By now, in all likelihood, you have probably seen the infamous video of Miss South Carolina answer to the question: Why can’t Americans find their own country on a map? In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the answer:
And, last week, Karate Mommy started a little discussion about education and who should pay for it by bringing up school vouchers, specifically school vouchers here in Utah. All of this makes me think about education in America. It seems to be taking second (or third or fourth) place to things like looking good, trying to make “easy” money, or any number of other things. Why don’t we value education here in America? Do we take it for granted?
Is our education slipping because we have repeatedly shown we don’t think education is very important, due to the low salaries our teachers are paid? After all, many of the brightest go on to do things so that they can make money, rather than teach. Is the tenure system ruining our teachers by not holding them to high standards every year? After all, once a teacher makes tenure, he or she is good. No need to strive for continued excellence.
There are probably a lot of reasons that education in America is falling behind. And we need to start thinking of solutions. But first, we have to acknowledge that we have been downplaying the importance of education in our society, and before we can find a solution, we have to change the way we prioritize learning in this country.