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Monday, March 15, 2010 1:14 PM

Stupid In America; What's Wrong with the U.S. Education System?

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The following video should be required viewing for every member in Congress, every teacher in the United States, and every parent with children in public education.

The video is 40 minutes long but I assure you that watching it will be time well spent. The video compares the U.S. public education system with that in Europe, and with magnet and charter schools vs. districts where there is no competition. The results are shocking. Please watch ....

Stupid In America

Here are a couple of select quotes:

  • From a parent: "I would not send my kids to an American public school, not even for a million dollars."

  • From a student: "I think it's a pity that American children don't have the same opportunities and the same choices that we have"

Parental Participation Is The Key

Here is an email from "Concerned Parent" about the U.S education system.

Concerned Parent Writes ...
Hey, Mish. Love your blog. Apologize in advance for the length.

I have two children, 7 & 10 in Clear Creek ISD public schools in League City, TX (near Houston). I have coworkers that live in Friendswood, Texas, which has a higher income (according to demographics). Many of my coworkers’ children are already in high school or college from many of the surrounding areas. As it stands today, my kids go to school with about 25% of the students at or near poverty.

As a parent with a vested interest in my children’s education, I’ve asked and read a lot about what it takes to get a great education. What I see and hear that make a difference hinges on one thing: parental participation. With it, the children succeed above average and in the range of their individual potential. Without it, they struggle or fail.

At my kids’ school, they have “gifted and talented” classes. Only six students from five grades made the cut. Both of my kids did. Yes, they’re smart, but they apply themselves, learn at home, explore ideas with us, etc. In short, my wife and I are committed to learning and teaching by example. We participate in the PTA. We attend the literacy and math nights with our kids. We talk regularly with the teachers to find areas to emphasize where the kids are struggling. We are active and engaged. And so are the kids.

I am convinced parental participation is the key. Every kid with a parent that shows up at the school activities with their kid has a kid performing at par or better. Kids do not have the discipline to force themselves to do what’s good for them in the long run. In fact, their brains are not fully developed in the frontal lobes until their twenties, which is the area that comprehends and acts with adult reasoning.

If the parent is not participating, the kids stand little chance. Even 10:1 student to teacher ratios, kids will fail without parental concern.

Thus, when you see a kid that escapes dire childhood circumstances, it’s usually the result of an influential adult that cared far beyond what’s typical for that dismal environment.

I think Bill Cosby got it right a few years ago. If the parents create a bad environment, set bad examples, and cannot succeed themselves, the vast majority of kids will follow a similar path with similar results.

Concerned Parent
League City, Texas
What's Wrong With Public Education?

  • No competition, no choices
  • Students locked into districts
  • Union work rules make it impossible to get rid of bad teachers, even teachers sending sexually explicit material to the kids
  • Lack of parental involvement
  • System geared to make money for administrators and teachers not teach kids
  • Money wasted on posh buildings for administrators, not spent on teaching kids

The video addressed each of those issues in detail.

Bush attempted to address the problem by throwing money at it with a catchy sounding program "No Child Left Behind". The result was another 8 years of failing to address the real issues.

Now President Obama wants to parlay Bush's mistakes by throwing still more money at the problem. Worse yet, Obama wants to waste money at every level. Please see For Profit Schools Turn Students Into Debt Zombies; It's Time To Kill The Entire Pell Grant Program for details.

However, lack of money is not the problem, so additional funding cannot possibly be the solution. In the meantime, public school children in districts with no choices continue to fall behind the rest of the world, President Obama and most of Congress are clueless, and the teachers' unions for the most part just don't give a damn.

If you are a parent with children in public schools, or even if you don't and you simply want to help, please email this post on to anyone who will watch it, and have them do the same. Also please email this post to your congressional representative. Hopefully it will sink in.


The Email above from "Concerned Parent" was written by James Magnant. I do not use real names unless I ask. I asked yesterday, but just now got a reply. Thanks James ...

"Jonathan " Writes
The world's average school year is 200 days per year. In the United States it is 180 days; in Sweden it is 170 days; in Japan it is 243 days.

Anyone who proposes to raise academic standards in this country who does not admit the absolute necessity of American kids attending school at least as much as kids from elsewhere is either a fool or a liar.

Very truly yours,

Add that to the list of problems, but it was mentioned in the video. Of course the unions in the U.S. would want to be paid for every additional second given to the kids.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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