Education Reform Essay

1130 words - 5 pages

I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will look back at education as it is practiced in most schools today and wonder how we could have tolerated anything so primitive. The pieces of the educational revolution are lying around unassembled."
- John W. Gardner, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, "No Easy Victories" (1968)

Sadly over 40 years later, the the educational revolution still hasn't taken off. The “pieces” are still lying around unassembled and the education in the schools is still tolerated. The need for change of public schools in the United States has been emerging since of the the passage of Pennsylvania's Common School Act in 1834. The Common School Act of 1834, set up a "general” system of education by common schools. People are continuously saying how children are the future and we must nurture them in order to ensure a bright future for our country. However, we are failing at a very basic level. The current education system in the United States is extremely poor. Drop-out rates for high school students continue to rise and student performance has been steadily declining. An article published in 1999 showed exactly how much of a crisis the American education system is really in. The article was written by William J. Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education, and it ranked high school seniors form 21 industrialized nations based on their performance in math, science, and advanced physics. American high school seniors ranked 19th in math, 16th in science and last in advanced physics.

Despite the push for education reform some thirty years ago, the American public education system has still not made adequate progress. The issue of education reform is a very complex issue with many different aspects that need to be looked at in order for a solution to be found. These issues include teacher quality, funding, curriculum, and standards and testing.

One of the biggest and most complex issues of the education reform is funding. Funding has created such an issue for public schools and continues to be one of the biggest reasons that school and students continue to fall behind. The increasing lack of funding leads to issues such as large classroom sizes, outdated textbooks, overwhelmed teachers, and students who fall through the cracks. Since 1965, the Title I funding program has been used to help school districts increase opportunities for the low-income students. The Title I funds are disbursed through four basic formulas. Each formula distributes money based on poverty, but each does so with a different concentration. For example, basic grants serve districts with at least ten poor children who comprise at least 2% of enrollment, while Concentration grants serve districts that have more than 6,500 poor children or a poverty rate greater. However, the funding formulas are essentially broken. States with a high rate of poverty rate tend to receive less than those with a lower poverty rate.

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