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The Underworked American Essay

After having read the ‘Underworked American’, I find that this article was very one sided. Even though you might have expected that, given from the title. I think that this should not just criticize the one country, but should explore the faults of other countries with their work/education and perhaps compare them. Although not everything Lexington talks about is false, as he seems to support certain views with only half-truths.

First of all I think that a lot of the opinions are stated like facts, for example, stating that students during the summer who don’t have a wealthy lifestyle will more likely end up with the situation of having ‘SLL’ (student learning loss). It is said that because of the amount of limited wealth they cannot afford the material needed to help them study during the summer. You then go on to talk about how some of the students with more wealth would perhaps end up with ‘SLG,’ student learning gain, saying that they can achieve this because they can afford the material. However, just because one does not have the finance to buy more material to study with during the summer, does not mean the one can’t study with the material that is already at their disposal, or give just as much effort.

Even when Lexington does compare some continents, for example Europe to America, he claims that Europe has less working hours but much longer school hours. However, stating that American children are doing even less work, even though in a later paragraph it mentions how many school days there are in different countries each year. However, compared to the school hours, with amount of lessons per-day and the various teaching methods done in each country, the results of each school in different countries will be different.

Although in the next paragraph it does mention the number of school hours, and also compares them with different countries. This is the only solid amount of facts that are stated throughout the article. But this part of the article, claiming that the education of children across America has lower grades than compared to the rest of the world, this does not completely prove that fewer days is less education. As well as the school hours being shorter, each school might count its hours differently. For example one might include break hours and lunch hours, whereas another school might just include the lessons.

When Lexington had stated that American grades are lower than most grades worldwide, your reason for the problem seems too simple. I think that if the problem were that simple, it would have gone away or at least the public would have been more aware of the problem. Knowing that the change of effect won’t be immediate, but would have been mentioned in news as changing the timetables of school across America would be big news. I would also think that the U.S. would not be ignorant enough to ignore the education of children.

In one of the last few paragraphs it does mention that about a thousand schools have changed their timetable and did lengthen their school hours and even some hold school days on a Saturday. However the Federal Government has very little to no control of the school systems and if major changes were intended to be made, it might not be able to go through due to the limited control.

However, I think that in one of the later paragraphs, it claims to say that even if changes are made, the effort of the children won’t change and therefore would still end up affecting the average grade of the country. Because even if there are longer school hours, the effort of the children is an important factor, as it does affect the outcome of the grades. Therefore affecting the country’s average grade. This can go for all countries, and while reading further it does not explain how they can find the effort of the country’s students.

Overall I think that Lexington’s article is quite biased to the general effort and working hours of the world compared to the U.S., while not giving solid reasons as to why Lexington might think the way he does. Also what the problems are and what the solutions may be. This article seems to only show part of the picture instead of the overall picture. I found it hard to know what Lexington’s main point was, as he first talked about; Americans criticizing Europe’s long work holidays, then about each countries educational methods and how little education American children are getting compared to continents such as Europe and Asia.


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