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Poor education is responsible for a number of social issues
The education system in the US is failing, and it’s showing in our society. People rally against the problems of American society, but no one’s doing the one thing that could change it: improving the education system.
I was watching the news a few weeks ago, and heard an appalling story about how many states are using elementary school children’s grades to determine the amount of money they’ll need to put into the prison system. The lower the students’ grades are, the more money they put into expanding and funding prisons. It’s hard to believe that anyone would consider that to be the best course of action to take.
I can understand the correlation between poor education and criminal activity. Children who grow up without proper guidance and education often turn to crime because they’re unable to find any legitimate form of employment. A study for the University of Western Ontario by Lance Lochner explored the direct connection between lack of education and criminal activity. Better education provides more opportunities for young people, and offers greater rewards than criminal activity.
Knowing the connection between crime and education, one would think that the government would be putting more money into education rather than into prisons. It’s as if the US is saying “It’s easier to make prisons than to educate kids enough to keep them out of the penal system.” It’s a sad time in the world when children and their education is such a low priority. Even the U.S. Supreme Court stated in its Brown vs. Board of Education decision: “Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. It is the very foundation of good citizenship… In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education.”
Crime isn’t the only issue that could be solved, or at least diminished through better education. Sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy could be reduced radically if there was proper sex education within the school system. Parents have been failing at a progressively quickening rate when it comes to teaching their children about sex and sexual safety. Many kids and teens only know what little they learn at school, and unfortunately most of that information comes from other students, rather than teachers and health professionals.
Obesity is another issue that could be addressed in school. Health Ed classes could teach children about healthy eating habits, staying active, and talking with their parents about eating right. Many believe that such things should be learned at home, but parents often lack the time or desire to teach their kids.
Education is faltering all over the country, as money is funneled into other ventures, despite the rapid decline in social values and increase in violence and crime. Teachers aren’t paid enough to warrant the troubles they face in modern classrooms. Class sizes are too large, books are outdated, materials aren’t provided, and extracurricular activities are being cut at an alarming rate. For some reason, no one seems to care.
The old saying tells us that children are our future, so what type of future are we providing when we refuse to educate them properly? What does it say about us when we permit grading curves that let kids get away with lower scores; when we allow teens to graduate without being able to read well or even speak English properly? We’re failing our youth, and something needs to be done about it.
If the government and states put more money into the education system, many of the social problems would begin to turn around, and eventually become a worry of the past. People will never be perfect, but with proper guidance and education, children will be better prepared to make good choices in life after they’re out of school.