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Casen Askew

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Would US schools be better off adopting the educational systems of our contenders?

A sound educational system will, in most cases, augment a superior and thriving nation. With each country racing to claim that title of being superior, every developed nation has implemented their own unique form of public education. Being an American junior in high school, I am greatly perturbed at the statistics, and being a Texas junior in high school whose state lags behind almost every other state in the academic fields of science and math, I would go as far as to say I am disturbed. With that being said, the topic I offer up for debate is simple. Should the United States integrate the educational systems of places like Singapore and Taiwan in order to address one of the many problems our nation is facing right now, an inferior academic program?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/15/world/americas/15iht-14students.8345918.html
http://www.realonlinedegrees.com/education-rankings-by-country/

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    Apr 5 2011: A new curriculum based around the Technological Revolution would be a dramatic change from the industrialized model that is currently in use. A new technological curriculum would abandon the current textbook-driven, teacher-centered, paper and pencil curriculum that has proven to be unsuccessful and inadequate in preparing students to solve 21st century problems. Experts agree almost unanimously that young people aren't receiving the necessary skills to flourish in the 21st century marketplace. As Robert F. Duvall, President and CEO of the Council for Economic Education says, "We teach things, subject matter, but we don't teach how to think, that is, to analyze and synthesize novelty." Education will continue to fall apart if students, teachers, and parents don't stand up and take action. Taking action is leadership and thinking outside of the box is divergent thinking. Psychologists have proven that divergent thinking is more crucial than useless learned knowledge. Students can't be taught how to think. Rather, students need to think how to learn. Schools have an archaic curriculum that focuses on memorizing facts and forgetting them instead of learning. We need to get rid of the rigid rules, restrictions, and requirements that are discouraging creativity and allow students to create their own curriculum. Every individual thinks differently and should learn meaningful information in a way that is easy for them to comprehend and attain. Technology is the future and should be utilized in the classroom. Additionally, course titles need to be changed to fit today's global marketplace. Students don't need to learn about the history of feudal Europe in 3rd grade, 7th grade, and 10th grade. The problem with the current curriculum is that information is constantly repeated (and most of it is useless anyways). Learning how to create a product that utilizes technology through the sharing of ideas is far more important. I suggest reading Outliers and The World is Flat.
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      Apr 5 2011: I have to ask. What has led you to form such a well established opinion on the matter? I completely agree with you and have found your comments, to my delight, rather enjoyable. Are you employed in a field where these concerns rear their ugly head on a day-by-day basis? Or are you just a citizen concerned about our future as a nation? And another thing... What is your opinion on having trade schools near every public school? For instance, in my town there is a few big oil refineries. Well I think it would be a splendid idea for kids who don't really want to learn arithmetic and language arts to be put in these trade schools. I've always thought that idea would be great for a few reasons. I go to school with some people whom I'd rather not, people who don't want to be there and really shouldn't be. Well if they are put into these schools, by their own choice, they would get hands on training and could work for the refineries during the summer and have a steady job as soon as they graduate. I honestly can't see how it would be a detriment to society in any way, shape, or form. Your view?
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        Apr 5 2011: I am a frustrated High School Junior who realizes the material we are learning is useless. Through student, parent, and teacher feedback I have come to realize that no one approves of the current system in use. I have read an abundance of articles by scholarly faculty as well as renowned authors and entrepreneurs. Through my readings and observations I have come to realize that discipline problems are common, diversity in students is ignored, and grades are assigned based on test performance rather than knowledge displayed or improvement made. Doesn't this sound irrational? Do employers assign grades to workers? Are workers completely ignored by employers? Is diversity in the global marketplace ignored? Is collaboration with fellow employees discouraged? The current school system is in dire need of remodeling and only active students and teachers can lead the charge. Students are responsible and adept enough to create their own curriculums. I have researched several experimental schools that have implemented many 21st century ideals and concepts into its curriculum. Additionally, I have read about Private schools offering digital media enhancement classes and TED talk evaluations. Have you heard of such? Where do you go to school? What are your thoughts? I suggest reading Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and listening to Ken Robinson's TED talks. Outliers (also known as successful people) differentiate themselves from the rest of the world. Outliers are creative, passionate, personable, and divergent thinkers. Does school teach you how to be creative? Has Ancient Roman history taught you how to be passionate? Has your math teacher taught you how to be personable? Has your principal taught you how to be a divergent thinker? Have you tried coming up with a 100 ways to use a paper clip lately?
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          Apr 5 2011: It's people like you who allow me to see hope for us as a species. The logical thinkers, the believers, the problems solvers. I feel that my abilities as a young mind seeking knowledge are being suppressed. I attend a school on the Gulf Coast that, I'm disappointed to say, does not academically excel. We have some teachers who care about as much as the unwilling students they are trying to teach. I honestly feel that I have been hindered by my school career. I don't feel like I have been pushed. I don't feel like they have forced me to be a logical thinker. I'll definitely check out "Outliers." However, I disagree on a part of what you said. I don't believe that students, as a majority, are "responsible and adept enough to create their own curriculums." Students like you, yes. Students like me, yes. But a majority of the students at schools are not like you or me. I believe this lack of thirst for knowledge is something that has been bred into the minds of todays youth. That remains, for now, an impasse. You can't help those who do not want to be helped. So to fix the resultant you must fix the problem augmenting it. Which brings us back to trade schools. Separate the students. This separation could lead to schools(academic) improving. More kids would be there to learn and not because they had to be. This may come off as senseless rambling because, against my instinct, I am not going back and proof reading, but I'm just throwing ideas and thoughts out there.
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        Apr 5 2011: I have a feeling America is going to go green pretty soon. Therefore, your friends who are going to work in oil refineries will need to have more skills. For the time being, working for the oil refineries is a fine job. However, I already see the U.S. turning green. You should read Thomas L. Friedman's The World is Flat, Hot, and Crowded. Friedman talks about the future of the green economy and how it will shape infrastructure. Being a native of Texas, I am sure many of your classmates desire to work for the oil refineries. However, at least in my humble opinion, the Middle East is so unstable the U.S. is going to turn away from oil and become energy dependent. I know the U.S. has plenty of oil. However, as my AP U.S. teacher was telling me, the U.S. wants to be the last country on the planet with oil so they control the global market. The reason the U.S. isn't energy dependent already is because the U.S. is rich in petroleum.
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        Apr 5 2011: My trade school theory is below.

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