Nowadays education is a fundamental element of further success and personal development. Therefore, the governments of all progressive countries make efforts to provide the members of society with that level of education that is necessary for the realities of the modern labor market. American standards of education are famous around the world. That is why millions of international students keep entering American higher educational establishments every year. Meanwhile, higher education in the USA takes the leading positions in the world rates of universities and may be, doubtlessly, the subject of national proud; there are significant problems in the US school educational system. Even the fact that the USA spends more money on education than any other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development does not solve the serious difficulties, which currently face elementary and secondary schools as the parts of the general educational system. In 1983, the first clear signals about the need for reforms and changes in the education appeared. “Nation at Risk” report introduced by The National Commission on Excellence in Education stated that new approaches to educational process to be found. Since then more and more Americans refer education to one of the significant problems in the American society, as disadvantages of the system become evident with the passing of the time.
Assessment System is a Source of Injustice in the Evaluation of Students’ Knowledge.
In 2004, in an attempt to improve the level of educational efficiency, there was implemented a program “No Child Left Behind.” The purpose of the program was to control the achievement and success of each school through the standardized test, which all the pupils had to pass annually. The program included developments within the recommendations, provided in the “Nation at Risk” report (Yell). One of the recommendations was to provide a standardized test at the transition point from one school level to another, and “No Child Left Behind” successfully fulfilled that recommendation. However, the factual situation shows essential disadvantages of standardized test as a way of pupil’s knowledge assessment. First, this test is different from the usual studying process and contains general questions, which do not give an opportunity to see whether a student has a proper understanding of the subject. Second, the fact that the results of the test have the direct influence on the assessment of the school, in general, affects the teaching methods. As long as the teacher has to prepare pupils for successful passing of the test with the particular kind of questions, there may be much less time to give the necessary information or pay enough attention to personal needs of each pupil. Moreover, the test does not show creative and thinking skills of a student, as with the only possibility for a, b, c choice there is no space for the personal, not standard approach to the solution of the task. In addition, the results of the test have a high risk of non-academic factors, such as disturbance, distraction or fatigue. Therefore, it often happens so that the pupil, who worked hard all the year, may get generally law mark just because one mistake, caused by subjective factors (Lynch). The simple way to positive change of the situation is to develop a combined system of pupils’ assessment, which includes both intermediate achievements of the student during the year and the scores of the test. It is necessary with the procedure to make students accustomed to reducing the fair and level of the stress during the passing of the test. That is why it would be useful to hold usual control works in the format of the test so that it became standard procedure for the pupils.
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Salaries of Teachers do not Correspond the Level of Socio-Economic Needs
Two central figures in the school educational process are students and people who educate. The quality of knowledge, which the pupils obtain, depends on the teachers. Therefore, the way the teacher works directly affects a further success of each child. That is why it is of crucial importance to provide schools with such stuff, which guarantees proper fulfillment of the work. However, the average salary of the teacher is not more than 50, 000 dollars per year (Bell 16). It debases the prestige of the profession and discourages to choose it as a future career. Meanwhile, there is an underestimated role of teacher occupation; it is of crucial importance to realize the fact that the future generation, and, subsequently, the future of the whole nation depends on the knowledge and outlook, which the teachers as the first children’s mentors give them. That is why there is a need to create a favorable environment for teaching stuff and evaluate its work accordingly (Bell 31). That was one of the not fulfilled recommendations in the “Nation at Risk” report.
Orientation on Practical Needs of the Student should become a Priority
Despite the wide range of subjects learned by students at school, after graduation they do not have the knowledge necessary for further education or work. Therefore, there is a need for the new approach to the formation of pupil’s curriculum, which would take into account further requirement the student will meet in his or her professional life. Nowadays, there is a high number of students, who abandon the college because of lack of knowledge (Lewis). It is the evidence of serious, not balanced gaps in school education. To the same conclusion came the commission in the “Nation at Risk” report as follows from the recommendation to review the content of school curriculum. Therefore, the solution is to pay proper attention not only to theoretical knowledge but also to the way, this knowledge one may use in the future.
In the Century of Technological Breakthrough, There is Still a Lack of Modern Equipment in Many Schools
As far as each state assumes the responsibility for schools’ financing, it depends upon the budget of each state and how much financial aid each school obtains. Therefore, there is a significant difference between the schools of different states. Meanwhile, technologies play a major role in faster and more efficient access to various sources of information not all the schools have the necessary technological equipment. Subsequently, it makes an educational process less exciting, useful for the pupils and harder for the teachers (Lewis). There is a need to create a federal program which would focus on technological needs of all the schools to overcome this obstacle in school education. Even though it might be difficult for the federal government to provide all the states with financial aid, there is another way to assist. For instance, the government may encourage private investors to support schools in their need of technological equipment in return for some benefits or exemptions.
Racial aspects are Still the Source of Inequality
Even though the equity for all people independent of their race religion or any other element is one of the highest values, protected not only by morality but also by law, there is still inequity in school education, based on the racial issue. The Black children are more likely to live in poor neighborhoods. Subsequently, they attend schools with worse studying conditions and have more chances to leave school before graduation (Cook). Therefore, the Blacks are typical figures in American criminal rates. However, the roots of such an outcome are in the system of education, which gives different starting line for the pupils from the very beginning. As Black parents have lower education degree than White ones, the have lower expectations for their children. It results in the achievements of Black children even in the kindergarten, where they show lower efficiency in basics for children of their age (Cook). These preconditions continue to influence the education at school. According to statistics, Black children are more frequently under pressure, even though it does not encourage better academic achievements. Moreover, the Blacks are more likely to leave school before graduation. The current situation with racial issue shows that the Black family faces more difficulties on their way to educate children. Therefore, it is necessary to overcome objective factors, which create the obstacles. One of them is poor neighborhoods, which have an adverse impact on child’s development. It is necessary to create favorable educational conditions for children under such circumstances to deal with it.
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In conclusion, there is a need to highlight that one of the steps to solve the problem is to admit the existence of the problem. The government of the USA took this step in 1987. From that time, the school educational system removed not all the disadvantages. However, there is slow but constant progress in the improvement of educational standards. Therefore, with the passing of the time, there is no doubt that there will be a greater number of positive changes in the U.S. education.