It is well-known that, ever since the 1950s, American schools have been in crisis mode, falling behind other countries such as Russia and Japan and China in core subjects such as mathematics and science.
Congress passed the National Defense of Education Act in 1958, and over the ensuing years, a series of other legislative acts, in an attempt to rectify these problems; but according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in 2012, American students ranked 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading compared to students in 27 other countries.
To give you an idea of just how big a drop that is, America once ranked #1.
So, what is the cause, and what can be done to stop its seemingly inexorable slide?
In my young adult adventure series, Central Park Story, I attempt to resolve the issue by asking a slightly different question: what is education and how exactly do we learn? If we know the answer to that, the former question might become moot.
To cut to the chase, I don’t offer my readers a scientifically precise answer. After all, I am writing a fictional story meant to entertain! But in clarifying (and dramatizing) the issues, I suggest that a more open curriculum where mentoring plays a major role, is absolutely key.
This puts the burden, not on the curriculum or even the students. but on the quality and training of the teachers and the way they teach.
As is the teacher, so is the student.