Recent reports indicate that Chinese 15-year-olds are outscoring students around the world in basic subjects like math, science, and reading. The recent education improvements in China have been linked to an overall emphasis on educating the entire population instead of focusing on a class system which focused primarily on students who tested high in their early years.
With increased globalization, China has realized the need to educate their entire population in order to become an economic powerhouse in an increasingly information-based society.
While China may be ranking higher in its educational prowess, countries such as Finland, Canada, Switzerland, and New Zealand are outperforming American students at a drastic pace. South Korea, one of the largest new economic forces in Asia, is vamping up its education system and reaching the same level as the rest of the technologically advanced countries.
The Good News
The news is good for countries who are remodeling their education infrastructure and providing new student loans for education. On the other hand, the US is struggling to keep up the pace with the rest of the developed world. According to a report from ABC News, in a study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the US ranked 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading scores.
The Bad News
The US is falling way behind in terms of educating our youth and our current economic crisis may be a huge wake up call. Instead of educating a society of entrepreneurs, technological mavens, and science whizzes that could be spearheading the kinds of cutting edge research conducted at Huntingdon Life Sciences, we are sending our kids to overcrowded and forced centers that resemble daycare centers more than educational facilities.
How To Fix It
One of the major ways we can interest students in learning is by using more technological tools in the classroom. Here is just a brief sampling of great new tech tools that could help in the classroom:
Digital tablets–Instead of forcing our children to carry around cumbersome backpacks full of archaic and outdated textbooks, we should invest in tablet technology. It is not costly to purchase a tablet and schools could receive government subsidies and grants in order to provide children with up-to-date information through high speed wireless connections.
Interactive whiteboards–More and more teachers have long abandoned the traditional chalkboard and are instead embracing digital, interactive whiteboards in order to present information to students. These usually involve the use of a projector, a computer, and a stylus and can be used to project software dashboards and other displays onto surfaces.
Cloud technology–Cloud services are big right now as a way for companies to consolidate, store, synchronize, and secure data. It can also work in a classroom setting and could grant educators alternative ways to transmit materials to students. It would also dramatically cut back on paper waste and would save money on hardware, thereby potentially encouraging school districts to invest in more web tools.
The Controversial Fix
Another major reason we are failing our children is because of the backwards system we have in place for paying teachers. In any other profession, you are given raises and promotions based on performance and skill level. In the education system, you are given raises, bonuses, and job security based on the amount of time you have been with the institution.
The method of testing our teachers for competency is as outdated as the way we reward them. Instead of focusing on learning, teachers prepare students for standardized tests which don’t tailor to individual learning methods. Instead of making sure each child gets a fair shot at learning, they are forced to retain certain parcels of knowledge in very specific ways.
Instead of focusing on more arbitrary issues, lawmakers should be concerned about where school money really goes. Instead of sending it to the standard causes which resonate with taxpayers, alternative solutions which may upset some should be explored.