Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More on "Stupid in America"

I still find responses to this special all over the internet. It seems like a lot of people out there want to defend our system and be offended by the title. They need to hold on and get a hold of the data. You can hate John Stossel, he is kind of annoying, but you can't disregard the data -- all of which can be verified through your own quick internet research.

Then, there is the statistic I posted recently about our increasingly lower graduation rate. Isn't that data enough that we need to do something about our system.

What about the fact that countries with far fewer resources are surpassing our efforts to educate? This is the United States of America, land of opportunity, home of the free and the brave ... where is our patriotism?

Finally, people all over the U.S. get up in arms over some of the most mundane issues. What kind of dog (I'm guilty of being obsessed with this as well) is President-Elect Obama going to buy? Madonna is getting divorced, my god! Yet, no one cares about the youth we are leaving behind.

Maybe it is just that the problem is so vast and overwhelming that the task of reforming our high school system is simply too daunting. I'm willing, but I'm just a teacher ... what do I know?


  1. First of all, don't believe in all the data other countries provide. Because of national pride, they may or may not provide true data. Secondly, the biggest problem is NCLB.I have seen so many kids that are talented working with their hands, and love to do that! Yet, they are "pushed" into learning something they hate-literature, physics...I really think that they vocational and technical schools should be not be "alternatives" but really a choice they can be proud of. Look at how much plumbers, painters, roofers, mechanics are making-and love working with their hands.

  2. You are so right about the data from other countries. I hadn't thought of that, but, to my credit, I looked at data beyond that which John Stossel provided. As soon as I have another chance, I will try to compile some of that on here. The data is there ... (but you are right to say that we need to "take it with a grain of salt").

    I absolutely agree that NCLB is a huge problem. I absolutely agree that students need options. If you think of it on the smallest scale, anyone can see this is true. When I give students a project and they are asked to choose from several option, suddenly their enthusiasm is evident. Take that and apply it on the broad scale, and we will see a difference. Those trades that you listed are not only profitable but vital for our economy and our society. We need students with appropriate skill sets to be learning these trades. Talk about self-esteem boosts ... there you go! Having students learn and profit at task for which they have a natural aptitude ... that's what so many of our lost youths need.