Inadequate Secondary Education in the United States

explanatory Essay
923 words
923 words

Inadequate Secondary Education in the United States ‘Tis education forms the common mind; Just as the twig is bent the tree’s inclined. Pope – Moral Essays Two years ago, I used to work at a photo shop in downtown Philadelphia. Except for me, the only foreigner, there were five Americans working there. Once, we talked about the American life in the beginning of the twentieth century. To support my opinion, I used an example from a short story called “The Gift of the Magi” by a famous American writer O. Henry. It was a very shocking experience for me to find out that nobody knew who O. Henry was or what he had done for the world literature. Since then, I met a lot of American people with a lack of basic cultural knowledge and, at the same time, with an outstanding professional expertise. Very quickly, I figured out that the root of this problem is in the secondary school education. The American secondary school pays too little attention to producing students with well-rounded education substituting the “what” with the “how”. Placing an undue emphasis on the methods of teaching and studying (the “how”) at the expense of the material being taught and studied (the “what”) makes the choice of what to teach of secondary importance. A weak and disintegrated curriculum is a source of another problem. Excessive attention to the American culture and inadequate attention to the culture of the rest of the world lead American people to a false confidence in the superiority of the American culture. However, the fact is that American “high school graduates are ranked low compared to other countries” (Bowsher, 146). Many people may say that I exaggerate the problem, because the United States is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and this fact is directly associated with a quality education. As to some lack of cultural education, they say, it can be filled at the higher educational level in college. Thus, these problems cannot be so global. Unfortunately, they are just so global. Evidently, the college education in the United States retains high standards that enable the U.S. to maintain its technology at the cutting edge. But students coming from high schools are often not ready for a more advanced study and must waste their time in noncredit courses (Burstein, par. 1). Alexander Burstein, an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the Iowa State University, describes his view of this situation:

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that it is time to open the eyes to the modern world and develop a new "world-class curriculum" for use in all american schools.
  • Explains ravitch, diane, and chester e. finn jr. what do our 17-year-olds know?
  • Explains that american high school graduates are ranked low compared to other countries.
  • Describes the logical conclusion based on statistics of the national assessment of history and literature.
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