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Current state of American education
In the United States of America, both the public and private schools are liable for the provision of education within the entire nation. In accordance with funding and the full control by the local, state, and federal government, there is universal availability of public schools across the whole nation (Orland, 2011). Empowered by the jurisdictions over school districts, the locally elected school boards are responsible for setting the education policies, funding, employment, teaching, and the formulation of the public schools' curriculum (Frank, 2012). Additionally, the state governments control the standardized tests and educational standards for public school systems. On the other hand, private schools are free to determine their own staffing policies, as well as their curriculum via voluntary accreditation available with the regional independent accreditation authority. Educational statistics reveal that approximately 85% of school age children go to public schools, 10% attend private learning institutions while about 5% remain home-schooled. Despite the bottomless efforts put into learning programs and systems by the three governments, education in the U.S. faces a number of challenges that tend to diminish its worth (David, 2011). However, regular implementation of reforms occurs in order to counter the education hitches, in order to offer the best educational services to the citizens, hence appropriate and improved knowledge and skills.
American education for children is compulsory over the early ages ranging from five to eight years, and ending by sixteen to eighteen of age, depending on the state of a child. This condition is achievable through educating children in state-certified private schools, public schools, or approved programs for home schools. According to Frank (2012), in a number of common programs, education goes through four levels, that is, an elementary school, junior or middle school, high school and the tertiary learning. Generally, the academic performance influences the perception over educational program of a school. In relations to this notion, rural schools perform better than their urban colleagues in two essential areas: test scores and rates of drop-outs. Students in smaller schools perform better than or equal to those in larger or established schools. Moreover, the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) of 2005 revealed that 8 thgrade, 4th grade and 12th grade students in small schools, scored better in reading, mathematics, and science as compared to their counterparts in larger schools. This test disclosed great disparities of between mathematics scores and reading by the students within the economically impoverished area schools, as opposed to students in the affluent area schools. In America, education is primarily a local and State responsibility. Both the communities and states establish colleges, schools, determine enrolment and graduation requirements, and develop the school curriculum.
Various policy recommendations are in place to counter and/or completely eradicate the educational problems. One of the policies is the implementation of educational assessments and expectations with a vital aim of protecting the national security. Orland (2011) elicits that with the help of industrial partners and federal governments, states have the obligation to opening up common core state education standards, ascertaining that the students absorb the knowledge and skills essential for safeguarding the national security. Second, the system formulation should be in a way that allows for structural changes hence providing students with favorable choices. Positive competition and enhanced choice within an environment should prevail to allow for equitable allocation of resources. This can propel the innovations required for transformation of results. Thirdly, launching an audit of national security readiness can help in holding policymakers and schools accountable for outcomes and raising public awareness. There opt to be a coordinated national effort that helps in assessment of whether students are harvesting the skills and knowledge required to safeguard American security and property in the future. There should be the publication of the results in order to involve the American in problem solution and success building.
The most relevant source of laws for education reforms has been the implementation of "parent trigger" (Kelly, 2012). This approach has been useful to many states, such as the State of California. Here, parents of children or students enrolled in chronically failing schools have the mandate to petition and unseat the current staff and school leadership. Under this reform or approach, there are options that include the replacement of principals or the existing faculties, conversion into a chartered school, or the committee may pass a law to close a school entirely. This has been successfully applicable in several states as it keeps the sitting principals, as well as the entire school leadership on toes. According to Kelly (2012), the parent trigger offers reformers a new technique of improving learning. Over a number of decades of focusing on parental choice as the only way of pressurizing the improvement of traditional schools, reformers finally have a direct route of influencing traditional schools. This trigger renders parents an option through loyalty and choice for learning institutions.
Once the parents are capable of collecting sufficient signatures, the school must then listen to their joint voice. Parents whose children attend learning institution that chronically fail to fulfill the expectations can join hands to demand changes (Leithwood, Louis, Anderson & Wahlstrom, 2004). For example, in the State of California, if organizers are capable of convincing the majority of parent into signing a petition and coming to an agreement on the four improvement models currently preferred by the federal government, then the district have the obligation to implementing it. The four options include (i) conversion of the surviving school to a charter within similar school buildings. (ii) Replacement of at least half of the teaching staff and the principal, and offering additional control over budgeting and staffing (Leithwood, Louis, Anderson & Wahlstrom, 2004). (iii) Firing the principal, while keeping the school intact. (iv) Closing the poorly performing school and sending students to the nearby better performing schools.
Another essential component of education reforms has been the "No Child Left Behind." It intends to ensure that not a single student/child remains behind, and every one of them receives the best and equal education. This reform requires that every child be offered a state assessment in mathematics and reading in grade three through grade eight. Supposing a student fails a test, the judgment is that one has not achieved good education from the learning institution. Perhaps, mathematics, reading and science have become the most valuable education content. Students who perform poorly in these disciplines are at risk (Matt, 2010). The adoption of assessments and standards which prepare students for academic success in college and work success is another reform policy. The system should be able to measure students' success and academic development, and inform teachers and principals of the recommended improvements.
Previous records elicit that the United States had been a world-leader in quality education for over decades; however this case no longer prevails. Elaborately, current facts about the current condition of the American K-12 public education system reveal low expectations from the American students. The rank or position of the American students is twenty-fifth out of thirty nations when compared to students among the thirty industrialized countries across the globe. By the end of eighth grade, American students are about twenty four months behind in the mathematics studied by their peers within other developed countries (David, 2011). About 68% of the eighth grade students cannot read and fit their grade levels; hence will never catch up easily. Additionally, lots of students drop out of school. Approximately 1.5 million students quit from school yearly; that is, over 6,500 students in every school day and at least one student dropping out of school in every twenty six seconds (David, 2008). The annual national graduation rate from high school, only amounts to seventy percent with the rates extremely low for minority students.
The failure of the U.S.A. To educate her students renders her unpreparedness for competition. This also threatens the ability of this nation to flourish in the global economy in order to maintain the leadership role. This failure also puts the future of economic prosperity, physical safety and global position of the United States at a hefty risk (Matt, 2010). As a result, the country will not be capable of keeping the global competitive pace unless it makes a move towards fixing the problems. A number of scholarly reports denote that even if the United States continuously invest more and more in k-12 public education as compared to her developed counterparts, her students will continue to be ill prepared for global competition. According to results from the PISA (program for international student assessment) of 2009; an international assessment designed to measure the scores and performance of fifteen-year-olds in mathematics, science, and reading every three-years term, the American students rank seventeen in science, fourteen in reading, and twenty-five in mathematics as compared to other students in developed countries (Orland, 2011). Despite the success of individual schools alongside promising efforts of reforms, the national educational outcome statistics are controversial. In civics, only a third of U.S. students are skillful on…[continue]
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