Education system in American Failing

Why American Public Schools are Failing

By Josh Sager

The educational system in the United States is in dire trouble and there seems to be little real hope of effective reform in the near future. Our country’s once top-flight educational system has been in a state of decline for decades and we are rapidly falling behind many other developed countries. This decline in the state of the educational system in the United States has been caused by numerous problems within the school system, as well as a series of cultural problems.

While we like to think that good schools and motivated teachers will solve all of the country’s educational problems, this is not actually the case; a majority of student achievement is determined through cultural and socioeconomic factors which originate with the student’s family. There are numerous environmental factors which contribute to educational success, but a good family environment and reasonable access to the staples of living are paramount:

  • Parents who invest time and effort into the education of their children (ex. helping with homework or instilling good study habits) are far more likely to raise children who succeed in schools than parents who are too busy or disinterested to provide this involvement.
  • Children who receive proper amounts of food, sleep, medical services, and exercise are more likely to succeed in academics; hungry, tired or sick children often have a hard time focusing in school, regardless of its quality.
  • Children who grow up in cultures which put large amounts of pride and effort into educational achievement (ex. Chinese or Jewish) are statistically more likely to achieve because they are pressured to work hard.

Unfortunately, the terrible economic circumstances of many Americans and the hobbling of many social programs aimed at helping children (ex. Head Start) have made it much harder for parents—even if they are dedicated—to provide the things that may have positive academic effects. In our tough economic times, parents are often trying to keep food on the table, and are simply unable to contribute enough time to their children’s’ early education. When coupled with the cuts to early education during the recent austerity craze, this reduction in time for children is very damaging to long-term academic achievement—children are placed in front of the TV, rather than receiving the attention that helps them develop their vocabulary and early academic skills.


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