American Education Is Falling Behind

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Education, the pride and passion of many United States citizens, is an issue in the United States that has drawn scrutiny over past fifty years. The United States is no longer viewed as the leader of Education, as it may have or may have not once been viewed. We are falling behind countries like Japan, China, and other countries in most subjects. In order to try to close the gap in education between us and the countries that are on top in the education world; we have implemented laws, such as the No Child Left Behind Act. Some may suggest that we need to adapt more of an Asian-style approach: “US education system requires an ‘Asian’ overhaul-for example, longer school days, more frequent short recess periods, and an earlier introduction of vocational focus.” (Spellings 2010, 68)

The history of American education has been viewed one of the strongest in passed time, although there can be an argument made that we may have been underperforming compared to other countries for quite some time. “The United States, in fact, has a history of performing poorly on international comparisons, in 1964, three decades before the inaugural TIMSS, the United States participated in the First International Mathematical Study, along with 11 other nations. The United Sttes’ 13-year olds finished 11th out of 12 countries taking part.” (Cavanagh 2012) Cavanagh (2012) stated that some of the other countries that participated in First International Mathematical Study were Australia, England, Finland, and Japan. This information suggests that we have been around, or below average in education, regardless of what we say or think. “Although we have many fine institutions, we do not really have any data to prove we are the best. We just assert it, and the world believes it.” (Spelling 2010, 70) In 1965, there was an act similar to NCLB; the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which was a the beginning passage under which Title I was created. “Title I, begun with the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, provides federal funding for schools to help students who are behind academically or at risk of falling behind.” (Hoang 2010) In the 1990’s there was a movement by President George Bush to set national goals, which were set to be reached by 2000. The goals were: “All children will start school ready to learn; high school graduation rate will be at least 90 percent; students will demonstrate competence in critical subjects; U.S. students will be the first in the world in mathematics and science achievement; Every adult will be literate and have skills to compete in the economy; schools will be free of drugs and violence.” (Spring 1991, 23) Today, the topic of education in the United States revolves around, No Child Left Behind. With its primary focus being; “The No Child Left Act is on promoting education success for all children however.” (Daly et al. 2006, 446) The NCLB is the United States Effort to give all of its citizens a chance a good education. “It requires students to be reading and doing math on grade level by 2014, according to standards set by each state, not the federal government.” ( Spelling 2010, 69)

United State test scores are average based on the world averages. “Our Scores in science place us 17th among 34 developed countries, edged out by Hungary, Slovenia, Estonia, and others.” (Kanter 2009, 9) This evidence shows that we are right in the middle of the pack when it comes to science, in developed countries. Math is where we are seeing the biggest struggle in the United States. “Our 15-year-olds scored below average among developed countries—25th among the 34 countries. The results are no better now than they were in 2003.” (Kanter 2009, 9) In six years, under the NLCB Act, math scores have not shown a significant difference, so it brings into question on whether or not it is working. “In China, if a student is having difficulty in grasping concepts in math class, the teacher may ask the student to...
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