The Gap Between American Education Standards and the Rest of the World

Should Americans be required to learn a second language in school?

The Gap Between American Education Standards and the Rest of the World

Emma Picaro, Contributor

The United States, which has one of the strongest economies and is considered the most mindful of civil liberties in the world, should have one of the best education systems.  However, according to the MBC Times, the United States Educational System does not even crack the top 10 in the world, but instead is ranked at 14. Other sources rank the U.S. even lower; BBC News and The Independent rank the U.S. at 28 and 29 respectively. Try an interactive map of world education ratings here.

The disconnect between being one of the most developed countries in the world and not being able to educate the next generation begins in the youngest grades.  Students are slowly eased into subjects, which is not the way to learn. United States schools should take the hint from the rest of the world’s education standards and immerse children in their curriculum. Instead of starting language studies near the end of middle school and the beginning of high school, students should begin at an early age.

European schools start teaching a second language, usually English, on the first day of kindergarten.  Because of this, European students usually have the chance to achieve fluency in a third, or even fourth language in all of their years of schooling.  Implementing a bilingual education for all public schools will correlate to a higher educational ranking because  a second language can help teach discipline and perseverance, as well as open the door to a multitude of new cultures, traditions, and views.  These benefits to early language skills will allow the United States to regain its respected educational system.

Students at Nashoba have a choice of taking Spanish, French, German, or Latin, and are required to take any one of these languages for at least two years. But is this enough?  Emily Recko, who has taken German for all four years of her high school career, believes that four years is not enough to learn a language effectively. She states, “I wish I had more time to learn the nuts and bolts of the grammar, because I feel like a lot is lost in translation.  With even a few more years of German education, I could speak the language much easier.”

Other students who have taken a language for four years are also frustrated.  Four-year Latin student Michael Fulciniti decided that he wanted more of a chance to immerse himself in the language, so he helped create Nashoba’s Latin Club, of which he is president.  He firmly believes that “we should be learning more languages because they help us communicate, which is way more useful than being able to find the derivative of an equation.”