In spite of many decades of reform and policy change towards the high school system in the United States, the standards of education in our systems have been poor. This has been proved by the consistent poor test results as well as declining rates of graduations. As a result, the students graduating with poor results can not join reputable higher learning institutions leaving those vacancies for foreigners. It is no wonder that other developed nations like China and India benefit from outsourcing of services from the United States. This essay looks to put clearly into sight what ails the high school system in the United States of America.
One of the main problems with the U.S high school education system is inherent within the way the country governs itself. The United States has been one of the most dynamic societies in the world. The country has witnessed its demographic, social and political aspect of the society transform at a tremendous rate (Kozal 2). These changes in the social and political system of the society has infiltrated into the schools affecting the decision making and policy development in schools. The situation has further been aggravated by the system centering on the sociopolitical aspects and not what the student needs to be more educated. It is with this in mind that the policy makers of the education system should have considered with a view of adjusting the education sector to suit a society that is constantly changing.
Unequal opportunities have also been blamed for the poor state of the education system in the United States. Public high school education has always promised equal and quality education for all regardless of race, ethnicity and earnings. On the contrary, critics argue that students in public schools do not enjoy equal opportunities to good education in terms of equipment and training facilities. Schools in wealthy neighborhoods enjoy well done structures and state of the art facilities where as those in poor communities use run-down facilities and uncomfortable environments not conducive for learning. Much effort and millions of dollars have been directed to the solving this but with little success. The federal government has put effort in past in programs like “The Head Start” which allow students to join middle-level schools from low-level schools, and providing low-level schools with funds for equipment (Chall 6). It is however argued that system error is to blame for the millions of dollars being directed to the affluent communities.
This problem has manifested itself in the performance of the student in schools. According to data provide by National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in its numerous reports, about two thirds of fourth graders can do basic or below basic level in simple reading. The performance is equally as poor in mathematics as just as other subjects in the middle and low-level schools. NAEP also state that Hispanic, African-American and Native American students perform constantly poorer compared to their white colleagues. This problem is compounded when the education system administrators consider this result as acceptable.
The American high school education system has in totality avoided the issue of religion. While religion is said to be a core value of a society, no matter the affiliation, scholars and educational policy makers have debated for decades on the need to teach religion in our high school class rooms. As the debate rages on, publishes and book authors have chosen to steer away from the topic completely and no census of the aspect and role of religions has been done. For this reason, students learn the historical and social setting of the society outside the context that initially made them as so (Chall 8). This makes our students not understand the fundamental reasons behind the differences that underlie our global community and the importance’s of ironing out these differences. By allowing this to happen, we are making our students have limited scope thinking on the political and social paradigms.
The American High School class has also been blamed for offering courses that are non beneficial to the student. Some courses offered in our public system include basket weaving and day care. In the 21st century, some of these courses are backward and only enhance to poverty. The problem is further made worse by the bureaucracy that exists in changing these courses which are very hectic and confusing. The number boards and oversight committees that need to accept these changes make the process unnecessarily long (Kozal 14).
It can be concluded that the problems that ail our education system are inherent in our own system and institutions that we have created. This means that the solutions are within our reach and we can arrive at a solution if we could come to the common agreement that our high school system is in a deplorable state. A solution to the rapidly changing culture is simply to adjust our teaching methods and tools to suit everyone by adopting new ideas. Bureaucracies that make learning and changing the management structures should be revised to ease the rigidity. But if the debates as to whether the system is in chaos continue without end, then we leave our children to a very precarious future.
Campbell, Jay, Catherine Hombo and John Mazzeo. NAEP 1999 Trends in Academic Progress: Three Decades of Student Performance. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, 2000.
Chall, Jeann S. The Academic Achievement Challenge: What Really Works in the Classroom. New York: Guilford Press., 2000.
Kozal, Jonathan. Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools. New York: Perennial Publishers, 1992.