America's Public School Systems Are Sabotaging Our Children's Chance for Success

For decades, students at public school, especially those of poor communities, have been dropping out and failing in school because of the system that is in place. The typical school year looks like this: school begins in September, new topics are introduced to kids from their teacher, they spend months studying for exams, and at the end of the year they do a final test which produces data on each students progress. Then the kids leave school in June and have summer break until next September when they repeat the process. The end of year test data is good data but the problem is it is data produced too late for a parent or teacher to do anything about. And by the time the student gets back to school again, they have become lazy with their study habits, and struggle sometimes to get back into the grove of things.

This system has been in place for over 50 years now and the schools that had the most drop outs, still have the most drop outs. If this system is clearly flawed and does not work, then why do we still use it? This is a question that education advocate Geoffrey Canada asks America today. He gave a TEDTalk speech on this topic not too long ago and is energized by the issue.

Canada cares about all children and their success in development and education. But the system that is in place now is absolutely not the way that our kids are going to succeed. He says in his TEDTalk that the system is a "one-size-fits-all system" where if it works for one kid, that's fine, but if it doesn't, tough luck. Canada says also that there isn't really a plan in place to change things either. He asks schools in America what they plan to do for the next year of school as far as changing the graduation rate compared to last year, and their answer is always that they will just keep doing what they did last year and hope for the best.

Canada states in his talk that we as a country know what the problem is that causes kids to not succeed, but we haven't developed enough desire to make it change yet. Near the end of his talk, Canada says something really profound, "when the country cares about something, we'll spend a trillion dollars without blinking an eye. When the safety of our nation is threatened, we will spend any amount of money. The real safety of our nation, is preparing this next generation so that they can take our place and be the leaders of the world...." This statement cannot be any more true, our children are the future, and if we don't stack the deck in their favor, meaning prepare them so that they can only succeed in life, the world that we know will cease to exist and our legacies will not continue on.

- Chris Sommers