8 min read

Television, Education, and The Future

Over the years I have watched many shows. Ok, fine... many many shows. Much of it in Asian origin ... I feel the quality of American shows is on the rise.
Television, Education, and The Future
Photo by Edwin Andrade / Unsplash

Let's talk for a moment about television. Over the years I have watched many shows. Ok, fine... many many shows. Much of it in Asian origin. Recently I have found a bit of an affinity again for American drama shows. Much as it seems to pain both me, and my Asia-filic friends to admit it, or to see it. Nonetheless, I feel the quality of American shows is on the rise. I see more mature content on television now. And to be candid, I don't mean, porn or soft-core... I mean shows covering topics difficult for even an adult mind to cope with.

Unfortunately, this is something I find to be a mixed bag. On the one hand, I love that "Kyle XY" covers premarital sex as a family group, and at the same time, I understand the argument from "Christian Response" which seems to say that "Kyle XY" and other modern shows seem to be increasingly endorsing or otherwise promoting the engagement in premarital sex. To the same extent, I applaud the open discussion of the topic and feel it is appropriate for Hollywood to raise the issue and force the topic upon parents who may otherwise avoid the discussion with their children until it is, perhaps, too late to do so.

I have recently engaged myself in the watching of "Kyle XY", "The West Wing", "Grey's Anatomy" and other American prime-time drama shows which show an amazingly intelligent and balanced viewpoint to topics that many Americans find difficult to cover or discuss. Unfortunately, I think that these same Americans don't like to discuss issues they feel under-informed or uninformed about. At least not openly with those of an opposing viewpoint because they feel as though they will be patronized. This weak-mindedness in American culture is a continuing struggle of mine to interpret. I don't understand it. And the reason for this, I think, is because I find simple ways to interpret both sides of an argument. That's not to say that I am not pig-headed sometimes. In fact, I am often guilty of this very real dilemma on my own.

Overlooking issues with a personal, national, or global reach is never a good idea. In a society where almost everyone procrastinates on things we know to be completely necessary we often find ourselves shooting ourselves in the foot and making already difficult issues, increasingly more difficult because of our own inadequacies to approach them.

I raise these issues and place them under a political banner here because as I look forward and interpret where we are as a people. As a city. As a State, and as a Nation... I see a very real and looming danger for all of us. The reluctance of the United States to reform our education system to protect our future as a nation and as a society continues to haunt my dreams. In a society where we seem to prefer difficult topics presented to us in mediocre and inadequate form through television, movies, and comedy I am finding it increasingly frustrating to explain to people the very real danger we are in.

Politicians sweep education under the table for more pressing matters of golf or passing bills written and directed by the highest bidder. Americans are contented with things as they are save for a few desired tweaks here and there they think will improve their own lives. No one seems to truly care about our future as a people. The future of our society's children, and their welfare to come. The "boomers" are more concerned with shrinking pensions and their own retirement than the welfare of the grandchildren they now or will soon have.

Our society has devolved into a court of gratuitous greed and rather gregarious self-preservation despite our place atop the platform of Earth's people. Which, by the way, is in very real danger. I have mentioned before the fouls which caused the downfall of the Roman and Spanish empires. Even the British empire fell because of its own ineptitude. If there is one thing the people of America have to learn it's history. And not just our own. Though I admit our own history has much to be noted, especially the parts not written in our history books. But rather we need to look to the history of the world and those who study such history for a primer on what it is we need to do next.

Such a line of thinking in today's society is usually met with some banter about how modern thinking should not be dictated by historical thought. After all, we're more civilized now than at any time in humanity's past. Right? Running water, electricity, computers, the internet, solar power, genetics... how can these not place us above having to think about the past when preparing for the future? All I can say is that the same very logical arguments were made during every major era of human progress. Such thinking was present after the formation of the United States as a sovereign nation, post the war for our independence, after our own Civil War, after the Civil Rights movement, after Women's Rights and it continues today with the fight for the right to sexual choice.

I say no fight should go forward without having first contemplated the past. Our generals would not go to war without first engaging basic principles developed by Sun Tsu thousands of years ago. The very same reasoning should be applied to the development of our nation. We need to look to the past and review ideals that worked, and those which didn't. We need to look to the future. To the very survival of America as the world's only remaining superpower.

With rising threats of terrorism, middle-eastern war, looming Asian conflicts, and more we cannot forget to take pause and consider where we are, how we got here, and where we really need to be. The protection of America should not come at the expense of any of our rights let alone those of such fundamental value as Habeas Corpus (the right to question the reasons for one's detainment). It should also not come at the expense of the ability of our children to follow the first statements of our own Constitution which sought to establish a nation where anyone could freely follow the "pursuit of happiness".

This is, however, the very motion we make as we move forward. By denying the necessity of not only planning to overhaul our education system so it is competitive for today as well as tomorrow but also for that very system to be easily refined through time so that future generations do not repeat the same mistakes we have today. As I write this America's junior high and high schools place far lower on the world's placement lists than they should for a nation of our stature.

It is not my intention to propose legislation on my own. I do not consider myself to currently be of standing merit to do so. Nonetheless, I see a very real looming threat should our nation not take that threat seriously. China and India are already taking jobs from Americans. Granted it is not completely because they are trying to, but also because we have not reacted to the change from a nation-based economy to a global one.

Such a change is not a simple one. It cannot be made on a corporate or a band-aid level. It would need to be made at a very real base level of our society. It could only be made by convincing the American public that such an undertaking is the responsibility not only of the government but also of its people. We cannot sit back and expect the world to not try and pass us by. Because they will.

Once we can all admit that it is the responsibility of all to take care of all, we can once again gain traction as the premiere nation to reside and seek a future in. Until that time we will be confined to a sinking status amongst the world community and an ever-shrinking sphere of influence amongst the powers of the world.

The language of the universe is written in Mathematics. An area the United States has consistently ranked very low in scholastic performance but ranked very highly when it comes to research or technological development. As the future looks to incorporate much more mathematics-based needs into everyday jobs the very real, and ever-pressing need to stress high scholastic achievement in this area cannot be stressed enough. Sadly such arguments fall upon uncaring ears in our political arms.

Most Americans understand that a good school system is a good thing. It means a stronger future for their children and higher property values. However, most Americans grew up in a world where schools were only ranked against other schools in their own geographic area, or only against other schools inside the United States. Unfortunately such a limited scope is no longer an appropriate scale. Schools need to perform highly on a global level to provide our children with an appropriately fundamental future. Without this foundational change, we cannot truly hold our schools to a higher performance standard than we have for the past sixty years.

When the "boomers" were growing up schools were changing. And to no particular degree, they did so several times, and they did so drastically. They dealt with the integration of races as well as redesigning the American educational system for the "future" which then took them from 1960 until 1990. The system which at the time was designed to provide America with more technical (think mechanical) and industry workers, has extended it's stay twenty years past its design.

Current and future economies will rely on an increasingly more technical (think computers) society. While our children grow up understanding technology better than their teachers do the system does not feed into their faster learning styles. Instead, we rely on antiquated learning systems based much more on repetition and memorization which in many cases does not satisfy the speed hunger younger minds have in this era. As time moves forward we can expect this issue to only grow bigger and bigger. And throwing band-aids at the issue isn't going to make it go away. Instead, we're going to be placing casts upon our children making them increasingly immobile as they grow older and we expect them to grow into productive members of society.

As a debt all of society is burdened with, we must move forward with ensuring their future is provided for in the most basic and fundamental ways by restructuring our educational systems and directives. Where this process starts is likely to be of some debate. Many will lay blame on the slow-moving behemoth of a government we've grown over the past two hundred forty years as a nation. Others will place education oversight as a State's right. And yet others will point to education control being something of a local government matter.

I obviously have some strong opinions on the matter. I would very much enjoy feedback and thoughts on the topic as I am continuing to review how I feel we should proceed as a nation. Sometimes I feel the federal government should take a stronger hand in forcing the reformation of such a fundamental and socially beneficial need. Other times I feel that doing so would impede upon some of the very foundations I feel our nation needs to protect from its formation in the form of State's Rights.

In any event, a very real cancer is not too far from becoming a blight upon the American people which could have, and should be prevented. I have hope in the American system. And I have hope in Americans. But with today's society becoming more dependent on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" for the accurate portrayal of National and World news, as well as Hollywood to bring us difficult topics, I continue to worry that my faith and hope may be misplaced.