December 14, 2005

A Failing School System

There are some obvious loop holes that prevent the US school system from being at par with other school systems around the world. The biggest loophole being that we Americans do not accept responsibility for this failure, and instead look for a stop-gap solutions for the problem. The “No Child Left Behind ‘is one such off-the-cuff solution, that now is doing more harm than good to the already ailing system. Change is not an overnight-fix; it has to be brought about methodically and gradually if it has to be all inclusive. If indeed it were done so, then there would be ‘no child left behind’!

The United States should consider having a national core curriculum, like it exists in countries like Japan, China, England, and India, that would mandate a certain level of academic competency across the states. This could be one definitive way of gradually increasing academic standards across the nation. A shared curriculum across state boundaries will also facilitate the build up of shared data bases for tests, projects, teaching strategies, teaching materials, and teacher resources. This in turn will give depth and scope to our education programs, and consequently the quality of the end products, in this case our students, will improve.

A national core curriculum will bring about a consistency in our teacher education programs as well, that have been under fire for the longest time. Having mentored several student teachers from various colleges and universities, I know to what degree education programs differ from college to college. Needless to say that none of these programs really prepare the student teacher for taking over a real classroom. A nationwide curriculum for schools will lend structure and balance to all teacher education programs. There will be a commonality of goals regardless of the college you attend. Furthermore when the novice teacher enters into a real world classroom she’ll find anchor in the national core curriculum, a document she’s already familiar with.

We do not have to become ‘second rate’ at anything if we can take responsibility for what is ours. Right now, it is our failing schools, our teachers, and our students that we need to call ours. Having done that, the next step is to strategize a gradual change in our educational system, and then what follows may not be the best, but it will definitely be something very close to the best.

6 comments:

bablu said...

Perfectly said... Yes you are right... Change should be gradual not stop gap - especially if it concerns education...

Anonymous said...

I agree, the no-child-left-behind system does not work. However, it is a national program, just like the one you suggest. Would it not imply that, in this federation of states that is the United States, trying to enforce a nationwide educational program is not advisable? Unlike the other countries you point to, the United States of America is a confederation of relatively independent states; the belief in states' rights is rather strong within the country. Perhaps that is why the nationwide Bush program did not work - the states did not wish to properly implement a program that would threaten their limited sovereignty. Or of course, it could be that the program is pathetic. Hehe. Nevertheless, I agree that something needs to be done about the school system today - too many kids are allowed to go into their adult lives without a proper education. I just don't know whether a national core curriculum is the way to do it.
sr

BD said...

Even I fail to understand how a national core curriculum would help in elevating academic standards.

Id it is said...

BD,
That'd bring parity in what is being taught across the states (hopefully all graduating high school seniors would then know about evolution). Also, it'd bring consistency within the teacher education programs nationwide. This'd provide the infrastructure for our public schools on which to build upon.

EXSENO said...

I agree with you. where I live the school system is terrible and the math is so imvolved that it is rediculous. My sister is a teacher in California and she said they did away with the new math system it was'nt working. But her we still have it and it is more comfusing then helpful to the students.

jacqui said...

Having been schooled in England (London, to be precise), my kids educated in Scotland and now in USA, I think you are being a little unkind on your country.

I have no knowledge of the education in the other countries you mention but I would not put England in the category of excellence. It does have its above average schools, just as the States does but a good number of them are failing just as badly as the USA.

My kids (ages 20-16) who have spend the last five years in States school, are certainly better educated that their cousins in Kent, England.

Must admit though the schooling in Scotland was better on the whole but then it is a much smaller country and even it has its problems.