Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 299 - United States

Thought of the day: Today is the first day of school in Boulder Valley School District. This day reminded me of a documentary I just watched called "Waiting for Superman". For anyone who cares about K-12 education or with kids in the public school system, it's a disturbing documentary to watch. It shows how broken the US public school system is and why. Other than the obvious issue of lack of funding, the way the schools are run is even a bigger issue. Teachers are not motivated to perform because it's not a merit based system like any other free enterprises. Bad teachers are impossible to fire if they have tenure.  Instead of pursuing a different career that may be more suitable for their abilities and temperament, the "bad" teachers just continue circulating in the system. The lack of accountability is certainly contributing to the lack of improvement in the quality of education. According to statistics, America is facing an education crisis and there's a compelling need for reform. However, there exists strong forces driven by self-interest blocking any meaningful reform. When the system is so broken, simply throwing money at it won't solve the problem. Before that can be fixed, a whole generation of Americans are being given a sub-standard education. It will certainly affect the competitiveness of the country in a long run. Of course, with the reputation of being a melting pot, the US can fill in the education gap through immigration. But that's assuming that the US will continue to be attractive to well qualified immigrants which may no longer be the case if the country can't provide good quality education to its children.

Photo of the day:
Lila standing on the map of the United States in Jasmine's school. It's certainly my hope that she and her sister will receive a good education in this country. The chance is good because we are lucky to live in a good school district but it's by no means given.

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