Thursday, March 24, 2011

American Education Sucks

        By: Lanisha Moore 

       The statement "American Education Sucks", while probably true compared to Finland's and China's educational system is a very vague comment and an opinion, my focus for this text are inner city schools, those in low-income and poverty stricken neighborhoods. The education system has been a staple in our country since its upbringing however, many students in well established cities, a wealthy counrty and the land of equal opportunity are falling behind. Max Weber coined the term, life chances, the opportunities people have to provide themselves with material goods, positive living conditions, and favorable life experiences. Education is one resource to obtain these goals and much more, but do all children really have a chance? Social mobility is the movement of individuals or groups from one position in a society's stratification system to another, while it is a nice term or should I say gesture, its close to impossible. Congratulations, to those who have made the transition but this post are for those who have not and the children that are still struggling in the public school system.                 


       The link above is entitled, 1 in 10 U.S. high schools is a "Dropout Factory", which are schools where no more than 60 percent of children who entered as freshman will make it to their senior year. The percentage of children not completing high school in the U.S is up 2 percent since the 1960's and honestly on reflection of those years you would think the percentage would have lowered. Social class, economic factors, and racial inequalities are all significant factors in the failure of the public school system. Inner-city schools are simply not receiving the attention that it needs and deserves, the resources are there and are not being applied. Students have to complete standardized test in order to receive funds even if it means being skipped ahead without learning. The students do not feel appreciated by their instructors, therefore not providing them with courage or reason to continue. I have attended school in North Philadelphia, Mt. Airy and Johnstown,Pa. The North Philadelphia school was prodominately black; and in a low income neighborhood, the books were old, the lessons were behind, and students did their hair and watched videos during class. My school in Mt.Airy was in a middle class neighborhood; with a variety of ethnicities, and was a pretty simple school, clean, well planned and prepared lessons. My school in Johnstown, Pa was prodominately caucasion; and low income, and it was the most beautiful school I have ever attended. There were bathrooms and a computer in each classroom, plenty of land and grass, new books and two teachers per classroom. My point is the public education system in the U.S. receive federal, state and local funds, why is one low income school receiving funds and not another? How can there be room for social change, advancement, less prisons and more schools?

      In the video below students discuss change, they admit to wanting an education, wanting careers, and how they feel about being in the public school system.


                                                       Video Letter to the President

   This below clip is a scence from HBO's hit show, The Wire. He is new to the teaching profession and can not understand the purpose of standerdized testing in his inner-city public school where the children barely know how to read and write. There are other scenes I would have enjoyed sharing, such as when he found brand new books and computers being held in a storage room collecting dust, or when he took the students out to dinner at a nice restaurant showing them a different culture and social experience. However, three visuals are more than enough.

                              American Education Sucks: to much emphasis on testing
          In Conclusion, this counrty has produced a lot of great changes, and there should be more in the years to come. The focus should be on education. This is not a black thing or white thing, rich people or poor people, its for the children. Children of all walks of life should have the opportunity to succeed, progress, and have wonderful life experiences so they can want to grow to provide the same for the next generation. Statistics are clearly showing that inner-city schools are not excelling the way they should and they can. The learning process begins at home, but for a parent working two jobs it is difficult, therefore the cycle continues. The child's future holds working two jobs and not having time to help with homework and attend parent teacher conferences. If not a life of crime or poverty, which leads to more money being spent on prisons and welfare. Instead, they can be working and building our economy. My only wish is for good education, better funds and services for our public schools.         

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