The Instigator
syoo
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
the-mad-ones
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

The United States education system should be changed.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/2/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,256 times Debate No: 3483
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (6)
Votes (5)

 

syoo

Pro

The United States seems so grand. Freedom, liberty, everything we need -- within our own country. America is not a country to be confined within itself. Let us take a look at the U.S. education. I will go over the five "main" courses.

In mathematics, the U.S. is failing. East Asian countries, namely Korea, Japan, etc., are consistently scoring higher in the International Mathematical Olympiad. Adapting the mathematics teaching to a system similar to the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or even Romanian will yield far better results, both in a short-term and a long one.

In English, COME ON! It is our NATIVE laguage, yet our high school students' average score on the SAT written portion is lower than that of Korea. Also, approximately 90% of our American society does not recognize correct English when they see it to China's 40% (Scientific American).

In science, I repeat my argument for mathematics. In the International Science Bowl, guess which country sends the most teams and wins the least medals! The grand ol' U.S. of A has that shameful award written in their resume. Similarly, at the International Physics Olympiad, the USA's 6 teams all lost to China's 3, Korea's 1, Japan's 1, Canada's 3, and Australia's 1 team to rank at an astonishing 10th Place.

In history, we are the weakest. Who was the 17th President? the 18th? Cartoon writers just poke fun at presidents while we do not even remember them. In Korea, where I lived up until college, we knew all of the kings, queens, and presidents, IN ORDER! The "shrimp between two whales" is exceeding America in their historically proficient students.

Now, in foreign languanges. We brag that we learn Spanish, French, you name it! In Korea, a branch in the government has a camp where students go to the country they are learning the foreign language about. If they do not understand, they fail their class. These seemingly frightening deeds are really the motivation to do better.

I rest my case, as the proposition side has clearly made its case.
the-mad-ones

Con

The instigator's argument rests primarily on scores or performance of American students relative to those from other nations with regards to testing. Conceptually, we could probably summarize this argument by stating the following: "The American educational system produces students who under-perform their peers in standardized testing and similar competitions. Therefore, this educational system should be modified in such a way that American students would become more competitive."

The problem with this argument is that it assumes that this type of testing is an indicator of educational value. It assumes that the purpose of education is to produce citizens with strong math skills, fluency in foreign languages, and 'quality' writing ability.

This assumption is misguided, due to the following questions/points:

1) What if the purpose of an educational system was to facilitate innovation and creativity, so that future citizens could produce ideas and services that improved processes and standards of living? The US is becoming more of a service economy every year. In such economies, it is possible that math skills are not essential for success. Helpful, but not necessarily a top priority.

2) What if secondary school writing skills do not correlate with strong business writing skills. Is it possible that grammar, vocabulary, and flow are less important in memos, reports, and emails when it comes to business? That style is less important than substance? That structure is rarely necessary when writing short essays and single paragraphs?

3) Although it might be considered arrogant to say so, English is one of the most widely spoken languages among first-world nations and top economies. Throw in another Germanic language (German, which is simpler structure-wise, and relatively easy to learn for native English-speakers), and that percentage increases. British and former British colonies learn it as a native tongue. Japanese and Western Europeans learn it during secondary education. With regards to American business and economy, it may not be essential to learn a foreign language. Perhaps resources are better spent elsewhere.

4) Test scores do not reflect sociability, creativity, or willpower. It is quite possible that the American educational system emphasizes and prioritizes these items over test scores and the other aforementioned skills. The US is a heavily profit-and-market-driven nation. If there is a way to achieve value from learning a specific skill set, then people would likely do so. A gradual movement away from a specific educational focus may simply be a reflection of deteriorating value.

In order to prove that the American educational system should be changed, I suggest that the instigator proves why a different educational system would have greater value, and how one would measure such value.
Debate Round No. 1
syoo

Pro

syoo forfeited this round.
the-mad-ones

Con

Hopefully the votes will be based on the better argument rather than each voter's beliefs...

I don't have much more to say besides that...
Debate Round No. 2
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by the-mad-ones 9 years ago
the-mad-ones
Don't get me wrong...I do believe improvements can be made, but financially more so than structurally. We could easily go the democratic capitalist route...Pay teachers more!
Higher salary can help improve quality of living for teachers. Intelligent, qualified people would begin entering the ranks. Some areas of New York pay 100K+ to many teachers. The quality of education in those areas is far superior to areas in the US where teachers are paid 30-35K (Yes there is a potential difference in cost of living, but not 200%!!!)
Posted by the-mad-ones 9 years ago
the-mad-ones
I'm actually surprised syoo received votes. The truth is that our educational system has not changed dramatically from 50 years ago. Culture has changed, traditions have changed, but not necessarily the educational system. If you were to put most older US citizens through these competency exams, they wouldn't fare any better than current students.
We became an international superpower, both economically and politically, due to many reasons, but educational superiority was not one of them. Pragmatism, entrepreneurial spirit, and innovation much more so than education. In fact, much of our scientific success occurred specifically due to the opening of our borders to refugees of Axis nations during WWII. Or the infamous "Brain Drain" which had been occurring during the latter half of the last century.
In order to prove that we SHOULD change the system, syoo would have to prove why it would be better to change to a different system. And since better is a relative term, values would have to be produced as comparators. Would people be happier? More successful? Healthier?
Or is this solely an argument based on pride and US-deprecation?
Posted by the-mad-ones 9 years ago
the-mad-ones
Hopefully the votes will be based on the better argument rather than each voter's beliefs...
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
So am I... but I prefer to call it "abolition of public schools."
Posted by polishgirlinar 9 years ago
polishgirlinar
I am completely for an education reform... I've been saying it for a while now!
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-change?

What an unusual proposition!
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Johnicle 9 years ago
Johnicle
syoothe-mad-onesTied
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Vote Placed by Olhando 9 years ago
Olhando
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Vote Placed by the-mad-ones 9 years ago
the-mad-ones
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Vote Placed by HadenQuinlan 9 years ago
HadenQuinlan
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Vote Placed by polishgirlinar 9 years ago
polishgirlinar
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