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BOZTEPE: US education is in need of renovation

Opinions Column: Kaanotations


The United States is the place to be for a college education, but the same cannot be said about their primary schools. From state to state, and in some instances even town to town, what material is being taught, the duration of what is being taught and the level of difficulty of what is being taught differs from district to district. As a nation, we must pinpoint and refurbish our education system to compete with the new successors of education in the world. To do that, we must distinguish the main factors that correspond with the drastic drop of the level of education in the United States.

For starters, our public schools are just overcrowded. The smaller the class, the easier it is for students to have more one-on-one moments to break down any questions they have. Sadly, especially in more populated states, most of the classrooms exceed the normal capacity of the room. Many children are known to have short attention spans as it is, but having an overfilled classroom does not help their case at all. This is also correlated to the fact that school spending is inactive. The K-12 public school spending programs are not used to individualize what most students need on a day to day basis, such as after school studying programs or after school buses. This also has to do with the fact that each time a new president is in office, education reforms can completely change the educational system as seen currently under President Donald J. Trump.

This causes a lack of innovation by teachers since they have very strict guidelines to fulfill their yearly syllabi in which they are forced to teach all of the material written before the year ends. Teachers tend to then move along the material faster in hopes to finish the school year on time with the syllabus they are provided. Sadly, many students cannot keep up with that pace as some subjects are more demanding than others.

Also, with the recent spur of technology being used in classes, the rise of academic dishonesty is rising dramatically with multiple sources of answer sheets, study guide answers, texting/emailing answers to one another — the choices are endless. Teachers must provide more in-class debate topics, essay questions and stronger analysis questions to counterbalance the probability of a student having the possibility of cheating. Technology can be a fantastic tool to further students' education in multiple forms, but it must be used properly to do so. Technology in early child development and younger age groups can prove to be even more worrisome as they might try to play online games rather than look up and try to understand what the teacher is saying. School administrations must create locks that make students stay locked onto one website, restrict some websites and apps and explain the importance of all of this to students in assemblies.

On the topic of technology, younger students have more access to technology than ever before. They are able to gain more knowledge and free information than those before the iPhone era. We should be embarking on this situation as an advantage, not a disadvantage. This situation could be much better if parents became more involved. Parents must know when to and when not to expose their children to technology. I am personally an advocate for children to see technology, not in a way that will shut kids up, but in a way where they can play educational games with them too. The child will have the benefit of playing a game while learning without even knowing about it.

Also, our nation does not know how to handle high school dropouts or those who fall from school to prison. These schools tend to be more urban and have a lower budget, which is problematic because there is not always enough counseling or teachers that notice a student is not on the right path. These students simply need more resources and support. If their area is as extremely poor, then there should be programs to support these students both in class and after school. National funding should be put forward to these areas, in return, we would have less dropouts, less students taking the wrong road and more graduates in both high school and college.

Most of the reasons I have stated above are sadly very long term and recognized issues that the United States has been facing. From the gender gap to wrongly funding public-school education, it is clear that we must revamp our education system if we want to keep up with the new leaders of education in the world. Most Americans boast that we have the best colleges in the world. If that is the case, then why are our public schools lagging so far behind. The answer you are now looking for can be found in nationwide test scores, college entrance exams and most of the grades first-years in college receive. Those few counties that are in a good education state with good public funding are far and few, but these points still apply to them since teachers are still teaching an overly condensed syllabus while technology is still improperly used to state a few examples. Changing the education system is no easy task, but it is up to us to contact our legislators and share our stories, our problems and what we hope to change or else they can forget our vote. Be vocal and fight to move forward.

Kaan Jon Boztepe is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore double majoring in philosophy and history. His column, "Kaanotations," runs on alternate Fridays. 

*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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