The education system in the United States is broken, but not beyond repair.
Although many reputable sources and institutions consider our education system to be one of the great performances, many would say otherwise. I am inclined to agree with the latter. With the technological advancements of the last decades, work opportunities have generally become less time-consuming but require increasingly advanced training and skills.
We must realize this change and rethink how we teach future generations. Higher education rates are correlated with lower crime rates, higher future earnings, and an overall more civilized society. Instead of requiring our workforce to fill that extra time with extra work, instead we need to invest in our workers and fill that time with continuous learning.
We could institute flexible, low-cost programs that adults could enroll in in the field of their choice. Anyone can enroll in any number of courses, which can remain flexible and fit their schedule. Companies could even partner with these institutions and help organize programs to teach knowledge and skills that are highly sought after in the industry.
If we could implement a system like this, it would go a long way to correcting some of the inequities and problems with our current institutions. But the strengthening of our current system must first take place.
I admit, I haven’t always been the most impatient and avid student. I would be easily distracted and feel indifferent to the units and lessons required by my school and state. And while at times I still encounter some of these issues, I now have the maturity to understand the value of this investment and appreciate the opportunities available to me.
Unfortunately, these opportunities are not available to everyone. I simply had the chance to grow up with inherent privileges, which allowed me to progress despite various mistakes. In 2021, 91.1% of Americans 25 and older had graduated from high school, but only 37.9% had gone further to college or other institutions of higher learning, according to Statistical.
It’s quite confusing. Why is our country so backward in education? We pursue economic and technological growth, but it is costly to invest in improving ourselves through higher education. Now, enrollment is restricted to students from wealthy families, increasing the wealth of the wealthy.
At the same time, income inequality is growing and the gap between the most educated and those who cannot afford it is widening. It’s just embarrassing.
The United States is a global superpower, surpassing most other countries in economic output, technological prowess and innovation – we don’t settle for good, or at least we didn’t used to. TO DO. We were a role model, an ideal to strive for – now we are the butt of a joke.
Our education system is already deteriorating and we need to take this time to rebuild these institutions. But, before adding additional programs or opportunities, we need to fix the current system we have.
We need better quality schools, affordable schooling and we need to start paying teachers enough to live with dignity. The fact that teachers often have to dip into their own pockets to cover the cost of various school supplies for them and their students is again quite embarrassing.
If we invested not just in our current education system, but further into adulthood, we would see levels of growth and innovation soar for decades to come. History teaches us that with a higher education comes growth and higher incomes. I just wonder when our decision makers will learn this lesson.
Sean Gilley (he/him) is a senior political science and economics student with a certificate in computer science.