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Education Argument Paper

Satisfactory Essays
Professor Donna Pope
English 121-046RL
04/07/2013
Argument Paper, Draft 3 Final

“Are the educational systems priorities being out of whack at fault for lack of success?”

There are many negative influences on students today that the quote “Knowledge is the key to success.” has lost its power. The lack of success of our current youth is not directly related to a failure of the educational systems priorities but instead the society around it. A school fails to accomplish its goals when the students in the school lose the desire to succeed academically.

One of the biggest influences on students today is the media. It is obvious that shows like South Park, Beavis and Butthead, and The Jersey Shore have a negative impact on student’s goals or morals. Programs like Jackass and Nitro Circus make it seem like being a total moron and doing crazy stunts will ultimately get you paid. Unfortunately there are hardly any shows that portray academic success as the “cool” thing. Even shows that may seem harmless like Drake and Josh for example have a character that is a slacker who has many friends and is considered cool. While the other character that is smart has no friends and is a “loser”. Television tends to use the same formula constantly where athletic types are part of the in crowd and again the smart characters as “nerds”. Sure shows that are informative or constructive such as Extreme Makeover Home Edition on HGTV or Curiosity on History have positive messages but they are not really after young viewers. The glorification of sports in the media even has a major negative effect. With athletes being paid millions of dollars sports often become more important than academics. When In reality only an extremely small percent of students will go on to get paid for any type of sport. Music generally by rappers promotes a life of crime where selling drugs and gangbanging will make you a millionaire. With music videos that have half naked chicks and huge stacks of cash being thrown around it creates this illusion of a thug life that isn’t what it’s really like on the streets where its life and death for a dollar.

The location of a school plays a huge role in its ability to produce successful adults. Many schools have to deal with a school body that is in a poor, crime, and drug ridden urban area. In these areas the negative influence can be too much to overcome. Drugs and gangs have a dominant influence over students in these schools. Many are pressured into selling or using drugs. Others join gangs for a sense of safety or family that they don’t get at home. Schools in many suburban areas are falling victim to the rise of serious drug abuse among middle and high school students. With numbers of success and graduation being very low in these areas one might assume that the school has failed. However it is not the schools duty to fix all these external problems to allow students to get good grades and want to succeed. These external problems require and external solution first by the government and police.

Growing up in America freedom is such a beautiful right. The problem with freedom is just like anything else too much of a good thing can have negative effects. In America you can do just about anything as long as you’re not breaking a law or for that matter getting caught breaking a law. This includes doing nothing. Here we can do absolutely nothing and have the government take care of us. They will provide you with section 8 housing where they will pay the rent for you. They will provide you with food stamps and welfare to make sure everything is taken care of. Sure you might have the bare minimum but if your American Dream is to do nothing, well our government says go right ahead. In other countries you may have freedoms but certainly not the freedom to sit on your rump while you live off the state. This can give kids growing up the idea that its quite alright to do nothing and has bread a new whole new problem in itself.

The parental influence on children has certainly changed over the decades. Children of past generations had much higher expectations from their parents and more stringent rules. You were expected to graduate high school. Immediately afterwards you were supposed to start college or start a career. Then you would have to move out on your own and start your own family or life. Today’s expectations clearly have changed. With parents rules becoming more and more lax children are becoming less and less successful. Many parents don’t put significant stress on the fact that you need a career plan to survive. The outcome is that children are living at home later and later in life. It has become acceptable to be 25 years and older while still living at home with a dead end job all the while not saving any money. It has become ok to sit at home watch TV and play video games as a grown adult. This trend is becoming very prevalent in today’s society and parent’s lack of strict guidelines is playing a large role in schools lack of success.

With academic success often being a good indicator of how successful a person will be it must be the cool thing that all the popular kids do. Unfortunately this is just not the reality in the United States. Peer pressure can be a serious problem when it comes to school. Since it is not often considered socially acceptable to be the book worm who gets straight a’s in advanced classes many times children will do the opposite. A major issue is that students will lean towards large groups. These larger groups include jocks, slackers, and stoners. None of these groups put high priority on being a straight A. Instead they focus on things that make them happy at the time with little thought of where they will end up in the future. I myself succumb to peer pressure when I reached High School and no longer vested in my education. Unfortunately like most I would not realize the big mistake I made till many years later. In other countries it is more socially acceptable to stride for academic success. In these places peer pressure is more likely to force you to want to succeed.

Technology over the past decades has also had an effect on students. Social networking is becoming such an overwhelming priority to the children of today. Devices like smart phones allow them to be forever distracted from while in school. No longer can someone sit in class without the distraction of checking text messages, Facebook status, or emails.

The lack of academic success in America is causing many problems. Many highly skilled trades have to outsource employees from other countries due to lack of people with degrees. Our economy is on a decline and also can be related to this problem. The biggest problems are the ones it creates for its youth. Lack of career options, low paid jobs, and the inability to start their own families are just a few.

America is one of the top developed nations in the world. Yet our country is ranked almost dead last in academics out of the top 30 countries in the world. Interestingly enough when they surveyed the schools of America on how good they thought they did we ranked number 1 of all 30 countries. Our schools provide virtually the same thing as many other countries and yet those countries are not failing like us. Children in our country have the same ability and potential to learn and succeed as children elsewhere. This means that the priorities of our schools being out of whack are not the reason for our lack of success. The problem is influence all around us. If we as a society don’t work together to change these negative influences our children’s success will continue to decline.

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