Is The U.S. Education System Too Broken To Fix?

Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Every Monday that isn't a national holiday, Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture.

This Week's Panel: Fat Tony, Kyle Hubbard, Renzo, Brad Gilmore

Not Invited: President Obama, mostly because he's not a rapper

This Week's Prompt: President Obama recently conducted his "Young Americans" town meeting, and one of the subjects brought up was education; specifically, how he (we/USA) is working to improve it.

At this point, is it seriously possible for there to be a major reform to the American pubilc education system, or has it slipped too far from the top to do anything but be mediocre - which, theoretically, would only increase the chasm between the rich and the poor? Or does it not even matter because the smart will always be smart and the dumb will always be dumb?

Fat Tony: There's always room for change when it comes to education. We gotta stop treating kids like they're mediocre if we want to rise above mediocrity. The typical public school curriculum is bullshit. Kids have the potential to be less stupid than ever. Let's not waste it.

Kids are blessed with so much free access to knowledge daily, online and offline. We need to take more advantage of this. We can't dumb down everything all the time anymore. A little thinking can't hurt. Might as well think before it's illegal. I know some teachers that think we're fucked for life but I've got hope.

Kyle Hubbard: As a community-college dropout, I may not be the best person to give his two cents on this topic, but I do have an opinion on it. I feel like the education system is far gone off-track, but not too far gone-off track. I believe there is still a way to restore it, but that's not to say I know how or [that] it will be easy.

I think the education system is extremely reflective of the American mindset as a whole. I was doing some research on this movie coming out called Waiting For Superman and there was a statistic that really blew me away: American students rank damn near last for math and science skills, but when students were asked how they thought they stood in those departments, American students thought themselves to be the front runners.

So, basically, one of the worst thinks they are the best, and I think this says a lot about the main problem with the education system: Not enough people think there is a problem. It all ties into the notion of American exceptionalism. Like, I do think America is great, and really has the potential to be the absolute best with the stats to back it, but before we get to that point we have to address the things that are keeping us from that position.

The education system is obviously one of the main things we have to take a very critical look at. But like I said, don't ask for me for advice; I'll just tell you to drop out and rap.

Renzo: It is very possible for the educational system to be reformed. The public grade-school system can create a new curriculum that prepares students for the age we currently live in with a stroke of a pen. What's cool about college, though, is that you have a bunch of competition out there such as Lone Star, University of Phoenix, University of Houston-Downtown and other online schools that are causing everyone to step their game up. It is a very feasable victory.

Brad Gilmore: Well, seeing as though I'm probably the only one on this [panel] that is still in high school, there is not much that can be done. At the school I go to, they are more worried about re-doing the auditorium (that cost them millions to do) and outfitting the hallways with 40" flat-screen televisions.

So at my school, education really comes second - making the school look mildly presentable is what they are worried about. I know this because in two of my classes there aren't enough desks to seat everybody, nor are there enough textbooks for everyone in the class.

I commend President Obama for trying to start some sort of educational reform, but I do feel that it's a tad late. I'm not saying that it's impossible, but not for a long time, and certainly not in the amount of time I'm still in school (which is seven months). I do think there needs to be some sort of reform, but there's never going to be a perfect educational system.

We can, however, start with making sure students have the means necessary to learn, make sure that the football coaches stop teaching our core classes (math, science, English and history), and make sure that money is spent on things the school actually needs.

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