The American School System: A Rough Road Ahead

The American School System: A Rough Road Ahead

Length: 1168 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The American School System: A Rough Road Ahead


There are many similarities and few differences between E.D. Hirsch’s “Why America’s Universities Are Better than Its Schools,” and Benjamin Barber’s “America Skips School.” The main purpose of both articles is to address the fact that Americans fall far behind in the scholastic accomplishment of their young students. Mutually, the two authors agree that American K-12 students learn more each day outside of the classroom than they do inside the classroom, and that the schools need serious reform. Barber focuses his attention on the financial situation of the schools, as well as the political standpoint that the government just does not care, and the American government has simply given up on its children. Hirsch tackles the idea that if our K-12 schools stay with their current level of teaching, it is only a matter of time before the institutions of higher learning will no longer be considered among the best in the world. At the present time, it seems as though America’s youth have been placed into a category for which they are no longer looked upon as a bright future for our nation as was considered in the past, as Barber has commented, “Jefferson thought schools would produce free men: we prove him right by putting dropouts in jail” (159).

Children today are becoming more street-smart, and feel that there is no need for true knowledge. For example, “Knowledge is considered less desirable than more ‘practical’ all-purpose goals such as ‘higher order skills,’ ‘self-esteem,’ ‘metacognitive skills,’ and ‘critical-thinking skills” (Hirsch 144). They see it as much more important to look at what society rewards its people with, and that seems to be anything but a good academic background. In today’s culture, the people who are praised in America are the people who are able to make millions of dollars by performing music, acting in front of the camera, playing a sport, and unfortunately in some neighborhoods, selling drugs. Barber concurs that “When the society undoes each workday what the school tries to do each school day, schooling can’t make much of a difference” (157). Our students think in terms of what is going to bring them to the peak of the success mountain in this great motherland where everyone has equal opportunity.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The American School System: A Rough Road Ahead." 123HelpMe.com. 07 Apr 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=21748>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

My Experience At My High School Essay

- Balance. A word I’ve heard so much once I began high school…balance your schedule, balance your academic and social life, balance time with family and friends , balance your budget…whew. It can be exhausting finding balance. I believe this element of having balance is the key to achieving success academically and personally. Looking at my high school years as a whole, I would say they’ve been successful. I’ve been blessed to have experienced many valuable elements of life, by the ripe old age of 17....   [tags: Leadership, High school, Academia, The Tough]

Research Papers
1145 words (3.3 pages)

The Prison System Negatively Affects The Economy On An Economic Standpoint

- The United States has more incarcerated than anywhere else in the world despite only having 5 percent of the world’s population. This dramatic increase is due to several reasons such as population increase and newer/harsher laws. The prison system has a few negatives than the positives, although the positive is extremely powerful. The prison system positively affects the economy on an economic standpoint. however, has some negative effects such as racial profiling and there are some things that are not able to be controlled such as the increase in general population....   [tags: Prison, African American, Incarceration, Race]

Research Papers
1267 words (3.6 pages)

High School Is A Rough Place Essay

- High school is a rough place and in order to succeed you need a lot of influences and traits in your life. Being successful in school involves more than intelligence, you also need family, friends, a good attitude and future plans. Without these traits high school can be difficult. Not everyone has these traits handed to them, for some have to work for success. Life is like a deck of cards not everyone is handed the same hand of cards, but even the worst cards can win. Therefore, based on my skills and influences in my life, I will be highly successful in my high school career....   [tags: High school, College, Help me, Playing card]

Research Papers
1215 words (3.5 pages)

Rocky Road School District Essay

- The main challenge that Rocky Road School District is currently facing is the several lawsuits from former parents and staff. As well as the lack of team work that is shown within the district. Having a meeting with all Principals in the Rocky Road district is a most. Negotiation of teacher’s contracts and the hiring of new qualified teachers which will help assist the testing scores for the district. Giving parents a sense of comfort that their children are being well educated is a key challenge....   [tags: Education, High school, School, Teacher]

Research Papers
1164 words (3.3 pages)

A Rough Patch for School Music Programs Essay

- ... Schools now take more priority in improving students’ achievement in “test” subjects, standard subjects that appear in standardized tests. Administrators act under the pressure to improve core subject scores. It begins in elementary school, in which 62% of school districts reported extending English and math class by an average increase of 42%. 44% of schools have cut time from other subjects, such as arts and music, by an average of about 30 minutes a day. In many high schools, the number of music classes and electives have been limited to provide more room for test subjects....   [tags: band, testing, academics]

Free Essays
583 words (1.7 pages)

Description of School Currency System Essay

- How do students become financially prepared for the real world. Students go through school for quite a few years, they learn reading, math, science, etc. But there is not a finance class to teach students the basics of finance. Now you might think that students wouldn't take the class. That is why you could implement a school currency system. A currency system would be helpful in many ways, although many people are against it, because there could be some flaws in the system. Helping students improve grades, improving daily attendance, teaching important life skills, and improving a students level of responsibility, are reasons why a currency system should be implemented in school....   [tags: school currency, currency system, personal finance]

Research Papers
764 words (2.2 pages)

Rewards Of School Uniforms : Rough Draft Essay

- Rewards of School Uniforms: Rough Draft Thoughts of wearing school uniforms as a kid could be seen as uncool, but to some kids it’s seen as unity, for some parents it’s seen as financial relief, and for others it’s a saving grace. Wearing school uniforms in public schools has numberless amounts of positive benefits both at school and at home. Students that have to wear school uniforms tend to focus and behave better, making the school safer for both students and staff. Parents get to save money by not buying the latest coolest trends, parents also get to show students about giving back by donating gently used uniforms to the school....   [tags: Education, Dress code, Uniforms, Clothing]

Research Papers
1037 words (3 pages)

The Dysfunctional High School Education System Essay

- In America, teenagers are taught not to question or object to what is going on in the world. Schools take away teens First Amendment rights by not allowing them to have free speech and voice their opinions. The education given to them is censored and limited, not allowing them to see and know the truths behind everything. By doing this, teenagers are being reared to grow up blind like the current generation of adults. The people of America are failing to see the country as it truly is. This generation of teenagers are this country’s future and will soon be depended upon to be leaders....   [tags: American Education System, Schools, Religion]

Research Papers
904 words (2.6 pages)

The School System For Public Schools Essay

- We frequently hear older generations complain about our generation. But the thing is, prior generations have set up our whole structural system. As early as 6 years old we have been a part of the regulations, schedules, and consequences that they put into place. But, what if that’s the point at issue. However, it turns out, our schooling system for public schools has not changed in a 100 years, according to Encounter Books. “When our public education was created in the 19th century, its primary goal was to produce obedient factory workers to fill the new jobs being created by the industrial revolution....   [tags: Education, High school, School]

Research Papers
976 words (2.8 pages)

The Road to Coorain Essay

- The Road to Coorain   Have you ever wondered how much your up bringing and early family life affected the person you are. Jill Ker Conway, in her autobiography The Road to Coorain, both literally and figuratively maps out her early life, placing specific emphasis on geographic location and the importance it made to her as an adult. Her life as a young girl in the western outback shaped her view toward the world, just as our backgrounds have shaped who we are.   After Conway's trip to England she states that,   It took a visit to England for me to understand how the Australian landscape actually formed the ground of my own consciousness, shaped what I saw, and influence...   [tags: Road to Coorain Essays]

Free Essays
498 words (1.4 pages)

Related Searches

According to Barber, “…we have taught them all too well: there is nothing in Homer or Virginia Woolf, in Shakespeare or Toni Morrison, that will advantage them in climbing to the top of the American heap” (157). In addition to adults advocating this type of hero worship to American students, it is unfortunate that these students spend twice as much time in front of the television than they do receiving instruction in the classroom, admiring these heroes.

Hirsch brings up a very compelling argument in his text when he states, “In fact, it is easier to create a good K-12 system than a good university system…” (144). If it is indeed easier to construct a K-12 system in our country, then we have to ask ourselves: why is no action being taken? Here is just one simple way to bring United States performance up to par: “American children are in school only about 180 days a year, as against 240 days or more for children in Europe or Japan” (Barber 154). Increasing the number of schools days will not by itself increase American intelligence, but it is quite clear that America’s standards to graduate are not quite up to par either. This is obvious since America’s top universities must have learning centers for students to attend who have not mastered the basics of reading and writing, or mathematics. Barber brings a very good point to attention when he says, “Perhaps most important, we’d raise standards and make teachers and students responsible for them. There are two ways to breed success: to lower standards so that everybody “passes” in a way that loses all meaning in the real world; and to raise standards and then meet them, so that school success translates into success beyond the classroom” (161). The attitude of raising the standards is exactly what America needs to be at the same level of competition as every other top academic nation around the world. Teachers sit back and coddle their students too much, letting them slide by in a way that is only hurting them in the real world. American schools can not be so lenient on their underachievers, rather hey need to step up to the plate and hold them back from college if need be.

Perhaps the most dismaying opinion is that America has just all together given up on the kids. “…the reason for the country’s inaction is that Americans do not really care about education – the country has grown comfortable with the game of ‘let’s pretend we care’” (Barber 154). How could the United States let its citizens be looked upon this way? As a country that is admired by so many others for its great accomplishments, it is letting the most important accomplishment slide right through its fingertips – the education of its future. The fact is that the government is not financially backing education to its full potential. “Only 5 or 6 percent of the nation’s education budget is federally funded…Most agree that although money can’t by itself solve problems, without money few problems can be solved. Money also can’t win wars or put people in space, but it is the crucial facilitator” (Barber 160). When suburban schools are getting twice the amount of money as inner-city schools, there is a major dilemma. If teachers were to be offered higher wages, it may attract a more intellectually-driven group of teachers, thereby providing better educational services.

In closing, Barber’s beliefs mirror my experience in the American educational system. His views, on how underachieved our educational system is, parallel my encounters with the structure of schooling. In high school, we are given standards everyday that we must meet in order to be considered successful, but the truth is; these standards are ineffective in preparation for colleges and universities. He is absolutely right in his belief that to breed true success, standards must be raised, and every student is required to achieve them. Also, when Hirsch proclaims that it is easier to create a well rounded K-12 system, his opinion is very valid as well, because that is where the problem lies. Obviously, the professors in the American universities are more inspired in some ways to give their students in-depth knowledge to set higher standards, however, it is disturbing to know that some high school students still enter America’s most elite universities through remedial processes, because it might upset the world-wide standards set by American universities.

Works Cited


Barber, Benjamin R. “America Skips School.” The McGraw-Hill Reader. 8th ed. Ed. Gilbert H. Muller. New York: McGraw Hill, 2003. 153-162.

Hirsch, E.D., Jr. “Why America’s Universities Are Better than Its Schools”

The McGraw-Hill Reader. 8th ed. Ed. Gilbert H. Muller. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. 143-145
Return to 123HelpMe.com