6/27/2011Education in the 21st Century
The U.S has been perceived upon as a country of hard workers, overachievers, and gifted people all having a vigorous work ethic. Americans work approximately 40 hour work weeks, compared 35 for the French and a measly 30 hours for the Germans. In addition to this, Americans only get an average of four weeks of vacation, whereas the French get the month of August to recover from their hectic work weeks, causing Americans to dub the Europeans as a bunch of lazy people. There is some bias and exaggerations to these statements, but overall Americans do work more than other Europeans, the same can’t be said however, for the nation’s youth. Unfortunately, the vigorous work ethic and strive to learn has not rubbed of on the nation’s children. American children have school for only 180 days year, compared to the 195 days in Germany and 200 in East Asia. Furthermore, they only have about 2-3 hours of homework per night and are not pressured by society to take extra classes after school; a fact that appalls nations such as Japan and India, whose children take after school classes regularly to help them with their studies.
Americans also have the shortest school day, a mere six and half hours, all packed into the morning and early afternoon. Countries such as Denmark and Sweden boast a staggering 40 to 50 hour school week, making some American education reforms re-think they way the write guidelines for the nation’s schools. This morning to early afternoon school schedule gives children the opportunity to engage in some extra-curricular activities, such as soccer, tennis, or art. This is good, since the child can venture out and find something that he or she is good at, however the benefits of this are only short-term for they don’t really help the child progress further academically. The U.S needs to lengthen the school day to emphasize the fact that fun and games aren’t everything, and children should engage in something educational after school, to help them in their studies. When summer rolls around in early to mid June, all the material that is learned over the year is quickly forgotten as the lack of practice takes effect. The three month stretch serves as an education eraser, as the typical student forgets about two months of material, commonly called summer leaning loss. American scholars noticed however that this isn’t true for all American children. Children coming from poor families tend to do worse academically because of weak family bonds and are therefore more susceptible to learning loss. Richer kids, on the other hand, improve, for their parents send them to camps and classes to stimulate their minds, and encourage them to do something productive over the summer.
The importance of learning in enabling the individual to put his potentials to optimal use is self-evident. Without education, the training of the human minds is incomplete. No individual is a human being in the working world until he has been educated in the proper sense. Now I'm not saying you're not a human being without education. The mind was made to be trained and without education, a person is incomplete in that sense. Education makes man a right thinker and a correct decision-maker. It achieves this by bringing him knowledge from the external world, teaching him to reason, and acquainting him with past history, so that he may be a better judge of the present. Without education, man, as it were, is shut up in a windowless room. With education, he finds himself in a room with all its windows open to the outside world. In other words, people who are not educated have less opportunity to do what they want to do. A person that gets a good education will become a more dependable worker, a better citizen, and a stronger consumer.
For example, people would rather higher an educated man rather than a non-educated person. When looking at the long-term effects of an...