Under-Performing US Kids – Grave Concern For Parents & Educators

In the article titled “U.S. Teens Trail Peers Around World on Math-Science Test”, Washington Post elaborates the state of US students. CNN echoes the same in its article named “U.S. students behind in math, science, analysis says”.
These are just some of the articles that explain the growing concern among parents and educators in the United States. Isn’t it ironical that a country that is the most developed in the world fails to keep up with its counterparts as far as the school educational system is concerned?
A country’s future depends on the development of its children. Someone has rightly said “Our children are our only hope for the future, but we are their only hope for their present and their future”.
According to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), the scores and rankings of 12 nations in the 2003 International Mathematics Assessments for Grades 4 and 8, US did not stand anywhere close to the top
US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan did not shy from speaking the harsh truth in front of a room full of Math & Science experts of the National Science Board “We are lagging the rest of the world, and we are lagging it in pretty substantial ways, I think we have become complacent. We’ve sort of lost our way”.
Developing nations like South Korea showed better results in the tests. All these have not alarmed just the academia in the United States, but also the business world that has started questioning America’s future on account of its faulty education system.
What are the causes behind the under performance of US kids? Let us examine them one at a time.
Teaching Methodology
The way teachers teach Math and Science in schools in the US do not quite help kids develop interest in these subjects. Compared to Asian nations, US schools do not teach ‘real’ math until children reach upper grades.
Hatred for Math
Ask any child in the US about his take on Math and his expression would answer your question. American kids fear Math. Again, this is due to their disinterest in Math, which is due to ‘established prejudice’ and boring teaching techniques.
One Size Fit All approach of NCLB
Standardized tests have worsened education system in the US. Unless we try to access the child’s problem solving process, we cannot just measure his performance on the basis of some tests. Children, each one of them, have their own unique identity. Applying a one-for-all test pattern can NEVER improve the education system.
Blame-Games between educators and parents, educators and government make matter worse. It is time parents and educators sit together and ponder over the current scenario and work out ways to improve the same. Last but not least, let us not sing to the tunes of the No Child Left Behind Act. I am sure school administrators voice the same opinion. An Act that cannot do any good to the education system should not exist!

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