Does the US Education System Need Reform?
Debate Rounds (4)
Here is how the rounds should go:
Pro: This blurb.
Pro: Why our education system needs to be reformed/what is wrong with our current education system.
Con: Why our education system should stay as it is/why reform wouldn't help/why reform would have negative effects. Respond to what pro said.
Pro: How our education system needs to be reformed, why it would fix the issues from round 2. Respond to what con said.
Con: How the fixes that the pro made in round 2 and 3 are false/wouldn't work/wouldn't help/would be detrimental to our education system. Respond to what pro said.
Both sides will conclude their arguments and combat everything said previously that they hadn't responded to before.
Thank you in advance for accepting this debate and thank you to everyone for commenting and voting. Best of luck.
The primary issue with the US public education system is the fact that it is based around testing. As things stand right now, a class usually teaches about a certain topic for 1-2 weeks. The students are then all handed a test regarding the information that they have been learning for the past 1-2 weeks. In theory this system works; however these tests usually test for a student's short term memory and ability to cram information into his/her head the night before the test. A history test, for example, will usually ask questions along the lines of "On what date was Napoleon crowned emperor of France?" or "Who was the general that lead the American forces in the battle of Bunker hill?". The inherent problem with this method of testing is that it only tests for a student's short term memory. Every student has around 6 classes just like this history class that follow the exact same method of teaching and testing, and when the testing cycle is over for each class, it begins anew with the next topic. This forces students to not actually learn the trivial material, but to cram it into their heads the night before so that they can do the best that they can on the test. More often than not, this means that the student will forget the information as soon as the test is over so that they can begin cramming for their next test. As mentioned previously, this cycle only tests for a student's short term memory and does not actually enable students to become educated individuals. While there are of course essays and projects that occasionally test for the right things in students, they are used much less often and weighted much less heavily than these aforementioned tests. This method of testing for a student's intelligence is both draconian and ineffective. The goal of sending students to school is not so that they can learn trivial facts that they shall soon forget, it is so that they will learn to work, think critically, and become helpful members of society. If we focus solely on their ability to cram information into their heads, and their short term memory, we can accomplish none of this. This testing cycle focuses only on factual information, not critical thinking. If our students are not taught to think critically and to analyze information, they cannot possibly help improve our society.
Another large issue with the US public education system is the information that we are providing our student with. In the first few grades we teach kids the basics of everything, basic math, basic English, basic history, and so forth. This gives them the fundamentals of most topics so that they can actually function in the modern day world and can proceed to learn more intricate topics as their school career advances. This, as the beginning of our current system, works just fine; however, it is our middle schools and high schools that really begin to screw things up. By the time a student has graduated from fifth grade, they more often than not have the basics of English, History, Math, and their other core topics down, but when they reach middle school and high school, they're forced to learn trivial information that they likely will never use. Algebra and geometry are both fine and dandy if you intend to go into a career of mathematics; however most people will never use them again once they have graduated from school. This creates a 7 year period in which students are learning material that they will soon forget and will likely never use again; a waste of their school careers. It appears that educators took the formula that works for the first five grade and attempted to implement it on a higher level. This creates a huge problem. This formula works for the first five grades because for the first five grades, students are learning the essential things that they need to know if they wish to thrive in modern day life. In middle school and high school though, the material that they are learning is, more often than not, trivial information that will never be used again. A common argument for this system is that it enables students to have "more doors open" by the time they reach college. If they learn as much as they can when they're younger, then they'll have more opportunities to to learn things that they actually want to learn when they get older. This is great in theory, but horrible in practice, and here's why. The formula that we use to teach students through middle school and high school is combined with the primary issue that I talked about before. Not only are students having information crammed down their throats that they likely will never use again, but they're being taught it in such a way that they aren't going to remember it in the future. If they were learning in a way in which they could retain the information that they are learning while also learning how to think critically, then yes, they would have many more opportunities open to them; however, this is simply not the case. And also, it is important to remember that we live in an age of information. Much of why this system was created originally was so that people in the 19th century could learn facts that they would otherwise be unable to learn; however, we live in an age in which nearly anything can be learned instantly by using the internet. We no longer need to learn every little fact, being that we can instantly look them up. Our time would be better served learning in different ways (which I'll talk about in round 2).
Yet another issue is the fact that we have bad and unqualified teachers. While we do have some great teachers, we simply don't have enough to teach all of the students that we have. Many teachers are unable to or are unwilling to teach their students in a way that would allow them to think critically or to actually learn the material that they need to know. Teachers often write tests that are far too difficult and don't test for what they should be testing for, which when are mixed with the previously mentioned issues, seriously screw up a student's ability to learn. This is reinforced by policies that are put in place by schools. Many schools follow systems in which they prioritize seniority over actual teaching ability or importance of topic. This leads to the horrible English teacher than has been working at the school for 50 years to be kept while the great new Math teacher is fired because the school needs to make cuts. In addition, public sector unions often prevent the firing of many teachers. This leads to schools either keeping bad teachers by their own volition, or keeping them because they're forced to by unions. All of these bad teachers add up to giving students poor educations. In addition, it prevents new ideas for how to teach students from being introduced, which means that the aforementioned issues become more and more ingrained into the way in which schools teach.
Yet another issue is overcrowded classrooms. We have classrooms filled with 30-50 students. This means that even good teachers have issues giving their students a proper education. If a teacher is unable to speak 1 on 1 to a struggling student, the student is going to have a hard to trying to overcome whatever thing is making learning difficult. In addition, having that many kids for a single teacher to try to control means that no matter what, some students are going to have to deal with a teaching method that doesn't suit them. This means that no matter how great a teacher is, he/she is going to have somewhere around 10-20 students in his/her class that are entirely unengaged because they're unable to actually connect with the teacher.
A rather new issue is the "No Child Left Behind Act". This act does two major things. Firstly, it forces schools to use standardized testing as a way to indicate how they're doing as a school. If a school's student do well on their standardized tests, they receive more funding. This is a horribly flawed system. It encourages schools to take time out of their normal curriculum to try to prepare kids for these tests. This means that what little learning kids are getting in their classes is being thrown away so that they can prepare for these tests. It worsens their education and provides faulty data to the government about what schools are actually providing a good education for their students. In addition, this also means that schools in poorer communities that are unable to do as well on these tests don't receive the proper amount of funding that they need should they want to properly educate their kids. The second issue with this act is that it forces schools to divert all of their funding towards the bottom of the class and to ignore the top. In order to ensure that their scores are good on these standardized tests, schools have to pour their funding onto the lower end kids. While it is a great idea to try to raise up the bottom a bit, it means that the smarter kids in the classroom are unable to actually reach their potential. If a smart kid is not attended to, they're more likely to be bored in class, meaning that they will not do as well as they could and will not learn as much as they can, which is a waste of their own potential.
There are quite a few other issues as well, but these are the main ones. They combine to form an ineffective, draconian schooling system that doesn't properly educate our students in a way that would allow them to become functioning members of society with lots of potential.
ManofFewWords forfeited this round.
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ManofFewWords forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Romanii 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: No arguments from Con.
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