I have a deep concern for our education system in the United States. I don't believe young people are receiving the quality of education needed to survive in this world successfully. I will give you some examples from my own life that will explain what I mean.
As a child, my parents had wanderlust, so we moved all the time. I often would not get to complete a year of school because we moved so often. I had to skip the fourth grade and be educated at home by my mother so I could test into the fifth grade instead of being a year behind. Now, I'm not stupid but I'm not a genius either, so this was a big leap for me. I suffered socially as well, but not as much as I would have suffered if I had been held back, and I did just fine in the fifth grade, even though my mother had not been the best teacher.
I dropped out of school for medical reasons in the 9th grade, and never went back. Several years later my husband was taking courses at college, and I lived on campus, and he always told me I was stupid because I quit school, so I decided to get my GED. I had two toddlers in diapers at the time, so study time was limited, but I took the test anyhow and the college not only granted me my GED, but they used those scores as my SAT scores and I started college in Accounting. I graduated number one in the state of Colorado, and was given the Gold Key Award by the Colorado Society of CPA's. Yet, when I got my first job, I could not even figure out where to start when it came to keeping books for a business. I was making "T" accounts when I should have been reconciling loans and bank accounts. Where does the failure begin? Is it with the student who may or may not grasp the material, or with the school who isn't teaching life as well as a career to students?
Colleges tend to teach the theory of things but not the reality of day-to-day life in accounting. It's not a difficult area, not really, but it is difficult if you have no idea what is supposed to happen and how it all flows together in a real life situation.
Years later I decided to get my masters in Psychology, and I chose to do it online because I was disabled at the time and it was easier. Beware of schools that teach online. Many of them are legitimate but many are shell companies for corporations with only profit in mind.
I found that online learning is a better form of learning, at least it was for me. Nobody lectures or sits right there answering your questions. You have peers that help you out as well in brick and mortar schools whereas you are quite limited in that area with online learning. With online learning it is essential that you are capable of critical thinking and reading between the lines. Often there are assignments that seem to have nothing to do with the reading material, but that is where critical thinking comes in, makes you think until your brain hurts, and then it all comes together. That is what it takes to succeed in life, an ability to think critically about situations and come to a conclusion.
My big question is how, with an average IQ such as I have, could I skip grades when younger and quit school in the ninth grade and still come out on top? Yes, I studied hard, no doubt about that, but sometimes even that isn't enough. How can one skip high school and go right into college and excel if high school is so important?
Perhaps it is the students that are the reason education fails, but I believe it takes two, both the student and the school, to place a person in the world who has superior knowledge, the credentials to prove it, and the desire to succeed. Schools need to stop telling graduates that they have the world at their fingertips, because they don't. They need to stress instead that it takes work and determination to get ahead in life, no matter what degree you have, or what grades.