Once upon a time, in the decades following WWII, the United States had its hand in nearly every international action that had occurred. The United States was also majorly responsible for the establishment for many of the reigning supranational organizations today including the UN, the World Bank, the IMF, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Although many of these US born ideals played in the interest of the US, these organizations benefited the world for the better. It is important to assume that the world operates under a realism approach and that other nations desire to take the place of the United States as a global Hegemony. Stephen Walt states “The only way to have the world’s most capable military forces both now and into the future is to have the world’s most advanced economy, and that means having better schools, the best universities, a scientific establishment that is second to none, and a national infrastructure that enhances productivity and dazzles those who visit from abroad.” What realistic steps can the United States take in order to better our schools and universities, scientific establishment, and national infrastructure ending in a raised economy? (Walt, 2011/16). Even though the US is set in its ways, all hope is not lost. If strict changes are made to the education system, scientific establishment, and national infrastructure, the US will again see itself rising to the top uncontested. Allowing the United States to again maintain its ability to have a positive influence in nearly every “corner” of the globe not only benefits Americans, it plays in the interest of the entire world. BACKGROUND AND ISSUES
It’s no surprise that the beginning of the United States’ solidifying hegemony in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s was closely paralleled and influenced by a booming national education program. Congress, recognizing the need for highly educated Americans, began instating programs and devoting an increased budget to the educational system. The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act Of 1944 was instated so that veterans could pursue higher education. This act was quickly utilized by over eight million veterans following the end of World War II. The U.S. during President Harry Truman’s administration also stood up a new educational policy called Fair Deal policy. Fair Deal stated that ”every high-school graduate should have an opportunity at public expense to complete at least two years of college study” (Power 1991/307). Both the Government as well as the people was doing their part both morally and financially to ensure that well educated citizens made up the majority of the American Population. (Power 1991)
Although the elite education in the U.S. witnessed unfaltering advances from the end of WWII until the 21st century, it has reached a wall. Today, U.S. students rank near the bottom in international assessments of multiple core subjects. Constant education reforms and equal opportunity arguments, to include George Bush’s “no child left behind” act, have caused the school system to baseline the curriculum allowing all students, regardless of ability, to do well. In theory, this seems like a noble policy. In reality, this policy has caused a lesser class of student. “Academic gifts are cherished in theory, yet often actively discouraged in practice. Superior talents of any sort are frequently not given room to shine. Ironically, this system that is built almost entirely on the concept of self-esteem is actually the antithesis of self-esteem, having produced an entire generation of children who can’t cope with basic academic tasks. It’s also the antithesis of excellence, competitiveness, and innovation” (Rogers, 2011/7). The greatest negative effect of modern educational policy is the creation of a high school graduate that expects the world to be handed to the student on a silver platter, whereas before, graduated students understood that they had to earn their...
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