Failing Schools in North America

I as a student have been fascinated with the education system in North America. The reason for this is because I do not believe that schools are pushing students hard enough when it comes to their work and learning new skills. This interest in the education system was sparked by information I received about the education systems in Europe, and I can genuinely say that I am jealous of their education systems. Though they have more work to do, it is beneficial and will carry them far in life. I can say that school work is not my favorite thing to do in the world but I can see the benefits of it. Schools in Europe have developed systems that push students to do their best; Students there have more requirements, such as learning a certain amount of languages by the end of high school. Would that not be beneficial to us in Canada, a country that has two official languages and prides itself in diversity. Why is that the North American education system does not seem to hold up against the systems in the eastern Hemisphere?

In a blog written by Michael Maloney who is an educator, researcher, writer and speaker with over 50 years of experience; he has statistics that say that 25% of North Americans are functionally illiterate. A student drops out of school every 16 seconds. 50+ percent of college students require remedial courses in math and reading. 50% of Americans cannot understand material written at an Eighth Grade level. North American students are in the bottom third of international tests of math and science. 500,000 manufacturing jobs remain unfilled in the U.S. because suitable candidates cannot be found.

Though Michael Maloney does believe that change is needed, he says that “Change is now nearly impossible for schools as systems. The layers of bureaucracy both inside the system, and outside the system renders any transformation largely unthinkable.” This system has been in play for far too long that many educators are not willing to do the work to change anything.

Geoffrey Canada, an education reformer and the head of the Harlem Children’s Zone, explains in a Ted Talk that he believes it is because educators, and education boards are holding onto a grand plan and no matter how many students are failing, they refuse to give up on this plan and therefore continue to use it. He later uses an analogy to explain that educators are using this plan because it is what’s best for them, not taking into account what is best for the students.

So what can be done? Geoffrey Canada says that innovation is the key. He says this for educators but I also believe it is for students as well. He goes on to say that educators need to try something knew and though he admits some of it will not succeed, it is better than the alternative which is to do nothing.

Work Cited:

Maloney, Michael. "Why Our Schools Are Failing: Part 1." Web log post. *Maloney Method*. 2012 Copyright Maloney Method, 03 Feb. 2012. Web.

Canada, Geoffrey. "Our failing Schools. Enough Is Enough!" TED. N.p., May 2013. Web. <