Oftentimes here in the states we look at school as a place to go to learn about who we are and who we want to be. The definifion of school however can be different to each individual being that there is no uniformed rubric on who gets the attention, information, and social experience neccessary to maximize ones potential. I say the states because as years have passed we’ve steadily declined in testing in comparison to other parts of the world where the information you recieve isn’t tailored to the whole but rather the persons interest. I say the whole because in the states our curriculums are meant to suit everyone, and in the proccess of doing so its eliminated an essential part of why we go to school which is self discovery.
When examining the educational practices of Japan, India, Germany, and China our main economic competitors, it appears as though the main focus is to instill the obvious intellectual tools such as math, science, english, and history but to do so in a timely manner so the young adult can focus on their chosen life path. The average person in these countries are often in career oriented institutions or universities before the age of 18 vs here when 18 is the target age to graduate and then forced to relearn an enhanced version of the curriculum just recieved in four years of high school. After finishing your four year degree you can continue to get a masters, doctorate, or professional degree.
Careers that tend to ask for the latter usually are careers that pay well, hold a certain level of status within our society, and also require more intellectual stamina….thats not to say they’re more intelligent than the person managing your local movie theater or restaurant its just that theres a heightened level of dedication and attention required for these particular career paths. To pursue this road of higher education and attain these degrees, however, even though revered it must be acknowledged, that its somewhat of an unneccessary strain on the person and society as well.
The societal factors that we often have trouble solving can be addressed in a more effecient way if we adopted some of the practices of these other countries. Trade schools and career institutes in the states depending on where you grow up and what honors or advanced placement situations you get put into get looked at in a way that is not only damaging to potential productive members of our society but also the infrastructure that keeps our country going and afloat. The way we percieve the importance and focus on infrastructure in the country in many ways reflects the manner in how well the country runs not only from an economic standpoint but also from a logistical standpoint.
Doctors need offices not hospitals, Lawyers need offices not courts, Plumbers need factories, Electrictians need wharehouses, and the list goes on but the point i’m trying to make is a healthy give and take is neccessary for prosperity in a country and not getting started at life til your almost thirty and in debt is not how countries that thrive operate.
I tend to feel as though an unhealthy obligation to schooling and degrees can alter a persons potential…when you dedicate 8 plus years post high school to more school your tied into that career path whether you like it or not. When the path for these careers start at a younger age it not only gives you a different level of flexibility in life, but the opportunity to really indulge in that chosen path and achieve high levels of success, or to see what other options are available without completely putting life on hold.