Are Students in the United States Trailing Other Countries?


American students are falling behind compared to the rest of the world. We all know this, and it shouldn't be surprising. And, cold weather gives you a cold, humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time, and waking a sleepwalker is a big no-no. Okay, you got me! All of the above mentioned are false, but I will only address the education issue for today.

Regardless of what you hear from politicians, the media, or the disgruntled teacher, American schools are some of the BEST in the world. In the United States, we provide education to EVERYONE. We make it our duty to educate every single child regardless of their access to transportation, socio-economic status, or living situation. We even provide an education to students whose parents have entered this country illegally. When you compare this to other countries of similar size and diversity, we lead the pack by a "country mile." There isn't another educational system that takes on this task, which by default makes us the BEST in the world. So, take that, Sweden. I mention Sweden because you often hear about how "great" they are doing with education. Guess what, we aren't Sweden. When you reflect on what I just told you, you should have immense pride in your country, leaders, teachers, and forefathers and mothers who guaranteed this educational opportunity. Okay, now is the time you should be chanting to yourself, “U-S-A, U-S-A." You should have those same feelings as you did when Rocky knocked out Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.

In the United States, our educators teach more, help more, and achieve more, all while being criticized daily. But, rest assured that this criticism is from people who have mostly never taught a class. They've never seen a child's eyes light up because you are their teacher. They've never helped a student reach their goal and know they were a part of that process. They've never stayed late or arrived early to tutor on their own time. Teachers are selfless and amazing by default, and you should thank them every single chance you get. But you know what, for some, this isn't enough, and they will still point fingers. After all, those test scores are more important than anything, right? You must quantify students, or it's inadmissible in public opinion.

With international comparisons of test scores, this is what's occurring. The United States takes the test scores of all our students and then has those scores compared to the top students from other countries. Simply put, we aren't comparing apples to apples. Sadly, the United States has the highest child poverty rate in the Western World, but we don't hide those scores. But, you won't hear this in the media. You'll only hear things that try to capitalize on gullibility.

But wait, there's more. What about special education? Do you think other countries are affording students with diverse neurological needs an education? Here, we provide these students with an equal opportunity to receive an education because they have the right to it. This not only benefits them in math, science, social studies, and reading, but also helps the special education student in lessons like empathy, inclusion, and acceptance. What other country is doing this that's comparable to the United States?

I should stop. I could ramble about this for hours, but here is what you should take away. The United States of America is the gold standard for education. We do the right thing and provide all students with an education. Could we do better? Of course we could, but for now, we do the best we can based on our abilities, understanding, and funding. Stop listening to the naysayers and support our public education system. Sadly, we have politicians on both sides of the aisle spilling falsehoods about our schools. Alternative facts aren't a new strategy in politics.

Trust me; trust others in our schools when they tell you we are the gold standard for educating children. As educators, we strive each day to improve. This improvement led to the Engaged Academics mission statement. "Our goal is to engage students where they are today, inspire them to be better than yesterday, and prepare them to be their best for tomorrow."


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