The surprising reason why our schools are failing

American schools receive a ton of money and produce few useful results.

In fact, they seem to be cranking out inflated grades and zombie students. And it’s not cheap: the US spends more per student than any other industrialized nation, but its students rank 9th and 10th in math and science.

Depending on who you ask, you will get plenty of reasons as to why our schools are not succeeding. Some will point out that our schools for the gifted and motivated are doing quite well.

Others will point at ethnic data. The liberals will blame the Creationists, and the Creationists will blame atheists. Many will blame teachers or administrative bloat.

A simpler analysis this: the US educational system is failing because it has a confused goal.

It is too many things to too many people. To most parents, it’s free daycare. To sociologists, it’s a way to keep kids off the streets. To others it’s a chance for government subsidy to right social wrongs. Many view it as a force for equality.

What is missing is a simple statement like “our goal is to offer education to those who can take advantage of it.”

If we switch to that statement, our current policies start to become ludicrous.

First, there is no longer a reason to keep everyone in school. Keep the kids in school who want to learn, and get the others to non-academic instruction in the chores and pitfalls of life.

Second, don’t teach to the lowest ability kids in the class. Push everyone to higher levels. Teach to a level of achievement, not a level of compromise.

Finally, get rid of all the do-gooder policies, unions, bureaucracy and other parasites that have sprung up in the absence of a clear goal. Put that money back into classroom time.

Teaching methods would also have to change. Get rid of the detail memorization and what-are-your-feelings type stuff that has appeared since the 1970s.

Replace it with challenging lessons that reward problem-solving and analysis. Recognize that not every student can do this, and for those that cannot, give them facts and some ability to interpret.

Throw out all those propaganda-laden textbooks and replace them with well-written reality-based books.

Stop teaching the wrong stuff, which is always trite fodder designed to make a social point. Stop teaching via the social method, where students use each other as resources. Stop teaching so that those who memorize the bulk of the details come out on top.

As a result, school will be competitive again. There will be a goal and a plan, not four-year segments of incarceration in boredom. We already know our current schools don’t work, so let’s experiment.

11 Comments

  1. Gail Gardner says:

    The educational system turns out precisely what it intends to produce and will not change as long as those in control are getting what they want. Until we realize that and remove them from power nothing can change.

    1. John says:

      When I was in school what you are proposing is exactly how we were taught!

  2. NotTheDude says:

    I could definately have left school at 15 yrs old. Not because I was unable to learn but that there were not enough meaningful and interesting education. I loved Biology but we only cut up one lamb’s heart and the bell rang before we could really take and learn about what we were seeing! I haven’t long been away from school really but it always seemed to be a factory of results in the local paper with a picture of the smug Headmaster rather than sifting us out by ability for whatever is our strength. You are either have an aptitude for a certain kind of learning or you don’t.

  3. thordaddy says:

    All entities in America are seeking to maximize their autonomy to radical lengths. This goes especially for the public school system as it is littered with radical liberationists throughout. The public school system and its minions are seeking to be “unaccountable.” As in, no longer are they required to achieve anything particularly educational. The public school system is failing because its goal is to rationalize and justify failure. That is the only place we can all be “equal,” but it must be a coercive effort. So in essence, the public school system and its minions maximize their personal autonomy by minimizing the autonomy of their “students.” Zero-sum. But this is a beautiful thing. This understanding is the leverage needed to separate and exclude ourselves from these inherently tyrannical systems that actually exist in a state of rapidly diminishing returns.

  4. Hornbori says:

    Frank Lloyd has an interesting point to make – http://youtu.be/hAHnlWEqpZM

  5. Eric says:

    Let’s face it, the school’s sole purpose it to create a herd mentality mono-culture that is then used to feed the coffers of the degrading pop culture machine.

    1. Eric says:

      As an added note, I am not so certain that most of the various “alternative” cultures are any healthier (some probably are, but many seem ultimately destructive.) In fact, these alternative cultures would not be needed if things were not so degrading otherwise.

      It is kind of like hipster culture, where they are kind of just like yuppies without money. But they are the same in their narcissism and shallowness. Not that all yuppies and hipsters are such, but many are. I guess what I am getting at is that it is all the same meaningless crap underneath it all. Phony if you will.

      1. crow says:

        Phoniness is the bottom line.
        My wife and I were discussing this, just today.
        PC demands people ‘act’ in a certain way, that rarely reflects their actual stance towards anything. One must ‘act’ nice. What if nice is not something one often is? Or one is not nice except in certain situations where one is? How does one ‘act’ then?
        What you get is an entire population ‘acting’ rather than being. Living a facsimile of how they assume they are supposed to be, rather than be what they are. While everybody judges everybody else’s ‘act’ to decide whether or not it is being acted out in the approved way.
        What you get is a population of phonies, all ‘acting’ in a phoney fashion, while demanding everybody else does the same. After a while, they forget it even is phoniness, and it becomes all they know how to do.
        How can any culture not go mad when this is the case?

        1. Eric says:

          Simply stated, my sentiments exactly.

          As you said, it gets to the point where people don’t even know they are being phony. Phony becomes the new real, yet it isn’t.

          One last thought, but thinking about the whole cognitive dissonance thing, well I think a lot of young people’s lives are wasted on this. On the one hand is their more genuine self, feeling deep down what is right and wrong, real and fake. Yet on the other hand is the PC (if you will, but whatever it may be) conditioning that forces people to think and act in a certain way regardless if it jives with one’s true nature. So there is this internal tension and struggle, and young people probably don’t even get what is going on, only feel something ain’t right.

          By the time they figure out the game, that is assuming they ever do because it appears most maybe don’t, they are far into life and realize so much was a lie. If society could just get a little more real and honest, and then let people decide for themselves what really is going on, well I am certain many would leave the PC crap in the dust in a hurry. That doesn’t mean jumping full bore to the other side. It just means they would see all is not quite right with what they are being sold. They can then decide from there.

          1. Eric says:

            One last thing, but what probably happens for a lot of people is they *do* actually see the game for what it is at some point. But they have invested so much of themselves into the lie they are unwilling to admit it is what it is. It would be an acknowledgement they were wrong and wasted themselves on such a thing.

            Personally, once you see things for what they are, I feel you are better off admitting you fell for some lies, and start dealing with reality as reality. Because the longer you delay coming to terms with this fact, the further into the lies you get. And in the end we all face our “maker”, and knowing we lived a lie, to me, would be about the worst fate to experience as we approached the end.

            This all said, I will not preach what another person’s truth must be. That is not my role. And for some, what appears as a lie to me might just be for them their truth, truly held onto and believed, no matter how much I might think they are off. I kind of take a middle-path approach to many things, and am still figuring out for myself what is really real in this big mess called the modern world. But I am doing it on my terms, and no longer allowing others to tell me how it is (I will listen, and take into consideration – but in the end I need to decided for myself based on what I have seen and known, continue to see and know.)

  6. ferret says:

    First, there is no longer a reason to keep everyone in school.

    There is an inverse education and crime correlation. In order to keep crime as low as possible, it would be good to provide the highest possible for an individual education to the whole population:
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=education%20crime%20correlation&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CCUQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Feconomics.uwo.ca%2Ffaculty%2Flochner%2Fpapers%2Feducationandcrime.pdf&ei=oaI9UMTbJujz0gHL1oD4Cw&usg=AFQjCNGuUgStfdp8PNHIU52RdQK-6oBdZg

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