Education refers to imparting of general and specific knowledge and skills regarding various subjects from one generation to another through training. Education is usually characterized by schools (public and private), teachers, and students. Education in the United States is divided into three stages: primary/elementary education, post primary/secondary education, and higher/postsecondary education. The responsibility regarding education is a preserve of the local and state governments. As such, the standardization of education and curriculum in particular is not achievable in terms of what the students should be taught vis-à-vis national standards. This is because individual states usually have greater control over what students should be taught in schools, the requirements that students should meet, and the fact that states are responsible for the funding of the public educational system. As such, there are variations between states regarding the courses and activities that are allowed in schools and such determination may be influenced by the location of the school.
Notably, education may be formal or informal. Generally, formal education in America lasts for twelve years, which is until the age of 18. However, in most states, compulsory schooling ends at the age of 16 but some states require students to attend school until the attain seventeen or eighteen years. Every child in the United States has access to free public education. Conversely, privately owned schools are not free and students must pay tuition fees in order to attend.
The earliest learning processes were informal and involved sharing of information regarding religion, values, and cultural practices. Such educational processes did not depend on classes and never involved reading and writing. However, modernism enabled people to introduce formal education that involves reading and writing. In contemporary American societies, education has evolved so much that people can learn formally and informally depending on the circumstances because there are many processes and equipment that facilitate the overall acquiring of knowledge and skills. Although there is greater access to education today, there are various positives and negatives that are characteristic of the American education system in the contemporary American society.
Technology has immensely facilitated the modern education system. There is increased use of apparatus such as computers and projectors. Through computers, considerably diverse information is conveyed to people of all ages and from all walks of life. Consequently, it is easier to simplify complex information through computer programs thereby making complex concepts easier to understand. The internet provides endless information regarding boundless subjects (Pashler 111). As such, learners can learn about any subject that interests them anywhere anytime.
Because of the increased access to information there are better more learned teachers to impart knowledge to students at every stage of the education system. Students are also better exposed and this enables them to master every concept through different perspectives thereby making students to eventually become the best in their areas of study and ultimately in their careers.
Vocational Training and Skill Development
Much of the modern system of education ensures that every person has the opportunity to learn the things that interest them. Vocational training leads to a well-educated workforce (Schofield 8). Even the infants in modern societies get to enroll in kindergartens in their little gowns where gradually their intrinsic desires to acquire knowledge are nurtured. Early adaptation for children helps in establishing a performance pattern that often remains stable (Finn 215). Consequently, there are educational temples in the name of universities. Such intense training and development coupled with technological advancement continue to make the education an endless process.
The system of education today is too much focused on spoon-feeding the students in all the learning stages. Students are not eager to learn on their own even at the college and university level. This is because of poor attitudes about knowledge and learning from the tender ages through to primary and secondary education. Most students are nurtured in such a way that they think that things should be provided to them. As such, students wait for teachers and lecturers to develop knowledge and provide them with already synthesized information for them to put to practice. This impacts the progress of students far beyond the universities and colleges because the spoon-feeding attitude is carried on to the job market. This aspect leads to employees who are not able to initiate anything because they are too lazy to think on their own.
Overreliance on Technology
There is too much reliance on technology. Technology is a very important tool in the education process but uncontrolled use of technology has negative impacts on the students’ learning process. There is no denying that internet and computers at large have transformed the education sector in an adorable way but it has also led to unnecessary distractions that make students and people generally lazy to go to libraries and read books. Even doing research has been reduced to Google searches and students do not even bother to test the authenticity of the information they find on the internet (Meserve 36). Students are not least interested in acquiring knowledge for the future but their focus is to pass examinations and acquire certificates and degrees. This trend impacts negatively on the on the once vibrant American reading culture as people are no longer prepared to sit for long hours reading a text and trying to comprehend the same.
Too Much Emphasis on Education
Today’s education system leaves little room for students to get educated. Students adhere to a routine that effectively impacts negatively on their education process. The student routine in the current system entails students waking early, engaging in light reading, going to school, attending tuition, going home, doing their homework, and after their homework they are too tired to do anything so they sleep. As such, each day is a replica of the previous day. This makes students more of robots than intellectuals.
Proposed Fundamental Changes to the Current Education System
The solution with regard to overreliance on the use of technology should be enabling schools to devise new policies from early education to inculcate a reading culture among the young learners. Such policies should also seek to train children to be disciplined in the use of gadgets. That way, even when these learners get to elementary and subsequent schooling stages, they will have embraced an education culture that enables them to balance the use of technology and education.
Consequently, the education system should be revised to ensure that from a tender age, students are taught how to look for information, think critically, and form opinions. Such approaches would nurture a proactive rather than a reactive culture in students. This is a key solution to the spoon-feeding culture that makes students lazy and ineffective in their careers.
Finally, the current curriculums in schools at every level should be revised to allow students to have time for recreational activities. This would ensure that the students have time to learn other things besides theoretical concepts. When students have time spare time, they will have the opportunity to put what they have learnt into practice thus helping them improve their understanding.
Finn, Jeremy, Susan Gerber, Jayne Boyd-Zaharias. Small classes in the early grades, academic
achievement, and graduating from high school. Journal of Educational Psychology 97 (2): 2005, 214–233.
Meserve, Lee. The Problem with Relying on Technology. Ohio Journal of Science 98 (3): 1998,
Pashler, Harold, Mark McDonald, Doug Rohrer, Robert Bjork. Learning Styles: Concepts and
Evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 9 (3): 2009, 105–119.
Schofield, Kaye. The Purposes of Education. Queensland State Education, 1999.