A recent poll shows that Americans no longer rank education as one of the top three most important issues we face as a nation. It now ranks seventh.
Seventh. That’s right. Are you surprised? I’m not. Ranking education seventh is the logical consequence of human nature. For years–decades–we as an educated people committed ourselves to solving America’s education shortfalls. We poured money into improving our schools, wrote volumes about the causes and effects, changed policy after policy in the chase for the best way to Solve Our Problem. The result? America ranks worse now than ever–
The United States, we’re told, had the world’s best college-graduation rate as recently as 1995, but 10 years later ranked 15th.
American education ranks almost at the bottom of all developed nations.
“American children consume [nearly] 90 percent of Ritalin worldwide. Yet American education ranks way down the list when you compare us with other countries.”
It seems no matter our policies, our investment, or the blood of our hearts and souls, we are doomed to failure in the eyes of educators and the world. Since Those That Know will never tell us we are succeeding, why not give up? Will that be worse than failing?
Wait. Isn’t that someone’s definition of failure–giving up? Either way, education won’t get worse.
Here’s the article that started me on this tirade–He** yes, we no longer prioritize education at the top. We’re giving that slot to some cause we believe we might succeed at:
Poll Reveals How Americans Prioritize Education
For as long as I can remember, we have always cited that “education” is a top three issue in the eyes of the American people. While we may debate whether it is a subject on which we cast our votes (and there is little to show that education policy has any effect on national campaigns), it is supposedly an issue that we hold near and dear. So much so that just last year the Gates and Broad Foundations used Ed in 08/Stronger American Schools to try and push education through the win/place/show list to make it THE major driver in the 2008 presidential elections.
Funny how quickly things can change. Education may have long been a top-three concern, but according to a recent national poll, it is now barely making the top 10. Rasmussen recently surveyed Americans on their priorities, asking the question, “How important is it for the nation to face these issues …” One could answer “very important” to any and all of the categories. Following are those issues that scored very important (and how many of those surveyed thought so):
Government ethics and corruption — 83 percent
Economy — 82 percent
Health care — 73 percent
National security — 67 percent
Social Security — 65 percent
Taxes — 62 percent
Education — 59 percent
War in Iraq — 49 percent
Immigration — 49 percent