Fear and laziness diminish education

Hannah McDermet

Hannah McdermetDeviant Ink Slinger

The United States ranks 17th in education among other industrialized nations in the world. 17th. Think about it, say it out loud, tell your friends, get angry.

We live in an arrogant nation with citizens that freely and boastfully say that the United States is “the best country in the world” and they are not far from the truth. Our technological advances are some of the best in the world and virtually all of our fellow citizens have access to clean water and food. If we live in such a fine country, why are we not giving our children the education they deserve?

Even college students have a hard time putting together a grammatically correct sentence under today’s educational system. Some other students may have to take college courses up to five times in order to pass them. How did we let it get to this point?

The answer, in my opinion, is fear and laziness. We live in a society that has a fear of failing. Parents are afraid of their children failing academically and teachers are too lazy to teach the students that need extra help. Under pressure from administration members and state legislatures, teachers would much rather just send these students up to the next grade to get them out of their hair.

Under these conditions, students in elementary and middle school are allowed to continue to the next grade despite receiving unsatisfactory grades in specific courses. If these students were held back to give them more time to learn the material, they would be better off in their future academic affairs. It is sad to think that our nation’s educators are treating students this way in the most vital time of their academic careers.

Despite our poor ranking among other industrialized nations, the government continues to eliminate funding for public schools. In 2003, South Dakota spent 55 cents out of every taxpayer dollar on education. This amount has decreased to 49 cents per dollar as of December 2010. Former Gov. Rounds, as one of his last acts as governor, proposed an $11 million cut in education including a 5 percent decrease in funding for K-12 education. That means that each student will get a cut of about $240 in funding, decreasing the number from $4,804 to $4,564 for each child’s education annually.

New Gov. Dennis Daugaard has not finalized any cuts to education this year but states that he supports many of Rounds’ decisions in funding. This is unsettling considering South Dakota received a D minus in education, placing us at 49th in the nation according to an education think tank’s annual report card.

I refuse to lie down and watch while our state’s legislators, educators and board members continue to ignore the state’s most significant problem. If we do not educate our children to their full potential, how are we to expect them to run the state and the country in future years? We need to stop the fear and laziness that cripple our education system and instate an understanding of our children and the kind of education they really need 8212; an education that will help them understand material, not overwhelm them.

Do what you can. Contact your local schools or congressperson. This cycle can stop with help from our generation.

Hannah is a senior journalism major. Contact her at [email protected].