What’s Wrong With Our Schools

The longer I am in the financial education arena here in the United States, the deeper into trouble I see our education system getting in terms of truly educating our younger generation to be able to grow up and live the purposeful, happy lives they can dream up for themselves.

According to Wikipedia, the definition of education is…

“Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which the knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and or research. Education may also include informal transmission of such information from one human being to another.

From what I have personally witnessed, most of what our children are learning in school is rote knowledge. Our system is inherently lacking in the ability to teach skills, values, beliefs and habits that will help our kids lead those purposeful, happy lives as adults. It’s also lacking in its ability to teach leadership skills and produce our nation’s next general of leaders.

There are plenty of reasons why our education system is failing our children. Most of it stems from the Johnson Era’s initial Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The ESEA was a major federal law authorizing federal spending on programs to support K-12 schooling. ESEA is the largest source of federal spending on elementary and secondary education. It was actually part of the Johnson Administration’s War on Poverty.

We now know the law by its last iteration, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) which, by all accounts and standards, has LEFT all of our children behind in a big way. I’d like to encourage you to read more about the ESEA and NCLB so you understand what’s driving the bus our education system into the ground, and taking our youth with it.

The initial law didn’t actually support schooling. It supported the ‘opportunity’ for schooling of low income children. Although NCLB covers numerous federal education programs, the law’s requirements for testing, accountability, and school improvement receive the most attention. But the thing that really gets me is that while the law that was put in affect required states, school districts, and schools to ensure all students are proficient in grade-level math and reading by 2014, Wisconsin, and 42 other states have applied for waivers because they can’t meet this requirement!

Hello…does that mean only seven of our proud United States of America have actually succeeded in some level of education of its youth? Who knows but what it does mean is that something has gone terribly wrong.

What’s Basically Wrong with the USA’s School Systems

Our education system in the United States (for the most part I’m referring to public schools in general), is suffering because of the following basic issues:

  • We’re not preparing our youth for real life. We don’t teach them a trade or skills in order to make a living. We don’t teach them how to parent. They receive no information on how to grow up and have healthy, happy families. They don’t learn how to have healthy, long term relationships. They are taught to follow instead of encouraged to be leaders. They aren’t able to communicate and think their Facebook followers are their friend. They aren’t taught about money and investing. They have no idea how to be healthy for a long period of time. And that’s just a short list of the skills, habits, principles and concepts they need to be productive, happy human beings.
  • The next issue is the WAY we teach. Most education is boring, tightly controlled by testing and administrations that don’t really know HOW to teach except to stand up and lecture. Human beings learn better through visually learning and experiencing. And putting boys behind desks for hours at a time to take notes and memorize information is sheer torture for them. I consider this child abuse in a huge way.
  • Testing too much and too often. It is well known that testing stresses students out and doesn’t provide for or create a favorable learning environment.
  • Forcing the students to memorize and learn too much basic boring information that just isn’t relevant to them. Children will tell you flat out they have no idea why they are learning what they are learning in schools and parents and adults quickly admit that they learned most of what they really needed to be able to live their lives AFTER they left school.
  • Our children are being drugged to death and the culprit is mostly what we are feeding them. For a great book on how to fix most ADD and ADHD problems, do yourself a favor and read, Grain Brain by Dr. Perlmutter.
  • Technology has taken over. Everyone thinks that the computer is the best way to teach. IT ISN’T. The old fashioned way works better. And there are tomes of material on how inadequate learning from monitors actually is. And the sitting required to do so is incredibly unhealthy on top of it all. Note: I am regularly asked by kids and teens who take my financial education programs why all teachers don’t teach like I do. I tell them I really don’t know the answer to that question but to suggest to their teachers that they look up and learn how to use accelerated learning methodologies. They are really quick simple to learn and master!
  • Cell phones in the schools are causing problems right and left. Just talk to any administration who hasn’t banned them from their schools yet and you’ll find out what all the fuss is about.
  • There is little to no music used or taught, little to no physical education, rarely a shop class or home economics class, not enough physical activity in their days to get the kids brains and bodies moving so they are stimulated and excited about learning.
  • And lastly on this short list of what’s a very long list in reality, is our school’s and teacher’s inability to provide EFFECTIVE discipline.

The 12 Steps Needed to (Start to) Fix Our Nation’s School Systems

I, and a whole lot of other folks, could fix the nation’s school systems in a year if given the opportunity. Here are just SOME of the very simple steps I would take to fix our nation’s education system and make sure they were helping to inspire and create a whole lot more of what this country really needs…hundreds of thousands of profoundly bright, motivated leaders who want to see this country thrive again.

First and foremost, we have to figure out how to get the government out of the education process. Because everything comes back to the all-mighty dollar, schools will have to be funded equally in some other way. Our government doesn’t a clue how to run a country or keep its citizens safe and well fed, let alone know how to educate our children.

Then, I would do the following (all at once):

  1. Change the way teachers teach…make them all experts in accelerated learning techniques, remove the desks, add chairs and tables and outside areas to learn in as well as build gardens at every school. Ever schools with little to no room can use creative PVC gardens to grow healthy foods for the students and teach the students how to be self-sufficient.
  2. Remove most of the testing or better yet, make all testing open book so everyone learns together and learning is fun again.
  3. Put the kids in uniforms so they stopped judging each other based on what they were wearing.
  4. Ban cell phones from classrooms and schools to keep the kids from being constantly distracted and keep them from using photos and videos against their peers.
  5. Get their minds out of the computers and back into the real world.
  6. Let the teachers TEACH the way they feel is best for the kids they have in their current classrooms. Every classroom of students is different because you have different groups of kids.
  7. Make the kids clean up their own classrooms and school facilities so they learn not to mess up their own homes.
  8. Teach them information that’s relevant to their lives (as opposed to what they are learning now)
  9. Teach them all a trade or skill so they can leave school and support themselves and their families. If only 69.5% of our high school students go on to college (doesn’t mean they graduate), doesn’t it make more sense to make sure the other 30.5% learn how to support themselves?  You’d think the government would realize that the more kids who leave school with a valuable skill, the less adults end up on government assistance programs.
  10. Add physical education back into every day. We are fat and unhealthy and movement habits start young!
  11. Require kids to study music. It’s proven that it helps in every other area of their lives.
  12. Require entrepreneurship in high school for all students. It’s only through teaching and helping people to start successful new businesses that we provide our nation with a growing pool of great new jobs.

And those are just the things I would do to get the ball rolling! This is not rocket science as they say.

Share if you agree.