Friday, October 23, 2009

The Educational System of the United States

In case you have read the previous post on the current health care debate, I'd like to inform you that it only gets worse from here. The educational system of this country is one of the worst in the entirety of the civilized world. The math, science, and reading scores of US students are in the twenties; based on current rankings of countries done by numerous measures. Humans in America are more concerned with American Idol than American IQ. They would rather watch Sunday Night Football than the daily news. The state of our educational system is only the tip of the cultural iceberg of America. An education lacking in science, math, and the arts has lead to nation filled with reality stars and creationists. We are not being taught the basic fundamentals of our universe in America, and it needs to change.

There have been numerous experts in every field, especially math and biology, that have rallied against our current educational system. Mathematicians suggest the glossing over of statistics in high school in favor of calculus has been a gross mistake. If stats, which have everyday-real-life situations, were taught in place of calculus our populace would be more capable of making informed decisions in their daily lives; based on probability or chance. Biologists like Richard Dawkins, retired Professor of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, claim that evolution should be the first aspect of biology taught. Obviously religious opponents fight hard against the teaching of evolution, especially in America. Dawkins also points out that, although he thinks it does, understanding evolution doesn't necessitate an atheistic world view. He points to numerous English clergymen. However, Dawkins also welcomes this challenge, as if all he had to do was show the mountains of evidence for evolution and people would stop believing. Science and math form the foundation of our society, whether you believe it or not, you can still text your friend on your iPhone.

There is no debate between evolution and creationism. Evolution is correct and a mature understanding of it leads to the fact that God is unnecessary and irrelevant in the entire process. This is all that needs to be said on this subject, save a few pokes at other non-existent "teach the debate" arguements. Stork theory of reproduction, for example, is rife with hilarious simmilarities to this creationist garbage; it literally is a shame people do not accept evolution. The atheist viewpoint is once again, very clear; there is an overwhelming amount of evidence for evolution and those who deny it are completely incorrect.

The Political Atheist is not claiming to have every answer to the educational crisis facing our country, but here are a few proposals that could be covered more in future posts. Teach the fundementals of math sooner. Children should be exposed to complex math at a younger age, before they reach high school. Math is the language of the universe and our country is practically mute. Teach the fundementals of physics freshman year of high school. Physics is the base for chemistry, which forms the basis of biology and from these overviews of the sciences students should delve further into the theories and facts these subjects investigate and discover. Discovery is the most exciting process man partakes in; interacting with the far east, Columbus sailing to the West Indies, Armstrong walking on the moon, all of these events are lauded (rightfully or not so) by humans as major points in our history.

Lest we forget history, as those that do are doomed to repeat it. History is the study of how few people can have major impacts on human society, culture, and devolopment. This includes positively and negatively impacting the species as a whole. An understanding of history allows humans to learn from past mistakes and successes, and gives way to a whole new "vitality" of ideas, a pseudo-recycling process of the human experience through the ages.

A few words on physical education are a must as well. America is obese. The country is filled with humans that over-eat and under-excersize, and are not pushed hard enough in the physical classroom. They aren't fully immersed in a healthy lifestyle, or shown how big of a difference staying healthy can have on their lives. Sports build comradaree and competitive spirit amongst children, and a healthy appetite for success is a must.

The atheist point of view is that knowledge is power, more specifically the power to increase the awareness of other human beings, with respect to their life experience. We have the ability to maintain a collective intelligence through books, the internet, and other digital media. Imagine what an overall lift of the average educational level could do for this country, and then think about how we can make it happen. Thank you for reading and think freely.

The Political Atheist

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