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...