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Downfall of American School Systems

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In our ever evolving world where some of the most popular things are plastic surgery,

self help books, and therapists, self-esteem is held on a high pedestal. Although having

good self-esteem is important we are now sacrificing our children’s academic learning

and possibly even their future success to protect it. After reading selections from authors

such as Martin L. Gross, Larry E. Frase and William Streshly I believe that the American

school system has many problems. American schools focus too much on building self-

esteem rather than academics and our bilingual programs are atrocious. Our students

need to be taught and prepared for the real world, not a world where everyone constantly

tells you how great you are. As Martin Gross says we live in a world where “rigor is

considered to be unwarranted, outmoded, and authoritarian (512)” If our schools

continue down this route our country will suffer the consequences of ill prepared leaders

and fall behind.

“The myth is that students must feel good about themselves before they can

learn. (Frase, Streshly 514)” I absolutely agree with Frase and Streshly on the subject of

self-esteem; although I do think self-esteem is important I don’t think it is something that

should be influenced upon you. Self-esteem is something that should be acquired through

life experiences of failure and success, things to actually be proud of. There will come

a time for these kids when they will actually have to try to succeed and if they fail it

could be very damaging. Many schools have actually made their curriculum less

challenging in order to protect kids from failure and build self-esteem. As a result of

these actions high school graduates must be taught remedial subjects in college. In Myth

5: Self-esteem Must Come First- Then Learning by Larry E. Frase and William Streshly

they speak out about this:

[. . .] California universities are providing remedial mathematics and English to

thousands of students, all of whom graduated in the top third of their high school

classes. The education system believed that self-confidence and high self-esteem

are the best ways to enhance confidence, and that this would improve scholastic

achievement and good citizenship in general.(515)

Students want to feel like they’ve earned their diploma so making courses easier to

protect self-esteem is pointless. I know that if I felt as though I didn’t overcome any

obstacles I wouldn’t be so proud of my accomplishment, as if I had cheated. I think

schools need to stop worrying so much about kids’ self-esteem and fulfill the reason they

were established, to teach.

I would also like to stress the importance of homework. Personally I dislike

homework as many others do but there is obviously value in doing it. Not only does it

enhance or challenge your grasp of a subject but it also teaches

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