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The Value of a Good Adyookayshun


The Value of a Good Adyookayshun

It has become painfully obvious that the education system of the United States has become ineffective. We have sunk lower and lower in test scores until third world countries are beginning to pass us by. We are turning out fewer and fewer engineers and scientists and more and more psychologists and liberal arts graduates. And I’m not one to knock a Liberal Arts education – lord knows that we need people versed in history, writing and the arts – but we also need people to build things. To innovate. To solve problems and let’s face it – a person with an English degree is less likely to do that than a person with a degree in, say, computer engineering, or quantum physics.

There are a lot of reasons we have fallen behind in education and it falls squarely in three categories – the system, the parents and the students. The system has made education less and less of a priority, cutting funds to it ruthlessly until teachers are forced to buy classroom supplies for their students because there’s no money in the budget for paper, pencils and sometimes even textbooks. We have to stop looking at education as an extraneous expense and look at it for what it is – an investment in the future of our country. This is a country whose education system has turned out people like Jonas Salk, Steve Wozniak, George Washington Carver and Thomas Edison. Who knows how many kids on that level are sitting in classrooms right now?

But that’s not the only issue with the system. The way we educate our kids is largely antiquated. Children these days have the attention span of a mayfly. Standing by a chalkboard and talking isn’t the way to connect with them. They need to be involved in an interactive system that allows them to take part in their education. Education has to become a dialogue rather than a lecture; it has to become a two-way experience. Thankfully, many schools are gearing up with computer programs that do just that, but we have a long ways to go.

Parents also need to become more involved with the education of their kids. School isn’t a day care for your kids; it’s their job to go there and learn. You, as the boss of your kids, are responsible to see that they do just that – making sure their homework assignments are completed, being involved with their activities and taking an active part in the educational dialogue. Make appointments with your teacher and find out how you can help reinforce their lessons at home. Find out where your kids are having trouble and help them out with it. If you can’t do it, find a family member or friend who can. Send them the message that their education is important and that you’ll support them in getting the best one possible.

The problem also lies with the students. The attitude has to change. Too many students look at school as a waste of their time, which it is if they aren’t invested in their own education. I get that it’s boring, I also get that looking into the future is kind of a drag. However, if you don’t acquire the skills you need, finding work is going to be hellaciously difficult. It used to be that the uneducated could get jobs in factories and in manual labor that while not requiring even a high school diploma, at least paid enough so that you could live a relatively decent life. Those jobs are largely gone now, moved overseas to places where that kind of labor is much cheaper than it was here. Now you’re mainly qualified for things like fast food, retail, customer service, phone sales and the like. These are low-paying, menial jobs that generally you can’t support yourself on. And even the latter two of those jobs are also largely being offshored. Why pay an American nearly eight bucks an hour to do what someone in India or Ghana can do for a fraction of the cost?

The future is really grim for those who don’t get a college education. The need in America is for engineers, programmers, biotech and medicine. There are also needs for chemists, physicists and biologists. The world is geared towards technology – you can see it in your daily lives with your cell phones, tablets, laptops and smart cars. It only makes logical sense that the jobs are going to be in those fields. The thing is that American companies see that the education system isn’t generating enough people in the fields that they need and so are having to go elsewhere to find the people with the knowledge and the drive to be successful innovators in their fields which more and more means Asia, Brazil and Eastern Europe.

Our kids lack ambition and focus. They also lack inspiration. We find it far easier to buy ’em an X-Box and a TiVo and let them do their thing. We find ourselves increasingly looking for our own space while letting our kids have theirs. Unfortunately, that sends the message that they aren’t important, that we don’t give a crap about them. Why should a kid work their ass off for a generation who can’t be bothered to be invested in their future?

Changes need to be made. Our future depends on it but more importantly, our children’s and grandchildren’s future depends on it. We need to make the education a priority because you can be damn sure the Chinese, the Indians, the Brazilians – have already made it a priority of theirs.

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One Response

  1. I guess you get what you pay for. It will take one or two generations who become have nots to engender the drive and determination, enthusiasm for education.

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