Are American Teenagers Becoming Dumber?
April 25, 2014By Christian Jones of South Houston High School
Many of you may know that when it comes to education, America is not in the top five. Or even the top ten. We are in fact number 17 out of 50 when it comes to schooling. Many people, mostly adults, have blamed this on the current generation becoming dumber. Quite frankly, as an American teenager, I'm furious when people start putting unfair labels on us.
Let me just point out that America was NEVER ranked first in education to begin with. Let's be honest: In America, education isn't as highly valued as it is in Finland and South Korea, who hold the top spots. Some students in South Korea go to school from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (with the occasional break, of course).
Also, what gives adults from previous generations the right to judge us? They had nowhere NEAR the amount of classwork or standardized testing that students now are forced to go through. Not only do we have school, but many extracurricular activities (maybe even a job), then we go home and do chores, watch after our younger siblings, etc. Studies have even been conducted to show that we are more stressed today than any other previous generation. Every day we are handed a packet of papers in each class, and expected to finish them by the next day, while trying to manage other aspects in our lives. We're overloaded with information and classwork on a daily basis, and a lot of us tend to find ways to simply pass, instead of actually benefiting from the education provided to us. We go through rote memorization instead of actually learning. There are some teachers who even give undeserved grades to boost their reputation as an instructor. I’m not going to sit here and say that our generation has the best work ethic, but no one can blame all of this solely on us. Our school system is also at fault for focusing more on test scores to prove their capability as great educators instead of basing it on actual understanding of class material.
Some countries are simply more advanced than we are and that’s something that we won’t be able to change without more effort from students, parents, and educators. Putting blame on my generation and labelling us won't help the problem and will only cause more resentment and resistance.