Education Systems Around the World

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Yuri Cooley

L. Walker

English 101 MW5pm

10/6/2011

Education Systems Around The World

The United States excels in the creative aspect of schooling whereas Chinese students are much better at receiving direct instruction. Japanese students have very high test scores and a very high university attendance, but in Australia more students go into vocational schools or the workforce after high school. (Noel 99,102,103)The differences of education systems in the United States, China, Japan and Australia have created testable strengths and weaknesses. No country has found a perfect balance but each system has evolved to create workers suited to its respective nation.

The United States is predominantly influenced by creativity but not as strongly in math and science. Expansions upon creative thought have brought in new products introduced to the market. (Noel, 36) In U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, Obama emphasizes the importance of specialized creative schools and additional funding of the arts in K-12 public schools, which was spelled out in his the “Reinvestment of Arts Education” Plan. Obama states, “The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation. None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do –– what America does better than anyone else –– is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. But if we want to win the future then we also have to win the race to educate our kids… And so the question is whether all of us –– as citizens, and as parents –– are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.” (Noel, 65) The U.S. President sees the specialization, the pronounced freedom of creativity that America has been able to maintain for many years and how they have benefitted from it. The promotion of this frame of mind will allow ideas to surge and new technologies continue to be made.

Although America is pleased with all this innovation, the United States consistently test low in both math and science compared to other nations. Notable author, Douglas Noel reports that the average scores of American students in international comparisons have “…often been below the average of developed countries. It the OECD's Program for International Student Assessment 2003, 15 year olds ranked 24th of 38 in mathematics, 19th of 38 in science, 12th of 38 in reading, and 26th of 38 in problem solving.” (Noel 80, 81, 82) With the majority of American students so far behind it is cause for concern as to whether the U.S. will continue to falter and what impact it will have on the future. Part of the problem with high schools is that with such a large country it is going to be that much more difficult to maintain a moderate academic curriculum. This problem was attempted to be solved with the “No Child Left Behind” Act but it is still inconclusive whether it is effective or not. (Noel, pp. 70) Dr. Schmidt, who oversees the research effort into the TIMSS results, says the actual cause for the failures appears to be weak math and science curricula in U.S. middle schools. He explains, “The public schools lack focus; instead of concentrating on education, they dabble in social re-engineering”. Not only are public schools the general blame but so are the curricula, the teacher and even the textbooks. But there is some good news; despite the “bad grades” in comparison to the world the United States makes up for their low-testing high schools with 19 of the top 25 universities in the world. People from around the world come to American Universities to become some of the most influential thinkers in the world. The immigration of intelligent people in the form of students from various other countries is, said by Bill Gates, to be “…our most powerful import.” (Noel...
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