Skip to content
 

u.s. education system full of woes-stop tolerating it now!

Education as a Social Good

education as a social good

by Kenneth Rudich (another installment for the “Promote a Social Good” campaign)

Few people are likely to express real surprise over hearing yet again about a broken U.S. education system.  The backslide that brought it here has been a festering wound for quite some time.

waiting for “superman”

Nonetheless, it’s always good to keep this issue squarely in the public eye, held high aloft where no one can ignore it.  That’s the only possible hope for ever having it restored back to its formerly respectable self.

Davis Guggenheim, Director of “An Inconvenient Truth,” has joined the mix of people attempting to keep this problem in the spotlight.  In his new documentary titled “Waiting for Superman,” viewers are exposed to another sobering dose of what has become an extraordinarily beleaguered education system.
 
According to the film, the U.S. is ranked 25th in math and 21st in science among 30 developed countries.  As recently as twenty years ago, the U.S. was ranked among the highest in both categories.
 
Oddly, U.S. students are first in confidence despite their poor rankings elsewhere.
 
One partial explanation for this may rest with a discovery made by Stanford sociologist Sanford Dorenbush.  He found a distinct difference between the behavior patterns of American parents and their Asian counterparts as it pertains to instilling a sense of commitment for attaining the best possible education.
 
Dr. Dorenbush says, “While most American parents are willing to accept a child’s weak areas and emphasize the strengths, for Asians, the attitude is that if you’re not doing well, to get up and study earlier in the morning.  They believe anyone can do well in school with the right effort.”

Low expectations, little discipline, and high under-achievement are perfect if you want to be timid about success.  Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that Korea ranks second in Math and Japan is sixth.

Another disturbing trend revolves around the negative attitude certain groups and communities foster about education.  In those communities, children who want to learn and do well in school are shunned by their peers. In the strangest of twists, they are treated like misfits by misfits.  Now that’s just plain warped.
   
The House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor reports that 7,000 students drop out every day and only about 70% of students graduate with a regular high school diploma.  Another study suggests that, in the 50 largest cities, the on time graduation rate drops to 53%.

foundational cracks always eventually show up

Even when students make it past high school, issues often arise at the college or university level.  In a 2005 Associated Press story, education writer Justin Pope reported, “Just 54 percent of students entering four-year colleges in 1997 had a degree six years later — and even fewer Hispanics and blacks did, according to some of the latest government figures.”

While the disparity between enrollment and graduation can be attributed to many factors, perhaps the most unsettling of them lies in the argument that the “gap results at least in part from the fact that large numbers of high school students have less-than-adequate college preparation.” 

The Institute for Higher Education Policy asserts, “Many studies have documented a substantial gap between the academic performance of students from low-income families and minority students and the performance of other students.  Inadequate academic preparation is one of the significant barriers to access in higher education.”  That means the fastest growing population of students — 40% of high school graduates will be minority by 2012, according to one report — is also having the biggest performance problems.
 
In an earlier post to this blog, “U.S. Labor Force Shortfall of Educated Workers by 2020,” Robert Craves, President and CEO of the National Education Foundation, summed it up this way: “We’re doing a great job of educating the affluent kids…We’re doing a poor job of educating the poor kids.”

A recent report by the McKinsey Corporation showed that if minority student performance had reached white students by 1998, the GDP in 2009 would have been between $310 billion and $525 billion higher – or approximately 2 to 4 percent of GDP.  The report also says the achievement gaps in this country are the same as having “a permanent national recession.” 

what’s next?

Think of a house infected with termites, how the structural foundation is slowly eaten away until the day finally arrives when it collapses.  The U.S. education system, the future quality of the U.S. workforce, the hope for economic prosperity ahead, is a house infected with termites.

Unfortunately, it is far easier to document the problem than it is to fix it.  It is said the title of Guggenheim’s film, “Waiting for Superman,” is a reference to the childhood dream of being rescued.

Right about now, I think too many of us are waiting for Superman.  And that may in fact be the problem in a nutshell.  It’s time to stop waiting and start doing.  And I mean all of us!  We need to show an outrage over just how unacceptable this situation has become.

As Albert Einstein once said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”

30 Comments

  1. Iliana Huysman says:

    Hello. splendid job. I did not anticipate this. This is a fantastic story. Thanks!

  2. Mackenzie Hardridge says:

    Thanks for posting. Good to see that not everyone is using RSS feeds to build their blogs ;)

  3. Matilde Ysaguirre says:

    Great read. Thanks for the info!

  4. Jayson Breitling says:

    Hello, this is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting in your blog especially on how to determine the topic. keep up the good work.

  5. Luis Arnst says:

    Nice post! You truly have a wonderful way of writing which I find captivating! I will definitely be bookmarking you and returning to your blog. In fact, your post reminded me about a strange thing that happened to me the other day. I’ll tell you about that later…

  6. Evan Precht says:

    Interesting read, perhaps the best article iv’e browse today. We learn everyday cheers to you!

  7. Isreal Goon says:

    I was just having a conversation over this I am glad I came across this it cleared some of the questions I had.

  8. Gary Lamprey says:

    Awesome post. I so good to see someone taking the time to share this information

  9. Kiera Badanguio says:

    This post makes a lot of sense !

  10. Isiah Calligan says:

    I’ve just started off a blog, the knowledge you give on this site has aided me extremely. Thank you for all your time & work.

  11. Silas Sverchek says:

    I’ve been checking your blog for a while now, seems like everyday I learn something new :-) Thanks

  12. Ron Walchli says:

    I’ve just started off a blog, the knowledge you give on this site has aided me extremely. Thank you for all your time & work.

  13. Kati Edd says:

    I would like to say “wow” what a inspiring post. This is really great. Keep doing what you’re doing!!

  14. Samuel Gambaiani says:

    I REALLY liked your post and blog! It took me a minute bit to find your site…but I bookmarked it. Would you mind if I posted a link back to your post?

  15. Matilde Ysaguirre says:

    Thanks for posting. Good to see that not everyone is using RSS feeds to build their blogs ;)

  16. Riley Pockrus says:

    Awesome post. I so good to see someone taking the time to share this information

  17. Basiswissen Derivate says:

    Optionsschein…

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback….

  18. Hugo Slawson says:

    Nice post! You truly have a wonderful way of writing which I find captivating! I will definitely be bookmarking you and returning to your blog. In fact, your post reminded me about a strange thing that happened to me the other day. I’ll tell you about that later…

  19. Isreal Tacheny says:

    Intriguing post. I have been searching for some good resources for solar panels and discovered your blog. Planning to bookmark this one!

  20. […] May 2010, we posted a blog titled “U.S. Education System Full of Woes-Stop Tolerating it Now!” in which we reported about the upcoming release of “Waiting for Superman” and shared some of the […]

  21. Latosha Tobiasz says:

    This Blog is very nice.

  22. Madison says:

    The financial aid office at your school is willing to help you find the cash you need to pay your tuition bill, but most of them are not aware to provide you with all the information you need.

  23. get student loans says:

    Interessanter Weblog, aber dein Feed funktioniert nicht mit Chrome.apply for student loans

  24. Max Khouri says:

    I have to state, you chose your words well. The ideas you wrote on your encounters are well placed. This is an incredible blog!

  25. apply for student loans says:

    Friend of mine recommend me to visit your website, I found the informations I looked for . Thanx

  26. ultrasound technician says:

    nice post. thanks.

  27. texas private schools says:

    The financial aid office at your school is willing to help you find the cash you need to pay your tuition bill, but most of them are not aware to provide you with all the information you need.

  28. medical assistant says:

    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  29. Tweets that mention U.S. Education System Full of Woes-Stop Tolerating It Now! | Marketing Strategy Management -- Topsy.com says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Florence Bernard , Ken Rudich. Ken Rudich said: U.S. Education System Full of Woes-Stop Tolerating It Now! | Marketing Strategy Management http://bit.ly/bJbBXK […]

Leave a Reply