With the biggest GDP, prestigious universities, and a multitude of successful entrepreneurs, the United States has always been considered one of the leading countries in the world. Unfortunately, with other countries outdoing the United States in education, this notion is quickly changing. In recent years, students from other countries have been surpassing the United States academically and have proven that they are the future of the world. Researchers have found many differences in the school systems in foreign countries compared to those in the United States; however, the main reasons America is being trumped by students in other countries are because of the lack of parental support at home and the use of technology in schools.
With test scores to prove this change in academic hierarchy, it has become obvious that other countries are outperforming the United States. Each country was compared and ranked based on scores of the 2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. Multiple countries, such as Hong Kong, Russia, and Finland, scored above the United States in reading, math, and science. The United States is still one of the top thirteen educational systems in the world; however, they are lagging behind and are being consistently outranked (Khazan). One reason for this differentiation in test scores is the ways in which school systems are set up. For example, in Finland, the country with the “best performing education system,” “schools assign less homework and engage children in more creative play,” which is the opposite of schools in America (Dillon). At the rate that these countries are exceeding, with students ahead of American students by one whole school year, those from places such as Hong Kong, China, and Finland will soon be the top entrepreneurs and leaders of the world.
One of the main reasons that students in other countries are more successful academically is because of parent involvement. According to the University of Michigan, “parental involvement is a critical component to a child’s educational experience” and “it is proven that greater involvement in a child’s education can foster more positive attitudes toward school, can improve homework habits, increase academic success and can reduce dropout rates” (“Comparing). Parents in other countries, such as China, ensure that their children understand and complete their homework, while parents in the United States play a more passive role. This is because many parents in the United States are among the working class and not present when their children return from school.
Parent involvement helps children succeed in school, leading them to continue on to college. Today, “the odds that a young person in the U.S. will be in higher education if his or her parents do not have an upper secondary education are just 29%” (LaRock). This proves that parents in other countries are more supportive of higher education and encourage their children to attend even if they did not have the chance. In order to ensure that the United States can redeem itself and once again be a top nation academically, American parents need to be more involved with their children.
Another reason that the United States is being surpassed is because of their lack of use of technology in the classroom. As a nation, America should be placing the newest technology in schools in order to ensure that children are keeping up with the technological advances of the world and progressing at the same or higher pace than other students. As Dr. Michael Mills states, “‘apart from the engagement aspect of using technology, students must master the digital literacy skills necessary to thrive in today’s society and workplace’” (Lawrence). As technology quickly becomes the basis of the world, children need to be familiar with up-to-date versions.
This will ensure that they can compete with other nations when entering the workforce. Schools in countries such as China agree with this idea and “[have] moved far ahead of almost every country in the world on measures of integrating technology into academic curriculum.” Many American parents believe that if their children are going to use advanced technology, they are more likely to use it at home than in school (Lawrence). With these ideas in mind, American parents are allowing their children to fall behind the rest of the nation; thus, they are contributing to the success of students in other countries.
Although the United States needs to spend money on placing the latest technology in schools, there are valid reasons as to why they cannot do this. American school systems are based on standardized testing, which is what they are forced to spend a majority of their budget on (Lawrence). Also, parents in the United States are not able to be home for their children as often because they are busy at work. Many would agree that this high number of working class parents is a key component to America’s success.
However, these are not valid reasons as to why children in America should be allowed to slip so far behind those in other countries. As stated by the University of Michigan, “mothers in eastern Asian countries for example, will actually attend school in order to take notes for their children when they are ill and unable to attend themselves,” so why can’t mothers in the United States make at least half the effort? (“Comparing). If society continues to act this way, the future of the world will no longer be in the hands of Americans.
With the lack of parental support in the United States and advanced technology in the classroom, America is quickly being outshined. Compared to other countries, their academics are suffering. In order to ensure that the United States remains a leading country in the future, these two aspects need to be changed. If nothing is done, the leaders of tomorrow will not be from the United States, but children who now live in countries such as China or Finland.
“Comparing U.S. and Chinese Public School Systems.” University of Michigan. Ed. Tara L. Van Schaack. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2013. . Dillon, Sam. “Many Nations Passing U.S. in Education, Expert Says.” The New York Times. N.p., 10 Mar. 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2013. . Khazan, Olga. “Here’s why other countries beat the U.S. in reading and math.” The Washington Post. N.p., 11 Dec. 2012. Web. 17 Apr. 2013. . LaRock, J.D. “Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators 2012.” OECD. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2013. . Lawrence, Julia. “Chinese Education Technology Efforts May Surpass America’s.” Education News. N.p., 3 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2013. .
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