Academic adversity in America


Nicholas James Antone

The drop-out rate for high school students is increasing

Recent surveys show that American education is mediocre at best. In the most general categories of math, science, and reading, 20 other countries exceed the United States in performance.

Reasons for this are many, but to me, the most significant sign of a country’s strength is how they educate their youth. Therefore, American education needs some serious reform.

Perhaps the root of these problems stems from the fact that being smart or intelligent as an adolescent is not something that is rewarded in America. Instead, the ability to kick or throw a ball is glorified with full-ride scholarships to top universities.

Other countries with better education systems don’t seem to run into this issue. In fact, those in the top tier of their classes in terms of academics are seen as the “popular” kids so to speak. Although the term “nerd” itself seems to lose its violent nature towards an individual as the years go by in America, it might be too late in terms of one taking his or her education seriously.

When it comes down to it, the value of education itself is solely based on how it can teach individuals to get high paying jobs and it has absolutely nothing to do with actually learning. Capitalism has the minds of youth in America on a tight leash- one that may or may not truly be effective.

Maybe the fact that teachers get paid such a meager salary has a lot to do with why the U.S. is struggling in education. For instance, countries that rank higher than the U.S. in these numbers such as South Korea and Germany could have teacher salaries at or more than $25,000 a year.

Now of course a lot of teachers truly teach for the value of education. However, I’m willing to bet that this number would increase with increased pay. Do you think there would be as many doctors as there are if doctor’s salaries were not six digit numbers? This logic could easily be applied to teachers and their salaries.

In no way am I saying that all of the youth in America are doomed because we are ranked 20th instead of 1st. Some are though, and our government should be taking simple steps to slowly improve education. The number of teens dropping out of high school is growing tremendously. Without an outstanding education and the ability for everyone to think for himself or herself, how can we truly say that we live in a democratic society?