Alright folks, today I want to talk about the state of education in the United States. They say the state of U.S. education compared to the rest of the world has regressed while other countries have progressed. Why is this? We were the world’s superpower. Some people blame the current state of affairs on the public school system and its teachers. But, I think to do so is wrong.
It’s time to look in the mirror. If we want our kids to perform better in school, it is our responsibility to prepare them. It doesn’t even take that much. It doesn’t take much time and it doesn’t take much money. The capacity to learn is inside every child. Each one of them is filled with intelligence, and creativity. This intelligence and creativity must be nurtured to reach its full potential.
Have we become complacent in this country? Maybe so. How is it possible to have the largest network of education in the entire world and not consistently rank in the top on every subject? We have more schools from elementary to university than any other country. The means are there.
Let’s take the video game time down a notch, spend some time with our kids and read to them. A few minutes of care each day will last a lifetime. Teach them how to run on their own.
There have been many mighty empires over our short history. They have all come to an end. With success people become lazy. They want to enjoy the fruits of their labor. The people in poor countries are educating their children because they know it is the way out of their situation. They pour all their resources into their children. They understand knowledge is power. Perhaps it is time we remember this as well. Our children’s education is in our hands.
When the mind is cluttered, it is easy to lose focus. On a daily basis we lose our perspective and we forget about what is truly important. I’m as guilty of doing this as anyone else.
Unforeseen problems arise from minute to minute. I think it is the uncertain outcome which stirs fear and feeds it’s flames. We like to know what is going to happen. It makes us comfortable. Without this comfort our minds wander. We ask questions “What if?”
I look around and witness friends bothered by petty unimportant events. If we run around trying to control everything surrounding us, we end up controlling nothing. Or worse yet, we end up being controlled by our surroundings. The key is to master ourselves. We should learn to control our thoughts, our actions, and our emotions. Think about it, if you control your own emotions, you can be happy. Surely the mind is where all of this takes root. The mind tells your body what to do. Your mind is the place where you store your emotions. Your mind has the ability to destroy or the ability to heal. It is by far the strongest and most amazing muscle in the body.
The mind is nourished with knowledge and learning. From the years of learning sprout wisdom. Anyone who has gone from illiterate to literate will tell you it’s like having a million doors open before them. Suddenly options are available.
Illiteracy doesn’t just chain someone mentally; it can lead to a person straight to a place with cold steel bars. You might not believe the statistics or the scholars but surely you must take the word of those who have made their mistakes and suffered the consequences. I have sat hand in hand with people who could not read. It is painful to see a grown man unable to comprehend the words that my son could read at the age of five. I promise illiteracy is preventable. Everyone has the capacity. It just takes a little bit of effort and someone to care.
There are many reasons I champion the cause of literacy. In my youth, it gave me a source of comfort. In my boredom it gave me entertainment. In my life it has given me confidence. These are things I think everyone deserves to have. But, think of how much more productive our society would be if every prisoner around the world were transformed into doctors, teachers, firefighters, philanthropists or artists. Do I sound idealistic? I’m sure I do. But it’s only because I dream as if I’m gonna live forever and I live as if I will die tomorrow. I believe I read those words from James Dean.
Some Statistics about Literacy
Why learn to read early?
Two-thirds of students who can not read proficiently by the end of the fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Fourth grade is the watershed year!!!!
According to UNICEF, “Nearly a billion people will enter the twenty-first century unable to read a book or sign their names. Two-thirds of them are women.
Literacy stats & juvenile court
85% of al juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.
More than 60% of all prision inmates are functionally illiterate.
Penal institution records show, inmates have a 16% chance of returning to prison if they receive literacy help as opposed to 70% who receive no help.
The Dept. of Justice states
“The link between academic failure, delinquency, violence, and crime is WELDED to reading failure.”
Over 70% of inmates in America’s prisons can not read above a fourth grade level.
The ills of America are directly related to illiteracy
One child in four grows up not knowing how to read
43% of adults at level one literacy skills live in poverty compared to only 4% of those at level five.
3 out of 4 food stamp recipients perform in the lowest two literacy levels
90% of welfare recipients are high school dropouts.
16 to 19 year old girls at the poverty level and below, with below average reading skills are 6 times more likely to have out of wedlock children than their reading counterparts
Low literacty costs$73 million per year in direct health care costs. A recent stucy by Pfizer puts it even higher.
Now are we just going to sit around or are we going to do something about this.!!!!!!