Link to article found here: U.S. Standing at Risk: Education Leaders Propose Action Agenda
For months now, I've heard about how America's global standing in terms of education - namely technology, science, and mathematic fields - has been slipping. A few nights ago I ran across the article linked above, and it does seem that people are attempting to bring the issue to ahead.
One of the most interesting things that caught my eye in this article is the quote that it ends with:
"These are demanding recommendations that will require the commitment of everyone — schools, colleges and universities, parents and students, and state and national leaders — but the dividend will be historic... We must create a system that works, a system that propels all students toward success and rejects anything less."
It spoke to what my own philosophy about all of this is - everyone involved has to want to improve the system before anything substantial can be done. And since I'm sure that this problem will only get worst before it can get any better, I'm left to wonder what tactics will be done to try and scheme students into performing well. One such method I can think of is paying children to do well in school.
Fundamentally, I have a severe issue with this. I don't believe that anyone should be paid some type of monetary stipend for their success. It was recently brought to my attention that a fair amount of a certain grade in my school is either in danger of failing, or plainly failing their classes and now things are trying to be done to fix it. One of the students in that grade then suggested that they get paid to encourage people to pick up their grades. And to me, this just kills the point behind learning and what school should ideally be about. Once you start to pay for success, I believe that it will set up a dangerous precedent leading people to believe that for every 'good' action they do, they'll get some form of material award. This is not a realistic reflection of how life truly is - not to mention it will then shift the focus of school away from whats being taught and absorbed even more than it is now.
So here is my suggestion to the educators at Collegeboard and elsewhere: Emphasize the act of learning itself, not the grades or any type of scale that is measure with a high-risk mentality. If you're able to instill a love or at least genuine interest in topics - especially the ones we're lacking in - our world standing will surely increase. It will create a much wider culture that would value education instead of the crap we have now.
Finally, what does this mean for the world that I will graduate into? I use to think when I was younger that my American citizenship and education would allow me to go anywhere I wanted in the world, but as I get closer and closer to the finish line, I'm not too sure anymore. The pool of competition keeps growing and growing and I'll be one more fish in the sea. Will my education, even if it is from a prestigious institution in America, be a joke on the international stage? All I can say is Americans need to 'step up with our game' as goes the slang. No longer can we lackadaisically blunder along while the rest of the world carries on without us - its this type of ignorance that is leading to our asses being kicked in many more areas; education is not the only grave obstacle we have to overcome.