[PART 1] What if Education is Back-Ass-Wards?

Our educational system is setup to make you or your child fail and I’m here to say it’s outdated and back-ass-ward.

Now, that’s a bold statement, but if you’re a parent reading this and ever felt like you’re in a rat-race of life or spinning on that hamster wheel only to go… nowhere, you need to keep reading.

There’s a reason you can’t seem to “get ahead in life” and feel behind the eight ball, and it has to do with our educational system.

More on you and that in a moment.

If you’re a parent of a child and you’ve experienced what I call Homework Hell, that frustrating moment before dinner when even you don’t understand your fourth graders math worksheets, well, keep reading.

If you’re a homeschool parent who’s taken your child out of the public or private school system or never allowed them to access it, keep reading.

You never know when your child might one day grow two heads and want to go to high school for the experience of Friday night football games, homecoming, OMG-prom and other ah-mazing activities that frankly have nothing to do with learning but take up a majority of thought and time in the minds of students, teachers and the administration.

And yes, before you take that deep breath and turn blue, there is good to be had in all those things. Socialization, teamwork and such, but those things can be and should also be found more prevalently in classroom learning, as well as on the field or school auditorium or local ballroom.

I have found first hand, as a teacher and then as the owner of a tutoring center where I saw hundreds and then thousands of children, extracurricular activities and sports are often seen as more important than a well-rounded education. And if you look for a moment, you might see the same.

When art, music and even physical education are cut from the curriculum are cuts made to the athletic department to match? When parents, teachers and students fundraise in the community for dances and prom and social events, are the same fundraising activities happening to provide cool resources to actually implement and do learning inside the classroom?

And of course you can find examples of yes, but what is the majority? What is the norm within our schools, not within just the wealthiest of communities?

And that’s just one examples. So yes, this is totally a debatable topic and I’d love your thoughts, but first, do yourself a favor and keep reading because if you take offense at what I said about social activities and athletics in school being more important at times than education, well, you’re gonna miss the meat of this article - which just might have an impact greater than you or I could have imagined.

(And by the way, how not to take offense should be one of the first ways of being our children should learn upon entering school. But that’s a side topic for another day.)

If you’re a student, currently in school, you really need to read this as YOU’RE LEARNING THINGS THAT WILL KEEP YOU STUCK FOR LIFE. Unless you’re fortunate enough to unlearn them!

If you’re a teacher, well, buckle up buttercup. This might be a bumpy ride but I promise you that this article is NOT about teacher bashing. It’s not about blame and it’s not about you - but for you.

Because, look, as a teacher, chances are you got into this job to help kids. Period. And paid summer break, of course!

Inside joke, friend. There’s little money in teaching in the classroom and most teachers I know work through summer break or risk eating Ramen noodles and not making their student loan payments. Been there, done that. Can I get an Amen!?!

And it’s okay, Mom, Dad, Becky-Sue and Mrs T.

We don’t know what we don’t know that we don’t know.

Say that three times real fast.

But it’s true.

Let me repeat that as it’s so important and actually should be one of the first things children learn.

You don’t know what you don’t know that you don’t know.

Here’s what you perhaps don’t know:

- no matter if you’re currently in school,

- in the classroom or

- dreading another homework battle that’s sure to happen or

- what mood your child will enter the house in after school or

- if you have a smidgen of doubt about keeping your child at home and teaching them when you feel totally overwhelmed with the process sometimes!

Our education system is broken because the focus is simply on the wrong things.

Our current back-ass-ward educational system is

1. Assimilation Based

2. Memorization Focused

3. Permission Laced 

4. Forward Failing 

5. Technician Creating

6. Busy Work Driven

7. Mind-Numbingly Outdated

8. Cause & Effect Broken

9. Unconsciously Incompetent

10. Uninspiring

11. Curiosity Lacking

12. Conformity Celebrating

13. Teacher Blaming

Now this list sounds incredibly negative and please take a deep breath for a second and pause.

I am not saying school is stupid. It’s not.

I am not saying education is not important. It’s everything.

I am saying that our current system is broken and it’s time to look at it. To acknowledge the cracks instead of toss funding at it or implement tests to grade ourselves.

Or create another initiative like No Child Left Behind or a hundred others I could name that are more ironic than helpful.

Because the truth is we already have a grade.

The Above Graphic was created based on data researched, found and assimilated on the World Top 20 Education Poll. The number on the left, going up, is the grade given by WT20E to each of the listed countries along the bottom. [1]

The Above Graphic was created based on data researched, found and assimilated on the World Top 20 Education Poll. The number on the left, going up, is the grade given by WT20E to each of the listed countries along the bottom. [1]

Which then begs the question: Where’s the USA? What’s our grade?

And we’ll get to that, but as you can see, the United States is not in the top ten of the World Top 20 Education Poll 2018. Not even close.[1]

I actually asked, where’s France as well? (I happen to have a French husband, so I’ve been exposed to their educational system as well.)

And my next question, which may also be yours, how was the score even given?

And you can have at the answer by digging deep right here, but for the sake of this article, we’re going to accept that the USA isn’t in the top 3 and not even the top 10 when it comes to receiving a global education grading.

And yes, grades are based on test scores, enrollment rates and graduation rates from both high school and college.

That last part makes this data appealing to study a bit, at least for me, because an engaged mined stays enrolled. And engaged mind is eager for more… high school and perhaps college, while a mind not challenged, not taken with the entire package (dare I say mind, body, spirit here) well, that mind will drop out before graduation, don’t you think?

The USA and other western countries have been seriously declining over the last 50+ years, but in America - the focus of this article - we have a dropout rate of 16% in 2018 based on the NCES which stands for the National Center for Education Statistics. [2]

Um, why?

Now, if a 16% dropout rate sounds like an okay number to you, I want you know too that less is possible as shown in 2018 by Finland with a less than 1% dropout rate, Japan with a less than 2% dropout rate and New Zealand is under 5%. [2]

Better is possible.

We will dive deeper into dropout rates and how this shows the health of a countries educational system in the coming pages. But first consider, just for a moment, that while, yes, other countries like Russia have a higher high school dropout rate than the United States, we are the country who is considered #1 in many things. Such as opportunity, but in other, just as important areas like health and education, we are struggling.

And any testing body worth a damn, would flat out say failing!  Yet, I type this with tongue in cheek, as it’s the USA who is considered the world leader. (At least right now.)

And, no school is not everything but the point of this article and this series is to open discussion about our educational system and if it’s lacking or in fact back-ass-wards.

Which leads me to the first point of what has become a 13-Point Series.

Yep, 13. Cool number.

What can I say, other than we’ll be discussing the Assimilation Based Model, that in my humble opinion, is back-ass-wards in our classroom and no longer serves us.

That’s coming up in Part 2 of the series What if Education is Back-Ass-Wards

Join me for more right here on Education Lady and be sure to access The Scoop where I send a Sunday Recap on all the weeks happenings so you don’t miss the publication of this series and other great reads.

Article Mentions
The chart above was created using data complied by the World Top 20 Education Poll where (and I quote from their site) each country’s ranking is based on five educational levels: early-childhood enrollment rates, Elementary Math, Science and Reading scores, Middle-School Math, Science and Reading scores, High School Graduation rates, and College Graduation rates.

[1] World Top 20 Education (WT20E)
[2] National Center for Education Statistics, graduation rates worldwide, 2018. (NCES)

But don’t take my word for it. Do your own thinking, your own digging and simply start dialoguing over coffee with your girlfriends or around the water cooler at the office.

I mean this conversation could be as interesting as chatting up the latest episode of This Is Us, The Bachelor or the stats from the latest game, right?

Seriously! This affects us and if you’re a parent, I know you want the best for your child. And if you’re a teacher, well, I’m sure you’ve had your feels of frustration in the classroom as the years go by.

And if you’re neither of these (parent or teacher) well, just know that the coming generations will be seeing to your needs as you mature, age and possibly require assistance.

How well-educated do you want them to be?

Side Bar. It’s important for me to share that I’m not about stirring the pot and not also creating room for a solution.

An interim solution to the wider concern of addressing our educational system and starting a wide-open dialogue, is tutoring.

Tutoring works wonders.

I know from having been a child afforded the opportunity of a tutor (now that I think about it) and as a tutor myself. Now I train up tutors to be that solution our children need so they don’t fall through the cracks. You can grab free resources here and learn more.

But what’s your solution? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment in the thread below.

Education Lady | Jill Stevens

Educator. Writer. Life Long Learner. Jill has a passion to help the next generation and improve learning across the board. She’s here to change the world, one mind at a time. Right now she does that through words with purpose and by training up remarkable, rockstar tutors.