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Unveiling the Pitfalls in American Education


Many critics of the American education system argue that it cannot be classified as a progressive tool because it suffers from systemic flaws that render it ineffective. Although improvements have been made in this area, addressing these long-term challenges is necessary for a solid education system. According to Zhoubo et al., Issues with curriculum development, conducive teaching-learning environment, and disciplinary approaches form the central pillars that underpin America’s education system. They cut across the country and affect its growth path; hence, they must be addressed adequately. Looking into issues of curriculum design, learning environments, and discipline bias brings out difficulties that hamper the system’s performance. These broad issues are analyzed in this essay, focusing on their impacts on personal development, social advancement, and the shared future of our country.

Curriculum design

The rigidness of the curricula design in the American educational structure strongly inhibits students’ learning paths and growth as a whole. From kindergartens, students are put in a restrictive curriculum, which confines them from interacting with various learning materials, thus leading to a lack of creativity (Ashraf, p.19481). Concerning high school and college students, the constriction becomes extremely severe, with mandatory courses dominating the educational setting, giving limited space to pursue personal interests and choices. This all-in-one model impedes holistic learning as it disregards learners’ unique personalities.

A noteworthy effect of such strictness is that an absolutely STEM focus has shadowed humanities and art programs. Therefore, pupils are denied holistic education encompassing a critical mind and creative thought processes leading to a global understanding of the universe. An article by the NEA emphasizes that often, the content is designed for an average learner, and thus, it leaves an intelligent child or one who is finding the work difficult (Ashraf, p.19481). The need for more flexibility in accommodating different learning speeds and patterns stifles the development of thinking skills crucial for survival in a rapidly changing environment.

This strict curriculum design provides little room for learning outside the classroom and needs to adequately equip students with skills that can be applied in the complex world of contemporary life. The current system discourages the development of crucial life skills in the students by emphasizing conformity instead of individuality and standardization rather than holistic growth, resulting in the need for more readiness among students to deal with non-classroom challenges and opportunities (Ashraf, p.19481). Consequently, the inflexible curriculum design is a major impediment to producing adaptable, innovative, and critical-thinking persons needed in today’s world of flexibility.

learning environments

The learning environment within American educational systems poses multiple problems involving differences in physical facilities, technology access, and virtual learning conditions among regional areas and within specific economic categories. Such disparities constitute significant hurdles against the overall education development among all children (Oliveira et al., p.184). The differences are very deep, have a massive impact on poor people, and worsen existing social problems within societies and states.

The physical learning environment differs from one place to another in terms of available resources, infrastructure, and general learning conditions. Lack of necessary school’ amenities, outdated equipment, and a shortage of education resources are common in economically deprived regions (Oliveira et al., p.189). These circumstances inhibit the learning process, hence leading to inequality in education.

Besides, technology also has a crucial part to play in modern education. Nevertheless, it is difficult for students from marginalized backgrounds to obtain current technology. Based on the NCES Report 2020, many children from poor backgrounds need critical technologies. The digital gap limits their academic development and makes it difficult for them to adjust to advances vital in modern society. The switch to virtual instruction exacerbated these disparities during the pandemic. This posed difficulties for some students in getting steady internet connections that were strong and appropriate gadgets for distant learning (Oliveira et al., p.195). This disadvantaged them significantly, worsening their already poor chances of achieving an education on equal footing as whites.

The learning inequalities of these environments come with serious repercussions. These affect academics and can curtail students’ life opportunities and help maintain an unequal society. Often, students who cannot afford a a good learning environment do not compete well with their more privileged colleagues even though they may be talented and deserving of higher education or career opportunities.

Disciplinary practices

The effectiveness of education in the US is also affected by different disciplinary practices in various learning sectors. A prevalent one-fit-for-all approach engages students in iron casts that prevent them from growing and being successful while hindering the growth of innovation (Paugh and Kristen, p.125). This is particularly apparent in STEM disciplines, where the emphasis on an unbending curriculum precludes broad learning and open inventiveness.

However, STEM education tends to be confined in a narrow mound enforcing by-hearted repetition rather than inventive thinking. Students cannot explore multiple views and use what they learn to address problems because of this controlled way (Paugh and Kristen, p.125). Unintentionally, it stifles the curiosity that is necessary for scientific discovery, as well as technological invention.

Further, it is worth noting that this compartmentalization within STEM disciplines limits the holistic understanding of intricate problems. Students are often discouraged from combining knowledge derived across disciplines in solving complex problems leading to general solutions. However, this sectorized education encourages narrow-mindedness that limits adaption to the diverse challenges of the contemporary world.

For example, such discipline practices have gone a long way in their implications beyond an individual’s academic performance. These inhibit the development of society, in which there is a need for integrative and creative approaches to solving the issues in the world (Paugh and Kristen, p.125). Rigid STEM disciplinary practices cannot meet this demand for a holistic approach that integrates disciplines, from climate change to health and sustainable development.

Therefore, disciplinary practices need reforming so that we can have an all-around workforce equipped to tackle modern problems adequately. Encouraging cross-discipline studies to inspire new ideas and critical thinking in areas of STEM and beyond will not just improve our learning outcomes. Still, it will ultimately lead to discoveries and a stronger society.

Works Cited

Li, Zhoubo, et al. “Unveiling the Pitfalls of Knowledge Editing for Large Language Models.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2310.02129 (2023).

Alam, Ashraf. “Investigating sustainable education and positive psychology interventions in schools towards achievement of sustainable happiness and wellbeing for 21st century pedagogy and curriculum.” ECS Transactions 107.1 (2022): 19481.

Oliveira, Marta, et al. “Children environmental exposure to particulate matter and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and biomonitoring in school environments: A review on indoor and outdoor exposure levels, major sources and health impacts.” Environment international 124 (2019): 180-204.

Paugh, Patricia, and Kristen Wendell. “Disciplinary literacy in STEM: A functional approach.” Journal of Literacy Research 53.1 (2021): 122-144.

Kamfwa, Kennedy. Consciousness-Based Education and Workplace Competencies: A Grounded Theory Study of Maharishi Invincibility Institute Alumni. Diss. Maharishi University of Management, 2023.


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