6 Reasons to Celebrate the U.S. K-12 Education System
When it comes to the U.S. education system, sometimes I feel like I don’t celebrate its successes enough. Its like I am Chicken Little, always writing about how the sky is falling as it pertains to our education preeminence. Because of this, I decided to write a piece detailing 6 reasons to celebrate the U.S. K-12 education system.
Our schools are better funded than other countries. Although we like to think of our schools as being perpetually underfunded, our per-pupil spending is still more than every other nation on the planet. Many of our peers in other countries work under inhuman conditions and with virtually no educational supplies. Although I am not saying that fully funding schools shouldn’t be a priority, but imagine, what a teacher in Uganda could accomplish with 1/10 of our resources.
Our schools are inclusive. Children with and without disabilities are educated in the same schools, usually in the same classroom, to the fullest extent possible. We call this least restrictive environment. Although we have a troubled past when it comes to the education of students with disabilities, for the past half a century, we have been slowing perfecting our inclusive schools. Sadly, this does not occur in many countries.
Our educators continually improve. In the U.S. teachers and education administrators alike are required to participate in professional development activities. These activities are meant to help educators sharpen their skills and become the best professional that they can be. Most teachers that I know attend graduate school at some point in their career, earning Masters and Doctoral degrees in the field of education. Because of this, we have the most educated teacher and education administrator corp in the world.
Schools provide transportation for their students. In the U.S. our school’s provide transportation for all students who do not live within an acceptable walking distance of their assigned school. This is no easy feat, as school transportation departments require a lot of resources to remain operational. This is a blessing, as students in some countries walk 5 miles or more to get to school.
Access to technology. We live in a hyperconnected age, where tech literacy is not an option, it’s a necessity. Our schools do an excellent job of providing our students with the tech literacy skills that they will need to compete in the global economy. To facilitate this, we spend hundreds of millions of dollars of tech devices and products.
Literacy rate. When it comes to literacy, we have one of the highest rates (99% literacy rate) in the world. This is impressive because as a nation of immigrants, a small but substantial percentage of our students first language is not English. Because of this, teaching them to read becomes more of a challenge. Teachers in countries like Cuba (99.8% literacy rate), where virtually everyone is of Latino or Afro-Latino descent and speak Spanish, have an easier time teaching students to read.
Can you think of any additional reasons?