I am sure that by now you are painfully aware of the low esteem that the United States Educational System has thoughout the world. Now I am not telling you anything that you didn't already know, but the time has come for me to put my spin on this problem.
Elaine Wu of U-Wire stated in her article of 2005 that the United States is falling when it comes to international education rankings, as recent studies show that other nations in the developed world have more effective education systems. In a 2003 study conducted by UNICEF that took the averages from five different international education studies, the researchers ranked the United States No. 18 out of 24 nations in terms of the relative effectiveness of its educational system. Remember that for a moment. "the relative effectiveness of its educational system."
Another prominent 2003 study, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, shows a steady decline in the performance of American students from grades 4 to 12 in comparison to their peers in other countries. In both studies, Finland, Australia, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Netherlands and the United Kingdom beat the United States, while the Asian nations of South Korea, Japan and Singapore ranked first through third, respectively. In Math we are top notch in Elementary school, but from 4th to 8th grade there is a fall off and by 12th grade -forget it! No country in the world falls as far between 4th and 12th grade.
In order to change this situation and to put the US back to where it belongs-at the top of the list instead of the bottom, the US started a program called "No Child Left Behind". At first blush it was a great idea. All children would get a better education and the schools would be held accountable for making sure that the children were learning the material. Especially minority children. For those of us in Florida that translate into FCATS- standardized testing with successful schools being graded like the children ABCDF. Is it working? I don't think so. In fact college students were asked about how successful the program is nationwide and they reported that US students learn to take tests not but don't learn the subject matter. They also state that teachers teach for the test, but the children don't learn anything. The reason this is important is that these are US College Students who just went through the system!
So what do we do now? Remember "the relative effectiveness of the system"? Peter Luevano, an assistant High School principal , cited different reasons for the decline in the U.S. education system. "There are environmental factors that are involved. I think there’s a shift in the mentality of both kids and parents," he said. "Kids value different things these days, and schools are more diverse than they were 15 or 20 years ago. We’re more open culturally, but that has caused more division rather than unity in the country. Parent involvement has also decreased, and there are also discipline factors involved. Schools have lost a lot of control."
Here is the long and the short of it. Until the parents care about helping the children with their homework, until parents stick up for the teacher that is forced to discipline their child, until values are taught which state that school work comes first and social life, tv or video games last then the US Education System is going to smell for a long time.