American Education System: Part 1
Once a bastion for knowledge and hope for a better future, with greater opportunities and economic mobility, the modern American education system now suffers in obscurity on the world stage as newer countries find fresh and progressive ways to educate their children in this increasingly global society. The American education system takes many different approaches, in accordance with the present state of society and the consciousness level of the country, towards providing the nation’s youth with knowledge and understanding about the external world around us.
An educated population that condemns ignorance and supports logic and reason, represents America’s first line of defense against a corrupt government and a greedy mainstream media, which disseminate lies and preys on the public’s ignorance, lack of complex and in-depth understanding about our society and culture in order to control, manipulate and dictate the direction of the country for their own private profit.
But much of our current public education system comes down to the indoctrination of the youth into our arbitrary, ideological, cultural and political system through the obedience to authority, through culturally laid down pathways and patterns of behavior, and through the acceptance of societal dogmas passed down from previous generations. This form of mass manipulation of the minds of the youth, for the purpose of societal cohesion, interferes with the individual’s process of growth by delaying the experience of self-discovery, or preventing the process entirely until after a formal and government-approved education fills the minds of children and young adults.
Our culture focuses on a narrow range of educational understanding, confined within a carefully selected range of topics that often fails to challenge our illusions and provide us with a new perspective of reality. While each American state makes various changes to their own education systems over time to coincide with their increasingly diverse populations, the American education system, in its entirety, remains consumed in past ideology, unwilling to address our current cultural and technological problems and the changes occurring in modern society, due to a lack of funding from state, local and the federal government.
The United States requires a systemic restructuring in the manner in which we educate the nation’s youth so that they may grow and express themselves in their own individual way to contribute their unique perspective to the country without being forced to follow an existing pattern of behavior or a particular set of culturally accepted beliefs.
Students must be allowed to flourish in the subjects that they excel in, rather than being made to feel inferior in subjects that they struggle in. This requires that we base a students educational ability and knowledge on their own personal proclivities and interests instead of trying to educate them based off a pre-defined and rigid structure that we apply to all students collectively, a method of teaching that dates back to the industrial era where factor workers required a factory education to do repetitive and monotonous factory work.
The modern world is filled with complex systems that require a new approach to knowledge acquisition so that each individual contributes the best of their knowledge and abilities to our digital world. Human beings vary greatly; children even more so. But by the time children reach the end of their education, in high school or in college, the creativity and individuality inherent in every child from birth is replaced with a ridged base of basic knowledge that conforms to the group, to an ideology, to a structure that prevents individual growth and unique understanding that benefits each student in their own way.
Direct experience in the physical world becomes secondhand to children, as they learn of concepts, abstract symbols, and ideas within textbooks, but rarely engage in the act of life in its purest and most direct form. To break free from this limited level of intellectual understanding, human beings must find novel ways to pursue knowledge and redefine what education means to each individual in the modern world, as this ensures that each individual bases their own intelligence off of their unique abilities rather than the abilities of those around them.
Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.Anonymous
The United States of America has an inequality problem disguised as an education problem; a mental health problem disguised as a gun problem; a government corruption problem disguised as a political partisan problem; an ignorance problem disguised as a political anti-intellectualism problem; a mainstream media problem disguised as a journalism problem, and a legal drug problem disguised as an illegal drug problem. We as a nation fail to address the root of our problems and our suffering for fear of losing the financial profit that surrounds and consumes this societal suffering. Americans find comfort in their misery as long as that misery makes a financial profit, which we justify by buying and consuming and filling our lives with material possessions and obsessions that never fully reach the center of our life’s meaning and purpose.
The passion within our pursuit of self-worth and the process that leads to self-discovery allows each individual to grow and prosper as an individual, but our society places greater importance on conformity to the group, as this represents a safe and pre-existing pool of comfort and security that protects us from the potentially threatening and painful path that leads us towards who we are deep down within the depths of our souls. Proper, modern education should guide each of us down this path by enlightening, empowering, and bringing out the best individual characteristics from individual people without forcing a rigid ideological structure onto our uniqueness for the sake of industrial era efficiency.
The United States government, which relies on corruption and bribery from major corporations– that pay the most money to prop up and sustain its growth, and the entire citizen population that fails to demand a proper, measured and all-encompassing approach to education that challenges past dogmas and culturally passed down regimented education routines that limits the scope of intellectual understanding- are at fault when considering the present state of the nation, which has evolved over many decades, reduced and split the country into two vastly different political parties that cannot address or debate the simplest topics without shouting each other down or degrading another individuals speech as arrogant, ignorant, heretical or blasphemous.
This is a sign of a lack of understanding and intelligence about ourselves, our neighbors, our friends, and our enemies; and also evidence of the failure of our restricted education system that does not prepare our children to operate as individual adults with unique personalities and their own set of beliefs, rather than adopting and subscribing to the pre-defined ideological beliefs of a particular social or political party. The education our youth indoctrinates and prepares them to fight in this pre-existing social and political-ideological war over basic, elementary ideas that lack any subtlety of opinion.
Americans must redefine what education, knowledge, and understanding mean in the United States by approaching our current system with a nuanced and fresh perspective that considers the modern, digital, and technological world that lies before us so that we may adapt to our environment and change our behavior and learning methods to evolve with our growing world. By addressing our past shortcomings, mistakes, failures, and setbacks within the American education system, we as one nation with a united population can learn to grow and learn from one another by contributing our own ideas to the cultural equation, without condemning speech or beliefs that do not conform to our own subjective, ideological interpretation of the world.
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives them.James Madison
History of the American Education System
- The first American schools were built in the 17th century in New England, Mass. (1635-1640). Taught religion, family and community values to white men, only.
- Common schools created in the 18th century. One teacher, one room with one group of students from multiple age groups, age-based classrooms not yet established.
- Reading and writing taught to white men to prepare them for the ministry. Women only taught to read in order to read the bible.
- Private prep schools created in the early 19th century.
- First women’s school/women’s academy: Ursuline Academy in New Orleans 1727.
- After the American Revolution, states established tax-subsidized public elementary schools in order to improve society and advance the economy with educated workers able to vote with knowledge and understanding. The Founding Fathers believed an educated and enlightened citizenry is a nation’s best defense against a corrupt and tyrannical government; while the abundance of ignorance is the nation’s greatest threat to social growth and cohesion.
- The United States had one of the highest literacy rates of any nation during this time.
- First public high schools started in Boston in 1821. Public schools outnumbered private schools by the end of the 19th century.
- Horace Mann, American educational reformer and Secretary of Education of Massachusetts in 1837, visited Europe to observe various education systems. Upon returning to the United States, Mann proposed placing students in grades by age as a way to “turn the nations unruly children into disciplined, judicious, republican citizens.” This lead to factory model, industrial-era schools that resembled the type of instruction and work of factory workers, which is where our current model of education instruction bases its operating procedure from.
- Horace Mann’s age-based, factory-model schools first emerged in the mid-19th century and followed: Top-down management/teaching style; obedience to authority; standardization; outcomes of education designed to meet societal needs; indoctrination of the youth into society, age-based classes; efficiency and a focus on producing results. This type of taxpayer/government-funded education prepared children through industrial ear instruction to become obedient adult workers that take orders and follow directions.
- Many states had compulsory education laws by 1900.
- Education from this point became mechanical, structured, obeying authority, encouraged docile learners in order to create obedient adults. Promoted narrow mindedness in the process of learning, as children’s ideas conformed to what those in positions of authority told them rather than challenging those concepts, asking complex questions and developing a higher level of self-consciousness, self-worth, self-realization, self-actualization, broad life skills to tackle complex issues, ideas, and challenges that society would pose that require solutions not found in textbooks.
- 2013: 87 percent of students attended public schools; 10 percent attended private; 3 percent home schooled.
- Over 77 million people attending American schools according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau.
Proper eduction that empowers human beings functions by operating as a method of social change and reform in order to develop, expand and improve democracy, as democracy is something you do, a verb that requires action, a goal, a purpose so that the population may escape from the control of an overreaching government that makes demands and favors an ignorant and passive population that lacks critical thinking skills and complex thought. By conditioning children to blindly accept information from authority without challenging the source, we are providing them with the tools to operate in the ancient industrial era, while failing to educate them for the challenges of a complex digital future that requires great individual ideas to solve novel technological, American societal and global problems that threaten the fabric of the human race.
The transition from an agrarian, agricultural society to a machine, industrial society required industrial workers with an industrial education, which means mechanical and structured knowledge. We now live in the modern, digital, technology age of society, which requires a higher level of thought, consciousness, and understanding of our internal, as well as external, environments that unite the two aspects of our reality into one psychic organism that flows together. Part 2
Educate and inform the whole mass of people. They are the only sure reliable for the preservation of our liberty.Thomas Jefferson