At President Obama’s recent visit to a Brooklyn high school he has praised in the past for their innovation in education, he made some enlightening comments about why he believes the U.S. is struggling both economically and educationally. His speech was centered on the belief that in the past, the U.S. did not have many competitors in the economic arena. But, with recent financial booms in many countries, Americans must work harder and smarter to gain an edge in this new global economy.
Every country has intellectually talented people, but without proper education, their abilities were unable to flourish. With more financial stability, however, such countries are not only able to better educate their citizens, but provide industry jobs for them afterward. Without the ability to dominate the rest of the world in production and manufacturing, we, as a country, must work harder to compete than was previously required.
The U.S. still educates children the same way it has since World War II. With countless technological advancements and new theories about learning that have been discovered since that time, there are many changes that must be made. President Obama believes that some of the primary adjustments that are needed include:
- government funded preschool for 4-year old children
- providing every student with high-speed internet access
- lowering the cost of college so it is affordable for every family
- restructuring the skills taught in high-schools to better suit the world today
- investing more in good teachers
While I believe all of these improvements would help, it is still up to the individual students, and their parents, to educate themselves to the best of their abilities.
We all know that many times, schoolwork is learned simply for the purpose of taking a test. After the test is taken, the material is forgotten forever and the student then moves on to the next subject. When this process is repeated over and over again, the student will be making good grades, and it will appear as if the education system is working. In reality, though, instead of the material being learned, it is only being memorized for a short period of time. I believe that the key to improving the education of America’s youth is providing them with motivation and excitement for the subject that will cause them to actually gather knowledge they can carry into their future careers.
One of the things that makes P-Tech, the Brooklyn high school where President Obama delivered his speech, so different, is that it offers its students the ability to earn an associate degree when they graduate. The school offers a six year program that allows students to gather all the skills they need for a career in the technology industry, or a base of knowledge they can use to move on to even higher education.
P-Tech is a great beginning to education reform. This type school can not only be used to educate youth in the field of technology, though, it can be expanded to any area of study. More specialized education at an earlier age will allow students to focus on subjects they are interested in so that they will remain more engaged.
Along with mandatory preschool at the age of four and granting high school students access to classes at online schools, this type of reform allows America’s youth to earn an education faster than before. Combined, these new ideas in education will create more competitive opportunities with those students in other countries who are doing the same.