The United States is in a time of turmoil, as anyone can undoubtedly see. The economy is down. We are still in a war in the Middle East. The country is no longer the best country in the world, as it once was. However, the biggest problem facing the United States is the education system. As recent studies have shown, America lags far behind the global leaders in education, even while maintaining the highest amount of spending. The heart of the education problem lies in the standardized system. As schools push to maintain good test scores and get as many A’s as possible, the teachers are forced to teach to tests. Meanwhile, students are trained so that success in school is not dependent on learning, but rather on a letter on a report card. The multiple choice, bold-faced word based learning system teaches students that the primary value in high school is not creative thinking, problem solving, imagination, or hard work, but simply short term memorization. After the test, the student is free to happily forget all of the bold words that they memorized during lunch. When the test comes back a week later, the student forgets every answer on the test, but as long as that A is there, it is counted as a success. This mindset is exacerbated by colleges and the SAT’s. Foremost among colleges’ requirements is GPA and standardized test scores.
The United States education system needs to be revamped. The system of evaluating students on their ability to memorize for the test is outdated. My chemistry teacher always says that he tries to teach students to understand broad concepts instead of forcing them to memorize specifics. When the student understands the concept, then the specifics are easy, and the knowledge is permanent.