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Jessica McLeod
Professor Malcolm Campbell
English 1103
February 8, 2015
Stupid Americans
Introduction/Overview
I am interested in the quality of American education. Weve all heard that American
education is ranked pretty low compared to other world nations. Shouldnt we have one of the
best education systems since were a leading country in other areas?
I found an article on the Huffington post about how American education is failing its
students. Although it is a biased article, the author Kaitlyn Kaminski, is sharing a very realistic
truth. She said Our education system has taught us that we should be good at taking tests and
nothing more. This eighteen year old high school graduate mentioned something that I believe
almost every American can agree with; Ten years from now, I probably won't remember what a
logarithm is or how to calculate the number of significant figures. Our current education system
isnt designed to promote intelligence and future success in its students, but rather a good GPA.
According to Professor Paul Peterson, director of the Program on Education Policy and
Governance at Harvard, education in America is a big mess of people pointing fingers at others.
He says We sort of have an educational system where no ones in control. We dont know
whether its the local school board, or whether its the state government, or whether its the
federal government. In an interview he shares that if Massachusetts was a nation by itself, it
would be ranked among the smartest nations in the world based on testing. The rest of America is

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falling behind many countries around the world. We ranked low in 2009, and weve been
dropping a little lower every year. I want to know why!
Initial Inquiry Question(s)
My overall research question is Why is America ranked 36th in the world in education
and what can we do to change that?
My Interest in this Topic
Through my involvement in a kindergarten classroom over the last two years I have
found a passion for teaching. I am interested in this topic because I want to be a teacher in a
country that is looked up to for our education system. I care about what is wrong and what I can
personally do as an individual teacher in the future to help my students succeed. I dont want to
only teach my kindergarten students how to add numbers. I want them to learn how to learn, how
to be self-motivated, and how to succeed. I want to know why other countries are thriving when
it comes to school, and learning. I already know that Finland and Shanghai are the leading
countries in education and that America is 36th. I want to know more about why both of those
things occurred, to learn what is best, and how Americans can change the education system.
I believe this is a good topic for a semesters worth of research inquiry because it is a
specific question that I can go into great detail about. There are many questions related to my
topic that I would be able to research and answer in the search for an answer to my initial
question. I want to know more about our grading system compared to countries ranked above us
in this field. I want to know more about teachers, teacher salaries, educational focuses and
curriculums. I also want to know what Americans can do to better our education system to raise
up a future generation more interested in learning rather than getting a good test grade in third
grade and forgetting everything they learned after that.

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Next Steps
The first thing I will be doing is basic research to finalize a list of questions that I want
my research to focus on. I want to find statistics from the U.S. government and international
websites. I want to find statistics on tests taken by students around the world. I will use the
library website to find reliable, scholarly information that I can use to back up what I will be
writing about and learning about.