One of the biggest issues within the political landscape is educational reform, specifically for those young students lacking the monetary family support to gain entry into private schools or better public schools. Don’t get the wrong idea, there are plenty of public schools throughout the United States that provide outstanding education, but the reality is that the vast majority of public schools are setup to meet the minimal objectives of faculty and academics. In addition to the lack of motivation for the faculty is that the educational programs have been set up to teach children how to test well rather than imparting true educational knowledge that will remain with the students long after tests have been taken. Our nation should have a goal of providing long term education to every child in our country, hopefully leading toward higher learning at the University level so we can stop falling in terms of international educational rank, and get back to increasing our nations education base.
The question remains, what is the best method for improving education and opportunity for each and every child in our country? Of course the suggestion of continued taxation, and pumping more dollars out of American families pockets and into schools remains popular here in the US. But is this the solution we need, or is this the best thing for our country? Another thought process is motivation and some type of bonus structure provided to teachers in schools who have been failing in educational development of classes. Is it realistic to implement a performance based structure, rewarding teachers based purely on their individual students grades? And who has the final say on what grades should be given, or what level of education have students gained throughout the course of the year? There is no clear solution here, and the educational reform debate burns on in the United States. Meanwhile, global education continues to pass us by at the University level as counties like Finland, China and Canada thrive. Finland takes number one spot in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD: Located in Paris, France) latest PISA survey, advance figures show. The OECD brings together the governments of countries (currently 30 member countries) committed to democracy and the market economy from around the world.
The addition of the Bush administrations No Child Left Behind Act was a good step in 2002, but is this proving effective, or are we simply providing an ineffective education at low levels and moving kids to the next level? The act is geared toward encouraging higher academic achievement among students, particularly those that come from poor backgrounds, many being minority ethnicities. The majority of the teachers seem to focus on testing, rather than actual subject matter, which tends to produce the best overall education in the long run. The fundamental issue remains education quality, and what we need to do in America to increase educational quality versus test taking for each and every child in our great country.
Among adults age 25 to 34, the United States is ninth among industrialized nations in the share of its population that has at least a high school degree. In the same age group, the United States ranks seventh, with Belgium, in the share of people who hold a college degree. Given what the United States spends on education, our relatively low student achievement through high school shows our school system and education policy is truly lacking, and needs serious attention.
Hopefully the next presidential administration can put some serious effort into turning the educational system around, because the United States continues to maintain one of the richest, and most powerful standards in the world, yet we continue to slide down year after year in the international education rankings.
I don’t have the answer, and I don’t believe there is a simple solution to this problem. I would like to leave you with 5 questions for discussion:
- What do you think we can do to make a true, and effective effort to increase our educational system here in the United States?
- Should teachers receive some type of performance bonus? Is this a viable option, after all, they’re supposed to be teaching already?
- Is continued taxation and monetary supplementation feasable long term? And is it an effective method of building education for today’s youth?
- What are the benefits of awarding scholarships to attend private schools, specifically to minorities and poorer families? Can this work?
- Which administration do you see providing the best solution, and education reform initiatives should they win and take office; Obama or McCain?