By Sean Scarpiello
Why do countries educate their citizens? In fact, it would probably be easier to not educate an entire population. The reasons that so many governments spend hundreds of millions dollars each year is not only to advance the human race’s technology and living circumstances, but also to lead future generations. We educate our children so they can uphold the same US government that is viewed as the leader of the world. Ever since the end of World War II the United Sates has been regarded as one of the world’s superpowers. But how long can the US sustain such a title? Over recent years, it seems as if the US hasn’t exactly dropped its status, but rather stayed the same and allowed foreign countries to advance. New power houses, such as India, China and South Korea have slowly emerged. But what is the quickest advancing country, South Korea, doing right which the US seems to be doing wrong? The article “USA could learn from South Korean schools” (link below) offers many statistics and insight on what exactly the US is getting wrong.
South Korea’s government runs their schools in a much more efficient manner when compared to the US. When distributing money for schools, South Korea evenly and equally spreads out their money. In the meantime, the US government gives more money to the schools with higher graduation rates. This only makes it difficult for cities with low graduation rates to improve education. Plus, it drags the rest of the country’s educational and world status with it.
The American Dream may possibly be this country’s down fall in the education field. In South Korea, parents will do anything to get their children to colleges and universities. Parents will even spend as much as 1/3 of their yearly income on their children’s education. In the US, parents will go out and buy the latest big screen TV or stereo system, regardless of the fact little Max is flunking his math class. For the US to remain a major superpower in the world, it is going to take much more than government action. Americans are going to have to do their part as well. If we use our resources efficiently, we could maximize the amount of class instruction for each dollar that is spent. This could even be as simple as having the upperclassmen of elementary, middle, and high schools tutoring the students below them. Each hour can be counted as volunteer work which looks great on any resume.
The last aspect of South Korean’s education system was their (on time) graduation rate of 93%. Too many American students just drop out, whereas South Koreans rarely drop out, if at all. The fix for this could be making the option of dropping out illegal. We could also raise age of being able to drop out of school. At age 18, students are just going through the motions until they can be on their own. So by making the age 20 or 21, students will most likely choose just to do the work and get through so they are not in high school during their twenties. For the US to maintain its role as a leading power in this world, it has to change.