification and some of them even have master’s degrees. Finnish teachers, specifically, are known to have undergone five years of studying and training up to the master’s level. They are not subjected to formal evaluation process annually because of the arduous education they went through before their practice as professionals.
Indeed these top 3 things need to be addressed at once in America so as to improve education and to boost the ranking of the country in the international scene. Today, Finland and South Korea continue to be on the lead while Hong Kong, Singapore, China, and Japan come close.
America should therefore get a cue from these countries. An overhaul is necessary for the educational system in America in order to move forward and have much better educated people in the future.