The Problem With the American School System

By Griffen Smith | USA

Every day, new statistics come out showing how horrible the US public education system is. In fact, in 2017 America ranked 30th in math and 19th in science out of 35 developed nations (Pew Research, 2017).  Even though we on average spend more than any other developed country, spending about $12,000 per student. Most people on all sides of the political spectrum would blame the amount spent on our students being too little, but that is simply not true, here’s why.

In the year 1997, America led all countries in high school and college education (History Net). the amount spent per student according to National Foundation for Education Statistics was $7,701. with inflation to 11,647 dollars, 400 less than what we’re spending today. So if we spend the most money on our students but get the least out of it, what is the issue stopping our students from being successful? The answer is the way Americans are taught, called the banking method.

In 1970, Paulo Freire published a book called  Pedagogy of the Oppressed. The book highlights an education system used in Argentina at the time called the “banking model.” He compares this model to a piggy bank, in which information is dropped into a person’s mind. Though it may increase memorizing skills, this banking method eliminates all creative thoughts and creates a cookie-cutter student. Education is not the same for every person, which is why this system only benefits those who have good memorization skills. This is the exact system America implanted in our schools in 2009 with the adoption of common core.

So what is there to do about our education system? We could always give the student more freedom to learn instead of having a strict agenda. However, the way that seems most effective has to be the problem-based learning model. This model makes it to which a student learns about a subject with the experience of solving open-ended problems. The problem-based learning (PBL) method is a process does not focus on problem-solving with a defined solution, but it allows for the development of other desirable skills and attributes. So while our education system seems to dwindle, don’t think about how much they spend on education, but how they actually educate.



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