American Culture — What Part Does It Play?

On the Larry King Show ( September 28, 2010), panelists debated reasons that the performance of American students has declined in our schools. I have a lot to say on this topic as well, but wasn’t ready to add a new page to my website. However, Ben Stein, well-known TV personality, political commentator, and actor (science teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) made quite a few contributions to the discussion. Time and again he stated that the decline of ¬†American culture is the reason that our students aren’t performing. He did not blame teachers! Thank you, Mr. Stein!

In order to get you thinking about this topic, here’s a link to someone else who agrees with Mr. Stein. In the September 13, 2010 issue of Newsweek is Robert J. Samuelson’s column entitled “Why School ‘Reform’ Fails: Student Motivation is the Problem.” In his column he makes such assertions as:

“The larger cause of failure is almost unmentionable: shrunken student motivation. Students, after all, have to do the work. If the students aren’t motivated, even capable teachers may fail.”

“The unstated assumption of much school ‘reform’ is that if students aren’t motivated, it’s mainly the fault of schools and teachers. The reality is that . . . the authority of teachers and schools has eroded.”

If we want to reform our schools, we must take a look at this topic. Has our culture declined from some past point in time? If so, in what ways? If so, what caused this decline? If so, what can we do about it?

Please leave your thoughts below in the comment section.

November 9, 2010 – Tonight on NBC News Brian Williams showed a clip with a reporter in Finland, who asked why Finland has the best education system in the world. Take a look.

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