Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What's Happened to Education in America?

There isn't much argument to the fact that education in the United States is in "serious trouble" and that if the country's future is to be secured then something must happen to reverse the downward trend.

Of course, there is plenty of people that are pointing fingers - laying blame here and there. 

Some argue that the problem is with the teachers - mainly the Teachers Unions that exist across the nation.  Inadequate teachers in the classroom and the difficulty that many schools face in trying to replace "bad teachers."

Others make the argument that even though teachers may be a portion of the problem, it is not the sole issue as to why the United States is scoring so low on the global scale when it comes to math, science and reading.  For those individuals, they point to the decaying standards of the American family - mainly a lack of parental involvement and demands that their children perform at an acceptable level.  Instead, they blame the schools and remove responsibility from themselves and/or their children.

Still, others argue that its the entire educational system that has gone awry.  These individuals argue that the American school system has become more about social acceptance (the "kumbaya effect"); an emphasis on social behavior than on academics.  A large portion of this group also argues that just about everything under the sun has replaced the key emphasis of core subjects that are globally considered the bedrock to a good education for today's world: science, math and language arts.  Schools display their sports trophies within the main lobbies of nearly all schools and its undeniable that in some states across the country - high school and college sports rule!

Again, there is plenty of blame to spread around.  Read the following article that came out in December 2013. CLICK HERE for the article.  After reading the article, jump into the blog and let your voice be heard!

BLOG QUESTION:
Why are American school's failing?  Is there a way to fix this problem or is the future of the country in serious jeopardy?

74 comments:

  1. The education system in America is tremendously failing, for a number of various reasons. However, one reason that stands out the most out of all is what is driving American students toward failure; lack of motivation. Now, having a mother who is a high school teacher, I hear stories every day about how students don’t feel the need to perform well in school anymore. Why is this a problem? Well, motivation to succeed throughout our education is what assists us in obtaining a prosperous career in the future, which then helps us to provide for our families and inspire them to do the same. These days, parental involvement is so low, that students just don’t care anymore, and this is a cause and effect situation repeating itself. If parents, as students, didn’t do well in academics and ended up with a not so great occupation, what impression does that leave on their children, and then their children’s children, and so on? Although my father is constantly out of the country regarding his job, he calls every day to see how I’m doing in school, and particularly asks about my history blogs and tells me to send him my answers because he feels obligated to be involved, and same goes with my mother. Another problem is low social economic status. By this, I mean the parents who may be struggling, or find themselves too busy to be involved with their children’s education, such as single parents, divorced parents, parents who work longer hours to provide just enough for necessities, and so on. My mother has told me about students whose parents are struggling to support themselves, and in turn affecting their children’s academics. Then there are the parents who expect their child to do well, but don’t find it important to be involved in anything regarding their child’s studies. Now parents aren’t the only major reason for the American education system’s downfall. Teachers also play a significant role in the performances of students. Over the years, I have definitely encountered numerous teachers who I felt hadn’t taught me enough, or well enough. A teacher can change your life; they are a major part in teaching us what we need to know as we grow and how well we do with our careers in the future. That is a lot of pressure on teachers, which is why having the best teachers is so important if we are to rise our academic scores. Having teachers who themselves have not performed well in studies, have no experience, no strong teaching ability or skills, no basic knowledge, and etc. won’t help how well students do at any level. Having taught in both India and the United States, my mother is constantly comparing education systems. Western countries are widely known for such high scores in mathematics, science, and language arts. She tells me that in India, rules are rules, and not a soul disobeys them. Teachers are respected because they are well picked for their knowledge and skills. She told me that roughly 90% of students in India attend a tutoring session after school, known as “Tuition” because teachers go at such a high pace and standard, that it is important that students understand and practice everything that is taught throughout the course of the year, which lasts at an average of 236 days, and leads to my other reason: number of school days.

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    1. Continued- (Would not fit above)

      We recently learned about Japan and how they have a number of 240 school days and they also attend something known as a “cram school” after regular school. While I do agree that I would rather not have more school days, I could definitely say that the number of school days does affect why our education system is failing. Our teachers don’t get enough time to cover enough material or finish a curriculum within the textbook or the required syllabus that other foreign students easily complete. When teachers attempt to rush lessons to accomplish it according to their lesson plan, students get confused and that leads to more failing scores. In addition, the government, in my opinion, establishes way too many opportunities for those who choose not to continue or do well in their education. While there are many people who cannot afford certain schooling or find themselves not having the potential, there are also those who think it is okay if they don’t concentrate on their studies because they are offered so many jobs that require no experience or education. In India, as I have heard, anyone who has not attended school cannot even work at a McDonald’s, which is thought of as strange here. Another one of the most important reasons is focus. Students these days find it more important to discuss the new gossip on Twitter or if they’re going to be ‘hanging out” the next day instead of focusing on homework or their next big chapter test. While I do agree that social time is necessary for the growth of a student, I do believe that an excess of it could take a hit on academic scores. As my mother always tells me, “Too much of anything is not good.”
      If there is a way to fix the education system of America, I really do not know. If American families and students are all willing to change all the factors I mentioned above, then there is a high possibility our scores could soar. It’s not that Americans don’t have the potential to perform well in studies, if only we took the time out to improve ourselves on all levels, we could stand a great chance against other nations. We just have to take a step forward in taking into consideration all the mistakes that we are currently making.

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    2. Anshul, I totally agree with you, on most of your points. I'd be interested to know which part of your argument you believe to be the most crucial or critical - unqualified (or unmotivated could be a better word in some cases) teachers, lack of motivation on the students part, or parental involvement? Which one do you think would be the "easiest" to fix?

      I firmly believe that for EVERY problem, there exist a solution - the question simply comes down to rather or not we are willing to do what is needed to fix the problem. Too often, the answer to that is "no."

      Oh, and btw, I found it really cool that your dad is interested in our blogs! Hope he enjoys our topics!

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    3. To answer your question, I definitely feel as though parental involvement is the most crucial improvement needed to be made. Parents need to begin to learn how to get involved and worry about their child’s future. This aspect affects all the others, and this because even though we have the best teachers, students need to be motivated to want to perform well, and that encouragement and impression comes from the parents or the guardians. There is also the problem of parents being too “lenient” with grades and behavior while they believe to be involved. As for the “easiest” to fix, I would say unmotivated teachers would be the easiest because in this case, teacher employers could become stricter and establish more requirements such as certifications, a certain GPA, experience, etc. The system is already evaluating and observing teachers more frequently, which I think is decently benefitting us to a certain extent. I agree completely that we can only find the solution to the problem if we are willing to do so.
      Yes, my dad really enjoys our discussions and takes the time out to read the arguments on the blog because he finds each topic intriguing!

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    4. Anshul, you had some great points and I agree with majority of them. I agree with how you said that some teachers lack the experience required to adequately teach the curriculum. I think we have all encountered at least one teacher like that. It gets frustrating when you know you have the potential to do well in the class, but you can't seem to understand what the teacher is talking about and what the lesson is about. Focus is a big issue as well. When I get home, I waste so much time doing nothing and go on social networks. When I finally am able to begin my homework, I get distracted so easily. While I agree with your point on how parents lack involvement in students' lives which results in a lack of motivation for students, I have to disagree with you to a certain degree. In my case, my parents certainly do ask me how well I am doing and if I have difficulty or not and they do discipline me as well. However, they are not always involved in my school work and academics as much as you claim your parents to be. It is the desire that I have to excel in school that motivates me in doing well. Many students lack this desire, which they would have, if they knew how important gaining an education really is.

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    5. Anshul, we had very similar points on this topic! I completely agree with everything you said here. Lack of motivation is definitely a huge contributing factor to the failure of schools across the country. Of course, we all get lazy now and then, but there are some people who don't get back into the "groove" of school as quickly as they should. I especially agree with when you stated "When teachers attempt to rush lessons to accomplish it according to their lesson plan, students get confused and that leads to more failing scores." This is absolutely right. Unfortunately, some teachers might not care about the quality of the education they are providing their students as much as other teachers do, which is another big reason why these schools are failing. In short, I completely agree with you on this.

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  2. Education in America is certainly not thriving as well as it is in other countries, such as China. In my opinion, there are three major aspects that contribute to our lack of exceling in education. Students without a doubt are becoming lazy, there are teachers that are unable to teach lessons thoroughly and our education systems focus more on sports. Majority of teens in America do not understand the importance of receiving an education. A large number of them just do not care and do not strive to put effort into learning. This jeopardizes our education ranking tremendously. Students are becoming lazy and just go to school because they “have” to. This is a problem that I see going on almost every day. Students’ lack of motivation to perform to the best of their ability in school is not the only thing that puts education in America in suffering. There are many teachers who are unsuccessful at presenting information in ways that teenage students would be able to grasp and comprehend. This is also another problem that I have experienced and sometimes, going for extra help with the teacher does not make a difference either. There are also those teachers who make a class an “easy A.” In order for students to thrive and improve their academic scores, they need to be challenged to a certain extent. If the teacher is unable to do that, they will take a test, do whatever it takes to pass and forget the information they have learned. Our overall education systems should pursue to focus more on educating students rather than how well they are able to play sports. I’m not in any way saying that sports should be eliminated from schools. However, they should not be receiving as much attention as they are. Many students are more interested in coming to school to go to their sports’ practices and games after school. Sports take away a lot of time that students could be using to do homework, study and practice on areas they have difficulty with. Many colleges will take students just based on their athletic ability and disregard those who actually have the intellectual capability to execute their knowledge into the real world. There are many initiatives that can be taken to give our education systems and rankings a boost. First off, instead of pressurizing students into making an effort to do well in school, schools should be reminding students WHY it is so important to flourish in their academics. They should let students know how their high school/college academic performances will reflect on their future lives. Also, before hiring teachers, school officials should require teachers to demonstrate their teaching skills in a class with students. They should be evaluated and then students should have a say in how well they absorbed the information taught. In our school, we must maintain at least a C average in our classes to be able to participate in sports and extracurricular activities. If the requirement of that C turns into a B, grades will be more likely to improve. Many students are dedicated to sports so much that they will do whatever it takes to continue playing that sport. These are just small steps that can be taken if we as Americans are determined to improve the infrastructure of our education systems.
    Also, I’d like to mention the alteration of the SAT exams. Years ago in the 1900s, the max score for the SATs was 1600. Throughout the years, this was changed to 2400. Now, in 2014, when we should be at the apex of our intellectual performance, the max SAT score has been dropped down to 1600 once again. The exam is becoming easier and one entire section is optional. If our generation is more advanced than ever, shouldn’t we be able to take the SAT with the max score of 2400? This change in the exam does not seem like an advancement to me at all. Instead, it seems as if we have moved back instead of going further with our education.

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    1. Kushali, I agree with most of your reasons and I believe you executed your answer really well. In my blog, I failed to mention that sports are becoming too overpowering due to the amount of attention they get from students rather than their academics. Sports, to some extent, are not as important as academics, at least in my opinion, but that seems to be the problem. Most students focus solely on sports and the majority of their studying time is contributed to training and practicing. While colleges do look for athletic people, and most people find sports there forte rather than school, I would have to say that sports don’t always give you a life-long career, whereas academics could pull you a long way. However, I have to disagree where you said “Many colleges will take students just based on their athletic ability and disregard those who actually have the intellectual capability to execute their knowledge into the real world.”, because most colleges want a well-rounded person; someone who plays at least one sport as well as portrays intelligent academic scores. You also said that extra-help with teachers doesn’t always work out as well, and I definitely agree with you on that. Then there is the issue of teachers not challenging students and preparing them for the harsh reality of college and the near future. I do find it interesting that you stated that schools should remind students why it is so important to excel in school, however, it does occur to me that most students would fail to accept the truth or simply won’t “care”. You also mentioned about the huge recent SAT score alteration, which does boggle my mind. If America is wondering why our education systems are failing, why are we taking a step back, rather than advancing?

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    2. Kushali, you brought up an excellent point in you blog post. Mentioning how sports have greatly affected the education of students in America was definitely a great reason to this failure; and it's something that I wouldn't have been able to think of on my own. Lately, sports are becoming a huge distraction. They take a lot of time away from students, leaving them with less and less time to study and focus on their schoolwork. Another great point you mentioned here is the fact that schools shouldn't pressure students into make an effort in their work, rather they should show them why it's important...If that couldn't motivate students to do better, I don't know what would.

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    3. Your point about sports was great. Kids focus A LOT on sports. But it seems unfair to let them play sports, but hold a D average in their classes. By raising the standards, you are basically telling them to step up their game and work harder - on and off the field (or court).

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    4. Kushali, you had great points in your blog. Most students are beyond lazy these days and could care less about a proper education. Everyday we witness people in school with no motive to learn, and this really suprises me, and I don't understand how they are like this. Also, your statement about sports is most certaintly a huge problem because students barely pass, but still have the right to play. You made great points explaining why American schools are failing.

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  3. American schools are failing due to the pettiest reasons, and it is really sad how it effects the nation. American schools are failing because having a “social life” is more important to students, and their parents. While I do believe in respecting everybody, the oversensitivity of newer generations, including mine, is ludicrous. The littlest things bother people, and society’s “perfect” ways is adding to the oversensitivity. Teachers can’t teach nowadays without the fear of hurting someones feelings, and getting in trouble with the school board for “offending” a student. There is actually a comic strip with two different pictures relating to this topic. The first picture is in the late 60’s and shows parents and a teacher yelling at a kid for failing. The second picture takes place today, and shows a kid and his parents yelling at the teacher for the kid failing. Sadly, this shows how our education system is today. You can never blame the kid anymore. The downfall of education is not the educators fault, but the students lack of interest in educations, and the parents lack of interest in their child’s education. Students, and parents, are too involved in social media and maintaining a social life. They think school is just a baby sitting service and students think it a waste of their time. No matter how busy a parent is, their kids should be their main focus. My mother is constantly on me about my education in a positive way, despite the fact that she works full-time. To her, her kids are priority and sadly that is not true for every student. In a survey that was done during a study on American education, 52% of U.S. voters said the next Bill Gates will not be from America, and 47% said the scientist who discovers a cure for cancer will not be an American. As sad as that sounds, I have to say that I agree because so many students and parents don’t care about a proper education. Many kids think I’ll just be a singer, an actor, an athlete, etc., but reality is you’re not the only one with those dreams and you have a slim chance of making it. Schools offer so much and gives you chances to get better and be something, but all that students care about is partying and friends. Now of course not all students are like this, and their are some who truly care about their education. Although most of the reason for our schools failing is the students and parents, the schools are at fault for a portion of it. Our school is constantly reminding us to get better grades so we can move up in rank, but that doesn’t push anybody to better themselves. Instead of telling students to get better grades so we can be the best school, try to engage the students and teach them how an education is good for them, and their future. Also, every once in a while you get that teacher who has no clue what their doing, and makes it difficult. For example, they have a formal education in their respected field and just take a few courses to be certified as a teacher. Their initial education was not in education and working with children. All in all, it is mainly the students and parents faults for schools failing because they care about their social status and societies “rules”. I believe that their is a solution to everything, as Mr.Gehm does, but the solution to this problem seems impossible. The one logical solution is for parents to enforce the importance of education on their kids, but some parents just don’t care. Education is America, without a doubt, is failing, but will it ever get better?

    This is a link to the comic strip I mentioned:
    https://plus.google.com/108516484863809927089/posts/ZqbSDfQCmGG
    This is a link to the survey I mentioned:
    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2012/08/26/Education-US-education-system-slipping-behind-China-India/UPI-92081345973400/

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    1. I agree with what you said, Hava. Students have definitely lost interest in school because apparently, having a "social life" is more important than receiving an education. Now, I, myself, definitely do not look at school that way; however it is unfortunate that thousands of students don't feel the same. It may not only be the student's fault for failing, though. Many parents play critical roles in getting their children to do better in schools, but there are some that just don't care as much as others. And yes, I also agree with what you said about some teachers making things difficult for students. I wouldn't say that they don't know what they're doing, though, rather they may lack the ability to explain something as well as they should. I do agree with a majority of your blog post, though.

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    2. Hava like paige stated earlier i too believe that the lack in interest in school work is a major problem for the majority of the student populous. Having a social social and being cool are ignorant concepts which are derived for the social paradigm in school by a select group of people which eventually makes its away across the students similar to a virus. If students stop caring more about how they look or their impressions towards other people, they would be able to focus on the important things such as school. I agree with your argument along with the points you brought up

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    3. Hava, I agree with all of your points. I like how you discussed the comic strip because it completely relates to the changes in the American education system throughout the years. I really dislike that nowadays all the blame of failure is leaning towards the educators, who in some cases, do deserve it, however most are great. You also mentioned how a large percentage of Americans depend on their dreams of being a singer, actor, professional athlete, etc., which, even though could be possible, has a very a small likelihood of occurring. While most Americans have a motto similar to “Follow your dreams”, they later grow up facing the harsh reality of getting rejected and the competition out there. They don’t understand that an education is key in becoming anything they aspire to become, and general knowledge is important. Since we have the majority of our classes together, we are constantly discussing how our parents would react to our grades or what we had to do to bring up our grades in order to please ourselves as well as our parents, who want the best for us in the future and have similar views on education. One thing about your argument was that you didn’t mention much about faults in teachers. Overall, we had very similar views.

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  4. All across the nation, there are thousands of schools that are failing; and for a number of reasons. The biggest contributing factor to the failure of these schools, in my opinion, is definitely the lack of motivation that many students have. Nowadays, there are so many things distracting students from their school work; whether it be technology, social networks, or the desire to get out and spend time with friends. I, personally, tend to get very distracted with everything else going on in my life, which ends up making me very unenthusiastic about school at times. However, I still push myself very hard in order to succeed and get the grades I want, and I also have the privilege of getting the constant support of my parents to motivate me to try harder. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for millions of other students. In many cases, parents play a big role in how well their students do in school. Lately, many parents have lost focus on their children and their academics. This may be because of other responsibilities they’ve had to take on, like working long, hard hours to support their families. However, there are also some parents simply don’t care as much as others. Take my grandfather, for example. Whenever he sees the good grades on my report card, he often tells me how he wishes he had gotten grades like that; and that neither he nor his parents would push him to do well in school. They just didn’t care about his work as much as they should’ve. What I’m trying to say is, the lack of motivation in both students and parents to push their children is a huge contributing factor to the failure of schools all across America. Of course, there are other reasons to the failure of American schools. Sometimes, it might not even be the student’s fault. As we all know, there are many people who simply do not learn as well as others. In some cases, students might just naturally be unable to learn as quickly as others do, and in other cases, the teacher may even be at fault. Now, everyone’s had at least one teacher that might be using a certain method of teaching that makes learning a subject a little more difficult than it could be. The teacher might simply be rushing through a lesson, or may be unsuccessfully explaining a concept to their students.
    So, having said that, there are many reasons as to why the American schools are failing. I, personally, feel that the greatest contributing factor to this nationwide failure is the lack of motivation from both students and parents. However, there are other reasons for this, such as the way a teacher presents a lesson, or how fast a student can grasp a concept. If there is a definite way to fix this problem, I’m not quite sure of it. Maybe one day, we will find a way to motivate students to do better in school. Taking extra steps to improve both the quality of our education and our test scores is something that could later turn out to be highly beneficial to the country.

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    1. Paige, we definitely have similar opinions on this topic and I completely agree with you. I know for a fact that it takes me a very short time to get easily distracted from my work, even though it may be so crucially important. The main problem is usually social networks, which is taking America by storm. Students worry about how much attention they’re going to get on a particular social media rather than worrying about their grades and school work. I really like the example you used with your grandfather because I have had many friends who have told me that I was lucky to have parents who really worried about my future and how well I was doing in school, which I definitely am. My grandparents tell me all the time that back then, there was so much motivation for students to do well, that parents didn’t even need to worry as much as they do now, if they do at all anyway. You’re absolutely correct in stating that parents really need to begin influencing their children to work harder and bring better grades, not only for the ranking of the United States, but for their own future and their families ahead.

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    2. Paige, I agree with your main argument and the points you came across. For example I strongly believe that the lack of motivation from both parent and students when it comes to academics. Something else that degrades the class of our students is the social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. These networks are a useless waste of the time, that distract students from school work and makes them focus on stupid things such as the number of followers one has or something else.

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    3. Paige, I agree with you. Students definitely don't have the drive to succeed and don't push as hard as they used to. People no longer understand the importance of school. Also, your statement saying "Lately, many parents have lost focus on their children and their academics." is definitely true. If parents don't show the interest of school to their children they will obviously not care. Parents need to work harder and need to become stricter on their children. However, I would think exams are actually the real problem. Exams serve as a way to bring fear and stress into the already arduous lives’ of students. Imagine a world where you wouldn’t have to worry about having to study every little fact of a subject even though you understand it already. Exams cause increased drop outs and harsh anxiety. In the end won't you agree exams are the problem? I agree with your statements and your reasoning behind your ideas, Overall, this was a great entry.

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  5. America is facing countless problems as of today. Education, is one of the major ones. Why are so many American students struggling with school? Is it curriculum, teachers, or laziness? In my opinion, our society has made us very lazy. There is too much unnecessary technology; facebook, instant-messaging, etc. This is what makes us choose "a form of entertainment" over education. However, I feel there is also another factor that plays a big role in society. The question; "Why do we need to know this?" Personally, to some degree, i feel schools should not teach what we do not need to know if it would not help us get a job or successful career in the future. Because we focus on unnecessary details, Americans fall behind on what is truly important. One last problem; honors vs average vs below average; why do we learn differently? Aren't we all going to be adults when we grow up? Why should some learn more than others? Does that makes them better-off in society than those who did not? This system, personally, I feel discourages students from working to their full potential, because in the back of their minds they might be thinking "oh i shouldn't try that hard because it doesn't matter anyway; ill never be that good." *I do not think that America's schooling however is all bad. There are positives too. We protect against discrimination and bullying that other nations may not focus on. -Tom Hindle

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    1. Tom, I like the points you brought up such as the topic of Honors vs regular classes. I believe that the division between education in the same grade is not beneficial to the grade as a whole, ultimately leading up to the country as a whole. The argument your presented is something I agree with quite strongly.

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    2. Tom, you made some excellent points. They are very unique and it seems as if you took them into long consideration. I strongly agree with the laziness that is thriving amongst the students in America. I have to admit, at times, I procrastinate so much to the point where I end up doing so many things last minute. This is all due to my laziness. Social networks definitely act as a major distraction for me. Also, I like how you mentioned the division amongst the level at which students learn. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. It certainly would discourage other students who are not in those classes and make them feel as if they are not "smart enough." However, to a certain degree, I think the division amongst classes is needed to allow students to work at their own paces. Honors, average and below average all basically learn the same material but at a different level and pace. Honors classes allow students to become much advanced since they are able to take on the challenge. Average and below average classes work at more of a steady pace with a little bit less of a challenge than honors courses. Therefore, it allows students to work with those at the same level as them so they don't feel too rushed or feel as if the class is moving too slow and get bored. Good points overall, though.

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    3. Wow Kushali. You had a really good point. Everyone does learn differently and different paces; so it is true that they should be put into grouped categories.

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    4. Tom, I agree with you mostly. And I agree with Kush too. The honor, average, and below average classes are all taught the same material just at different rates (and more work too). When I tell people that I'm in this honors class, people shake their heads and say, "that's because you're smart." Yes I guess I am smart, but so is everyone else. Our class has the ability to take on more work and absorb the information quicker.
      On another note, technology has a major part in it as well. I cannot tell you how many times I've paused doing my homework to answer a text, tweet, or like a photo on Instagram. And honestly, most of us do.

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    5. Tom I actually completely agree with you. Laziness is definitely a key factor and has changed society over the years. Also, I kind of disagree with what you said about learning at the same level without honors. I believe people learn at different levels and honors classes are definitely helpful to push people and separate "the men from the boys". The fact that there is honor classes actually pushes people farther and harder than they are used to. To continue I would think exams are actually the real problem. Exams serve as a way to bring fear and stress into the already arduous lives’ of students. Imagine a world where you wouldn’t have to worry about having to study every little fact of a subject even though you understand it already. Exams cause increased drop outs and harsh anxiety. In the end won't you agree exams are the problem?

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    6. Tom, I agreed and disagreed to your opinion to some extent. To start off, I completely agree how our technological advances play a huge cause in the American schools failing. My parents always tell me how when they attended high school, they had no issue with technology affecting their academics however it is a huge controversy in our generation. I also agree how schools should allow courses which focus on your career which leads students to the right path in life. Although the categorizing situation of high schools may discourage some students, it overall benefits since it helps students work on their own pace. For example, if a slow learner were to be put with intermediate students they may do worse since they wouldn't be able to keep up.

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    7. I agree 100% that technology is stabbing us in the back. I am a first-hand witness that forms of entertainment like facebook and twitter have distracted me from doing things rather productive, and it later makes me feel remorse and even sadness that I (I don't like to say it) "wasted time". I'm half and half with the honors vs. Regular vs. Below average because this can also be beneficial. This can allow students to know their place, don't take that in the wrong way, and work at their own pace happily. It may also drive them to work harder to get to that honors level.

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    8. Well, however, I really don't think America is falling behind, you can't see things on only one side. Why don't you look at America's technology and science? Even though "America is falling behind in education", but the technology America has is much more advanced than other countries in the world.

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    9. The points you made were valid but I do have one problem with the blog. The part where you said we should only teach things that are necessary to careers caught my eye. Everyday I question why I need to know certain things that I learn in math or science for example, but that is the core of what education is based on. Knowing that a triangle has 180 degrees or that the sky is blue because of the refraction of the ocean may not help me if I'm starting a business, but it is helpful and almost necessary to learn.

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    10. Tom, you are absolutely right. I'd never considered that social networking was a key component in everyday student distraction. Lastly, you are right about the introduction of unnecessary material. It is indeed a waste for the school and student alike.

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    11. I completely agree with the point your bring up with social networking and technology as a constant distraction for our current generation. Older generations did not have this much technology and distractions to hinder their performance in school. Nowadays, students are texting in class or using Facebook instead of paying attention to teachers. I also agree that we should only be taught material that will help us because it would be wasting the students and teachers time.

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  6. I believe that America has been falling behind in education, compared to the rest of the world. The way our education system is currently headed is not a favorable path. Compared to other asian countries such as China and Japan where they are currently ranked higher than the USA. The reason that I believe they are so much higher than us in education is because it all stems back from their family and the quality of teachers there. Numerous High Schools across the Nation have good quality, however they are probably more common in China and Japan. Along with that their families are very strict about the students academic record, this of coarse means they are much more involved in the academic career of their students than us. Another thing I know is that my friend is from China and i was talking to him about the Chinese education system, he response was actually quite schooling to me, he said that is the same curriculum except they go into more detail and have more complex problems than us. That is why when they come here they are able to do our math so fast and without much strife. I believe that we need to be a little more strict with our academic system and curriculum. That is what I believe we need to do in order to increase our ranking in education.

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    1. Students in America definitely need more of a challenge in order to succeed and go above and beyond their education level. It is true how you mentioned that education systems like those in China go more in depth with the way they learn and the way teachers teach. With this challenge, they are able to excel and implement their highest standards of achievement. American students would be at the top if they were given the right environment, encouragement and teaching. Students here also lack the determination that those in China have.

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    2. Perhaps you are right. Family and culture can influence how a student performs in the classroom. Maybe Americans should learn from other cultures, and strengthen what needs to be strengthened. Also I agree with you; we are very lenient. We should be much more stricter in our curriculum. -Tom Hindle

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    3. American students definately do not strive to their best ability. To most students, school is to go hang out with friends and relax - not to learn. If there was enough pressure and encouragement from teachers and parents, we could be on top.

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    4. David i agree with you. If you're parents aren't strict and let you do whatever you want you most likely will be struggling in school. Your background definitely has a strong effect in your school. If your parents did well in school they will most likely be strict on you and make you see the importance of school. However, I don't believe this is the reason our school systems are struggling, I believe it is the anxiety and the stresses that come with classes. Depression is very likely to occur while struggling in school. Specifically, I believe exams are the main problems. They are useless and one of the main reasons for dropout rates. It is a huge issue and unnecessary. Wouldn't you agree?

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    5. Your statement about other Asian countries ranking higher than the US because of their educational behaviors is completely correct. Even with the recent lessons on Japan that we learned in class, I realized really how distinct their academic system is compared to us. I believe their disciplinary rules is a main factor which ranks them higher. If the US schools can prioritize their education, we can progressively become as good as the other countries.

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    6. Going back to what you and kaitlyn mentioned, I feel that we have so much potential, probably even more so than many other countries on behalf of our youth and teens. Like I stated in my blog, health plays a key factor in this and ties in with laziness because it essentially leads to weight gain and many negative things stem from that as we all know. We are getting lazier and lazier, but I see much talent throughout just the small town of secaucus!!!!!!! Imagine the other talent out there!! Man, if we were as driven as other countries and worked that hard, we would be at the apex of the education of america, only leading to a better economy and so much more.

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    7. Wow, your Chinese friend just explain so well to you! It is right that in China we learn the same as in here, but the problems goes 10 times deeper than here, even with the same concepts. However the problem is from China, not America, that is why China has a much much more higher teen suicide rate than America.

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    8. You are truly correct when you say that families impact a child's learning experience. A mothers or fathers word can have a huge impact on how the student will learn. Like you suggested if we get stricter, maybe those horrible statistics will rise. Like you said about China the curriculums the same so we should be the same rank as china which is obviously not the case.

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    9. Recently in Writer's Workshop I had to write a paper stating why longer school hours were necessary to advance our educational status. However, after reading your post I realized that the QUALITY of our education has to be changed, not the quantity. I liked how you personalized the post by including an example of your friend who recognize the difference between our education and his previous one.

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  7. Many may say that the education system is messed up because of parents, or teachers, but i believe it is something completely otherwise. In May 2004, a 15 year old, Tina Dzikl was found dead on the floor at school. When they read the letter she had wrote expressing her worries, they found that the cause of her death were exams. What has school come to these days? Everything is based on exams and nothing more. We are brainwashing students by telling them that all you have to do to get ahead in life is pass a test. Once a teacher told me, “You don’t need to understand this course. All you need to do is pass this class.” We are causing our children way too much stress leading them to drop out of sports. Students don’t widen their interests by participating in extracurricular activities. All people care about now is just school. The singular focus on grades is causing teenagers to abandon sports and other activities. Exams should not be the sole focus of the educational system because they cause anxiety, stress and obesity.
    The anxiety and stress caused from over testing is leading to our students feeling depressed. What would you do if had an average of four tests a weak, throughout the whole year? Many people decide to just drop out of school and some others make a choice even worse, suicide. According to an article by Liz Smith, “Exams only serve to bring to a head feelings of depression, hopelessness and fear of failure that have become endemic amongst school age children, thanks in large part to the results-driven agenda that the Labor government insists upon.” According to dosomething.org, future dropout rates could increase because, “Every 29 seconds, another student gives up on school, resulting in more than one million American dropouts a year – or 7,000 every day.” The stress caused by exams could potentially leads to dropouts and at the worst times it leads to suicides. Why keep exams if all they bring is negativity?
    The fact that our education’s single focus is now grades is causing students to drop out of sports and other extra-circular activities. Students believe that because of all the studying they have to do they won’t have time for activates. According to a study done by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese.” If you don’t understand what that percentage means, it is roughly 112 MILLION people in the United States that are obese. If we keep children out of activates like sports they will also gain weight, adding salt to the wound. Another study also done by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed, “Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.” Obesity and heart disease go hand in hand. If we don’t teach our children to exercise and why it is important our next generation will be a group of sitting potatoes.

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    1. Some more: “While about 20% of college students admitted to cheating in high school during the 1940's, today between 75 and 98 percent of college students surveyed each year report having cheated in high school.” (“Academic Cheating”) What is the point of tests if such a high number of people copy off other people’s tests? Exams have no point and it isn’t proven that they help improve grades. Exams also have a negative affect on teachers. According to Alicia Anthony, from Global Post,
      “An incredible amount of pressure is placed on teachers to ensure an increase in achievement on standardized tests. This pressure is often wielded by administrators who draw attention to the test by reviewing scores with the entire staff and applying praise or reprimands based solely on test scores. This pressure often results in drill-and-practice-type instruction. Curriculum scope and sequence are sometimes modified in schools to cover specific test-taking skills and topics. Significant time is devoted to test preparation, including review worksheets and practice tests. These activities take away from higher-order thinking instruction, which has been proven to have more long-term benefits for students.”
      Exams serve as a way to bring fear and stress into the already arduous lives’ of students. Imagine a world where you wouldn’t have to worry about having to study every little fact of a subject even though you understand it already. Tests are knitty and gritty, testing all little details that aren’t even important and are usually confusing. There should be no more deaths like the one of 15 year old, Tina Dzik. What would a fairytale life be like with no exams, a place where passing exams wasn’t the sole source of education? The cause of dropouts, anxiety and the educational systems are caused by exams…Our biggest problem.

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    2. I read that very long blog because I knew we have the same viewpoints on this, however, I went into some contrasting details in mine. But, it is time for us to petition in some way shape or form and change the world. Exams do no good at all. The most important thing is for students to absorb the material, not to stay up all night worrying about some stupid test that asks only for the hardest details as you said. Sometimes teachers put stuff on the test us students are unfamiliar with!! These exams teachers give don't show our true intelligence. There nust be some other form of "testing" to prove our intelligence. I don't know if it's just me, but I may know the material inside and out, backwards and frontwards, but when it comes to testing, I panic and am often not pleased by the outcome. My heart races faster than a cheetah hunting for food and I am actually scared this can lead to depression for me, it has gotten that bad. I am getting better though and I am actually going to start to take a yoga class. I really can go years talking about exams. We caCan get through this crisis together abu, don't fret.

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  8. America, as everyone has noticed, is well behind other countries. There can be a number of reasons for this.The amount of time spent in school, the lack of motivation, and the encouragement of parents/teachers.
    There is a requirement to attend a solid 180 days of school. You can now see America scrambling to catch up with the other countries in math and science. You can hear the ideas of adding more school days and increasing the amount of time in school. Honestly, adding an extra hour and a few more days wouldn't be the end of the world. But it isn't a solid solution - it could work, it could not. When I say this I think I speak for everyone - by last period, I'm shot. I have no desire to do any more work. By adding an extra hour, would students be actually learning or will their tired eyes be strained at the clock?
    Lack of motivation these days is serious. Some days, nothing motivates me to get out of bed, but others I can't wait. Earlier this school year, I was sick and I was out for about a week and a half, and I really couldn't wait to get back to school. I was motivated and ready to collect my assignments. But for others, it really doesn't matter. Distractions can also contribute. From the phone beeping, the TV playing, and the music on full blast, you aren't really focusing on the assignment in front of you.
    Some parents and teachers these days don't really care. Teachers don't always put their full attention into their students' grades. But as 'teach'ers, they should teach. Teach them the information as many times until they absorb the information. As they should know, student grades reflect on the teacher's teaching abilities. I always go to extra help if I need it and I always have the need to confirm what I need to know for a test or quiz.
    Parents also play a major role in a student's life. My parents always want to know my grades and how I'm doing in school. They care about my brother and I's grades and give us the support we need. Sometimes, I even ask my dad for his opinion on my blog entries or my essays.
    Is there anything we can do to fix this problem? I think our main problem is the lack of motivation to succeed. First we need that to be addressed. There is not much that America can do. You cannot make a person want to do better. They have to do that themselves.

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    1. Kate, I really agree with all your points. Using personal experience to explain why American schools are failing elaborated your opinion. Lack of motivation in students from parents and teacher plays a huge part in this decrease. To add on to your point about distractions, our generation had adapted countless technological advances. When I go on my IPhone to check things such as notes I find myself being distracted or procrastinating and instead end up playing a game or checking a social networking app. The interest parents and teachers put in is also a factor of determination in students. My parents are always asking questions about my school work and make sure I am always doing well which I feel in needed in all parents towards their children. I also feel we can change the controversy of our failing schools by putting the causes into consideration to working to improve.

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    2. Adding an extra hour, however, can't improve the "falling" at all. When I was in China, it is like 99% of the people I know attending more or less extra tutoring schools or classes, even myself. Like when i was in 7th grade, I have 2 hours maths tutoring on Monday, Thursday and Sunday;3 hours Chinese tutoring on Saturday and Sunday and 2 hours tutoring for Physics every other day... So, see? The school hour can't change anything! In my school, teachers teach easy thing, easy concept, but when it comes to a test, the thing become really really hard and probably things you never see before, why they do that? Because they want to make a gap between students and students, hard tests eliminate students with poor grades, that is why we need to study very hard outside the school~~

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  9. With the improvements that have excelled in our world, our generation of education has been decreasing, in my opinion. I believe there are not only one but multiple reasons to this effect. It’s kind of a “shame” that while other countries are progressing in their education systems, we are falling behind. The first contributing factor would have to be motivation. The lack of motivation from parents and teachers is a likely reason in the diminishing from student’s education. My parents, in particular, are always paying attention to my progress in school and helping me in areas I struggle in. The recent adaptation at Secaucus High School, Parent Portal, is a great establishment for parents to see where their children stand in their academics. On the other hand, motivation from your teachers plays a huge factor as well. This leads into the next issue which is the teaching habits of teachers. Challenging the students in their courses and remaining eager to help the students in any way possible possesses teacher motivation in students. The students should not only be able to pass the class but remember the information afterwards as well. Many American schools provide sports and extracurricular activities to the students which is no problem at all. The dilemma arises when the students have a hard time balancing their priorities and end up slacking in their academics. I do believe academics is highly important when playing sports because failing grades will even get you kicked off a team. Participating in sports and extracurricular activities when you can balance your school work as well is always great because it prevents laziness. In our generation, procrastination or the act of carrying out unimportant tasks rather than your priorities seems to be inherited in all. The technological advances of our era spark an indirect decrease in the education of students. Whenever I procrastinate, my parents always tell me how when they used to attend high school, they didn’t have the many technological products we have today and it made a big difference. Instead of going home and spending hours on your IPhone, they would get straight to work and it would also leave a lot of free time afterwards and less stress. Influences in students are an additional factor to the American school deterioration. This includes examples such as bad influences from other peers to a stress leading influence. Despite these misleading factors to failing American schools, I truly believe we can take these causes of our failing schools into consideration and disregard the aspects that are bringing us down. Like stated in a Foreign Affairs article on Why American Education Fails by Jal Metha, “The United States needs a more thoroughgoing and systematic approach to educational improvement.”

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    1. Wow, She von ee, your entry was similar to mine. We have the same opinion and ideas about the education system. Great idea to include the Parent Portal. I really believe this is a great way to help parents become more involved in their child's life.

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    2. Shivani, you had excellent points about why American schools are failing. The lack of motivation coming from parents for their children's education is sad. Many students don't realize that they need an education to make it in life. In school we often see students making plans for careers, but some of them lack on their school work, so where are they planning to go in life. You also mentioned procrastination which plays a huge role in students lives, because many are addicted to social media. You had a good blog entry.

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  10. There are countless factors of a situation that determine what is the sole cause of slipping test scores and grades. Some of these factors have to do with students' financial situations, what the school provides for you, students' home life(big factor, with many details), students' social life/ status, students' eating and exercising habits, and, tying in with what the school provides for you, last but most certainly not least, teachers. Someone's financial situation does not have a huge effect on their grades, but lack of access to material and even happiness because some people don't know what being happy is. Some feel you need expensive clothes and merchandise to be happy, and not having the money for that can be a distraction and excuse. In some cases, schools may not be providing all necessities and materials for students to be passing big state tests,
    Or even everyday tests. Some schools just cannot afford a good teaching staff or the materials. The quality of a school and the people anf environment one is surrounded by every day sure does play a factor. Moving on, I feel that the student's home life is the third most important factor falling right behind teachers. I mean, so many things at home can affect how a student functions, feels, and acts. For example, problems with the family (divorced parents, abuse, obnoxious behavior, no feeling of welcome at home, etc.) can emotionally and physically hurt the student, which can lead to big drops in grades depending on the student. If a student isn't recognized as "popular" or gets picked on frequently, it can and in many situations will deter that person's grades, leading to even more sadness in their life, sorry to say.
    Someone's eating habits and amount of consistent exercise greatly affects students to me, but that may just be because I'm a health nut. Although if you look at the facts, daily exercise and healthy eating leads to a better functioning and quicker mind. Remember, even small exercises like arm exercises or walking for small amounts of time count, but a total of 60 minutes is substantial enough. Finally, teachers make an immense difference to me. A reason why so many students despise coming to school everyday is because many teachers simply can't do their job. As a student I can say this is accurate because, not to single any teachers out (and by the way, it is in no way shape or form mr. Gehm), but I observe that it seems as if some teachers try to bring students' self esteems down with certain remarks. Not only this, but they chose to do the job they do, at least put in a good
    Effort and enjoy what you do every day. Some teachers just do it to do it and get it over with in all honesty to what I've seen and it leaves me clueless as to why they would choose this job and not try harder to inspire, reach out, and make a connection with their students. Some teachers need to try new things never before seen or thought of that will make students anxious to go to class every day. Lots of teachers just want their students to pass those state tests and benchmarks, changing their whole style of teaching. This is somewhat the state's fault for enforcing it so strongly. Not to bring down teachers, it is just my honest opinion that some can do better and we all know it would make a big difference. In all, the biggest part of education we have to look at is the mindset/ motivation of the students and if theyre willing to try hardeenough and go the extra mile, no matter rhe situation. Possibly some solutions can be motivational speakers, or just talk much more about hoe important education is and even bring up the point of money if you have to. Motivation and confidence is key.

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  11. Well, I found the topic is very funny because I never thought this before that American will ever blame their education system! More surprisingly, I found many of you guys said that "America has been falling behind in education". However, from my point of view, if you want to compare America's education system with other countries', America is NEVER behind! I was the only person from the class I used to study in China who now attending a foreign countries' public school. Many of my friends from some world-famous-boarding-private-school were curious about my action, but I just told them the best way for me to understand and experience real American culture is to study in a public school. On my first day in Secaucus Middle School, I have already realized there is an obvious contrast between the cultures of America and China. American students can walk freely in the classroom during class; they can speak anything at any time; the teachers never scold at anyone, even to the people who never did their homework and fail in the tests; they have time to do activities after school....All those "normal things" to you guys just astonished me a lot. I started remembering my school life in Shanghai (well, since my school was a special 'international' school, and it is Top 3 in Shanghai, so it isn't a representative example ). Homework up to 5 hours per night for 6th graders; teachers bullied students in class just to make them study harder; yelled "you are lazy" to students who studied whole night for tests; punish students who can't recite the assigned paragraphs from the textbook to stand in the corner of the classroom facing the whole class......Most of you guys can't even believe this but once my class wasn't behaved well in maths class, then the math teacher gave us a whole class detention and everyone was punished to standing with absolute silence and no moves, listening to the tirade for 40 minutes. Nevertheless, all the parents thought the teachers are right and we deserved it. Now you guys see how Chinese students are pushed to study! From my personal experience, I got no free time during weekend, my timetable was full with all the tutoring classes. American students might never experience that feeling of pressure, you are so tired, you have no goals for life and grow numb. Americans complain that their students don't do so well on the standardized test than students from some other countries, but this is really not a problem, and however, I think that the education system in America is smarter than any other countries in the world, which is, "let only the smart ones to study more!" They see more about how you plan your time rather than how much time do you spend for schoolwork. Why everyone has to go to college, why everyone has to know so many deep knowledge if they want to become a cleaner? In America, schools give students an opportunity to choose who you want to become, the teachers only push and challenge the students who are hard working and like to learn. Meanwhile, American value "rounded" individuals, means that they also cares about a student's afterschool activities and personal characters. The reason why students from countries like India and China knows so many things and study so hard is because the population is so high and the opportunities of jobs are limited, in order to have an OK life, you have to go to a good college. (But this doesn't mean you can always get a good job if you go to a nice college.) There is a joke in China, "Twelve years of suffering, all in an entrance examination."The pressure from society shaped the educational system, and I think America can't help it since there is no problem about teachers themselves. And overall, I think the education system in America has no huge problems, only make the students more creative and thoughtful, that is why they can trained more international elites than other countries do.

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    1. Your opinion was interesting because you think America is never behind. I understand you have a different view point because you've experienced a different education system in China. Although it is a harder in China, thats why the countires education is astonishing. Students today don't recieve much discipline from school, so nothing drives them to do better. Your blog was very interesting to read because I saw a whole other point of view to this topic.

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    2. Wow Gemma the second I started reading your blog my perspective changed!! I knew it was rough in China, but it is deeply saddening to hear the extreme measures some teachers and people go to. Thank you for sharing your opinion it was very interesting and it makes me thankful to live in, should I say, and easy going country like america.

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    3. I do feel the blog was trying to hit the education aspect(test scores and performance) more so than cultural if you get what im saying, but it was cool seeing it from your perspective and you made some intriguing points.

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    4. Coming from someone who went to school in China, your explanation was very descriptive and I can see the true difference between here and China. Like Robert, my perspective was changed by what you said and it made me proud to be living and learning here. Like I said in my blog from the eyes of an American student school doesn't seem all that bad. Maybe America doesn't need to be #1 but a little change wouldn't hurt

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    5. My thoughts exactly Elijah. I too have to say that I was fascinated with the story you provided as a background for your argument. Although my parents have had somewhat of a similar experience, your connection with it to the week's blog topic was ingenious. When I thought about my opinion, I merely considered the facts provided. You thought outside of the box by using your own tale as an example.Well done Gemma!

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    6. Wow Gemma! My viewpoint has completely changed on this issue. Coming from the eyes of a Chinese student, you did an amazing job explaining your experiences in China. American and Chinese education systems are very different and you share your own story to construct an argument. It's amazing how you've experienced both education systems that vastly differ.

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    7. Gemma, what a great post!! Very insightful. I think you really covered a good range of the problem. Not 100% sure I agree on every point, but I, like some of your classmates have posted, had to re-examine the issue from a different angle!! Good JOB!

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  12. Honestly there is no question that our education system is failing and there are many reasons why. In the eye of an American student, our education system seems okay but compared to powerhouse countries such as China or Finland we appear weak. The United States cares a lot about its image and the education system we have is unacceptable for the type of country we live in. Statistics do not lie and based off the article and other outside information it is not good. Almost every statistic has decreased some more than others but the point is that we as a nation deserve a better education. I can go on and on about why we have to take action but in order to do that America must decipher what the real problem is. My personal belief is that students are not motivated enough and that they aren't being encouraged enough either. What I mean by this is that students don't have the drive to learn which causes laziness and indifference among certain students. Also parents and teachers are not helping the cause, often because they focus on negative grades rather than helping. My Italian teacher (Ms. Conforti) told our class about Italy's education system and how it was so different than here. In Italy there days are shorter but with the amount of homework they get it takes most of the afternoon for them to finish and everyday they have oral tests in front of the entire school. Obviously this isn't what we as students in America experience. The point I'm trying to make here is that they get more motivation by there peers and teachers, and on top of that they have an even tougher time than we do. Getting back to the blog, every problem has a solution as displayed by Lord Gehm, and this particular problem can definitely be solved. Of course it would take a lot of changing and reform but it will save our run down education system. Finland reformed there education system in 2003 and now there in the top 5 I believe in education around the world. If they can do it there's no stopping the most modern country in the world from doing it. Changing one aspect of school can certainly have a boulder effect on all the schools in the world. Overall if it can only benefit us, we as the United States of America should take a stand and make it happen as soon as possible.

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    2. however, i really think the education system that supposed to reform is not America, but those rough education system like the one in China and India. You should feel lucky that you are now studying in America :)

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    3. By reform I mean change the education so we can constantly stay at a certain rank and not fall behind. After reading your blog I am very lucky to be studying here.

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    4. Finland is actually number 1 in the world in education, (but who's counting). And you are totally right, our country does need a new education reform, like Finland did in 2003, which worked out for them 11 years down the road. So if we act sooner, this could possibly change the direction of our education system in the U.S. So overall, i agree with all of your points.

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  13. The education system in the USA is not heading where we want it to. Students, parents and teachers all play a key role in how the education system operates. Students are the ones who receive the education, and they need to be serious about it. Some students think school is a joke and put in no effort. Our nation spends the most money for each of our students to receive an education, but some students simply don't care. Parents are also play a key role in a student's life. The relationship between a child and their parent can greatly affect their performance in school. It's also the parents responsibility to educate their child to be a well rounded individual because most likely the students that dropout have a poor relationship with their parents. Teachers are also a key aspect of a student's academic life. Teachers who inspire and teach from the heart will impact a student's life. However, not all teachers are the same. Some teachers don't care about the students and just teach "to get it over with." Being a teacher is not a normal job. Lord Gehm is a prime example of a teacher who inspires, truly cares about his students, and teaches from the heart, and we need more teachers like him. At the end of the day if students, parents, and teachers are not on the same page our education system will fail. Students need to be motivated, parents need to have a strong relationship with their children, and teachers need to do more than read from a boring old textbook.

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  14. Well there is no doubt that we have fallen behind in the world rankings of education. But this is not the fault of the education systems or the teachers, but the students. The students have lost the lack of drive to excell in the classroom. Some of them are not motivated to do well maybe because of their life outside of schools or something like that. But one reason that we may have become lower on the international rankings is because of the we administrate the PISA test. (The test that determines a countrys rank in education). In our country, we give the test to every one, but in some of the top countries, they only test the students in the top of their classes, which in retrospect isn't very fair. But if we want to make a move to get back on top in the future, which is a possibility, we have to become more like Finland, who is top in the world in education. Their teachers get paid as much as a doctor would because it is a highly respected occupation, the students only get 30 minutes of homework a night, which allows students not to feel overwhelmed with their work load, and finally, they have shorter school days then us, at 6 hours, which allows students to get other things done along with their school work. So in conclusion, we are only falling behind because of the lack of motivation of the students and the way we administer the PISA test, and if we want to get back on top, we need to adapt to the Finland style of education.

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    1. "but in some of the top countries, they only test the students in the top of their classes"; if this is so, then we should not be comparing ourselves with countries who do not want to show their faults. Showing strength and hiding weakness is not something you can compare with. Same goes for science's principles. Both strong and weak are needed to move forward. -Tom Hindle

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    2. you are absolutely correct Tom. I never looked at it that way. But sadly,in the world we live in today, people just look at the outcome, even though some of the scores are a little biased. But you are right we shouldn't be on a scale with other countries, but unfortunately, that isn't how it works in the "record books".

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  15. First off, let me start by saying that as I went through everyone's posts, I noticed that everyone held both quantity and quality. Though I too hold an opinion on this matter, I am not as well versed on it as you, my fellow classmates are. However getting back to the topic at hand, it is my personal belief that America's current education is lacking (in the sense that it is not where it's supposed to be). I also believe that the blame does not belong any one party, rather it is shared among all three (teachers, students, and parents). On the one hand, students in this country have not been working as hard as they ought to, and on the other, some teachers have been suffering from a lack of motivation to really connect with their students. Lastly, parents too have not been as influential in their children's lives as they should. Since they are seen the most, they should indeed step up to their role as being a key factor in not only their child's grades, but ultimately what they do with the rest of their life. If reforms are made on all three sides at a fixed rate, then perhaps our country's educational future won't be so bleak. But until then their is nothing more we can truly do.

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    1. Lack of motivation; that really captivated me and made me think. Is it perhaps the students' fault why the teachers have no motivation? *sleeping in class, drawing instead of writing notes etc."; but perhaps it is also parenting; parents who have no connection with their child will most likely suffer greatly when it comes to education. - Tom Hindle

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    2. I completely agree with all the points you make about the failure of our current education system. We cannot blame one party because multiple parties, the students, parents, and teachers share the blame. Students need to put the effort in to have a successful future. Parents need to influence their children to do the right things, and teachers need to connect with students.Without these parties on the same page, we cannot efficiently benefit from the education system.

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  16. I agree with al of your points. The fault is to everyone in the education system, not the education system itself. Some teachers could definitely do better in their teaching habits, while students could work harder, as you said. Plus parents need to give support to their children for school. My mom teaches in North Bergen and says that almost known of her students' parents care about their respective child's grade. This is an outrage. So overall i agree with you that the failure of our education is due to all people within the education system. not just one party, as you said it best.

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    1. This was directed at Sais post by the way

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  17. I just want to go on the record here and state that I was VERY impressed with everyone's thoughts on this topic. WOW 72 post!! It isn't just the number of post that is impressive, but the insightfulness that many of you have on this topic. Like many of you, I too feel that there blame is spread out amongst all parties involved (maybe not equally, but it lies in all parties' laps). I also feel that if your generation doesn't tackle these problems head on - the ranking of American education is going to continue to slip downward. There is no "magic" wand fix here, it'll take some major changes to fix this problem. But after reading your input - it gives me hope that maybe, just maybe we can get things back on track.... hopefully!

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