The educational system needs a serious overhaul

There are at least 70 drawbacks that the educational system has today and they are being poorly addressed if at all due to a fear of change and an attempt to maintain the status quo despite a yearly drop in standardized test results. The long term result is that students are shortchanged, the educational system failing to equip them to find good-paying jobs upon graduation.

The problem is basically threefold. It is what students are being taught, how teachers are teaching, and the declining mental and physical health of the student population.

Due largely to rapid technological change, what is being taught in schools and colleges is not preparing students for the job market upon graduation and it is not surprising that more than 50% of students upon graduation can’t pay back their student loans and are moving back in with their parents for financial security. I could make a copious list of all the subjects which have little to do with the real world at large and offer poor job prospects upon graduation that also don’t encourage useful community participation in society at large.

Most schools are still teaching in a mass educational style of 25 to 30 students per classroom. Teachers are failing to efficiently teach a class with a wide variety of student learning speeds because of the mandatory promotion by age and not by proven ability.

Have you ever wondered why teaching excellence is rarely rewarded with larger and greater prestige? Because teachers’s unions promote mediocre teachers who get paid more but are hard to get rid of if they underperform in the classroom. Job security is the primary goal and student progress is of secondary concern. Where unions don’t exist, the good teachers are not rewarded enough monetarily so fewer education graduates want to work there because of much lower salaries.

You would think that by now the best and most charismatic teachers in a county, region, state, or nation would be televised or YouTubed for a classroom presentation to the students in a subject area. The local teachers would essentially be teachers’ assistants who would pause the video if a student in their classroom had an unanswered question. Upon answering the question, the local teacher could then resume the video. An excellent teaching presentation would be made for students even in poorer neighborhoods. This approach to teaching is still not the most efficient or best way of teaching because it is not individualized enough to address specific student needs but do you wonder why this was never tried successfully about thirty years ago when the technology was available? Yes, it would be a blow to a local teacher’s ego and the teacher’s assistant would probably worry about job security. Even this logical approach to improving teaching was probably too radical for the status quo teacher educational system and still is today.

There is a caveat to showing teaching videos as an only source of instruction which is especially true for elementary school students. Here the students are being socialized and performing elementary hand eye coordination routines which develop physical coordination so too many paused videos are not the solution to the problem of poor teaching.

Student quality is also rapidly declining. Drugs, dysfunctional parenting, peer pressure from bad role models, incompetent teachers who can’t maintain discipline, and poor mental and physical health from leading a sedentary unhealthy lifestyle are all contributory reasons why education is failing so many students.

Of the approximately 70 drawbacks of the current educational system I have identified, I include the most egregious ones here:

Financially poor neighborhoods across the nation are hotbeds of substandard education because few good teachers want to travel to poor and often crime-infested neighborhoods to teach and a further handicap is that there is not enough money for high quality educational resources.

Curriculum rigidity using outdated tools which are not aligned with real-world needs and a lack of flexibility in adapting to evolving social needs and technological changes.

Shortages of qualified teachers in certain subjects or regions.

Unequal access to technology, creating a digital divide and limited integration of technology into the learning process.

Insufficient focus on teaching practical life skills such as budgeting, applied basic math for financial literacy, etc.

Limited resources for gifted, talented, and high-achieving students.

Limited resources for personalized learning.

Limited education on effective communication and civic discourse. Challenges in promoting respectful dialogue and debate.

Minimal if any emphasis on moral or ethical principles such as the value of integrity and honesty and an emphasis on the desirability of smart hard work in the pursuit of goals in life.

The dysfunctional education system will be changed due to the fast advance of teaching technology and the days of the incompetent teachers are numbered.

Image: StockVault // CC0 public domain

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