current challenges in American k-12 education
Current Challenges in American K-12 Education
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Current Challenges in American K-12 Education
Education of high-quality is no more just a path to opportunities; rather it is the condition that is ‘must’ for being successful in today’s world. Like every nation America wants that their students must get proper education so as to graduate from high school, ready to go for higher studies in college and pursue the best career as they know that development of economy and achievement in the field of education are inextricably connected. Hence, several interventions were brought by federal and state in k-12 education since 1950s and 1960s. However, these interventions came along with few challenges (Wayne et al., 2004). Here in this paper we would discuss such three current challenges in American K-12 education, how each issue is addressed, impact of technology, etc.:
a. Capacity challenges in RTT or Race to the Top: This program was launched by the Department of Education to encourage states for bringing reformation in their system of K-12 education; however several capacity challenges were faced by the states and districts while implementing these reforms. For instance, round one-quarter to one-third of RTT states reported that to obtain support from stakeholders such as teacher organizations were their greatest challenges. On the other hand, financial and human capital capacity, particularly competitive compensation and standards and assessments are the greatest challenges faced by the districts.
b. Curriculum issues: In the United States curriculum fluctuates from district to another. Topics and quality of wide variety are offered by schools, but some private schools include religious classes as mandatory, which raises the question of government funding in states having anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments. As a result lot of arguments over the standardization of curriculum and its extent has been raised.
c. The impact of NCLB in alternative education: Questions have been raised about the fit between the standards-based methodology of NCLB and alternative education’s approach to competency. Even challenge is faced by and schools who seek to fulfill the required benchmark of yearly progress benchmarks, when a lot of overage students lacking skills for better future, come to pursue secondary education. These days a large number of students are going to alternative education programs, hence it is necessary to take this fact into account.
1. An explanation of how each issue is addressed by federal and state government and what might change to better address each issue.
• In order to address capacity challenges the Secretary of Education has asked the Office of State Support to provide continuous technical assistance to states, to clarify and improve knowledge of funding flexibilities so as to help education reform efforts (Chris, 2009).
• The Texas Board of Education has adopted new standards in Social Studies in the year 2010, which would affect the content of textbooks that are bought in other states.
Moreover, the present president of the United States, Barrack Obama has laid down highly advanced reforms to fight the challenges in K-12 education. He has mentioned the following points for fighting those challenges:
• Developing higher standards and better assessments process, which would prepare students for succeeding in college and the workplace
• For recruiting, preparing, developing and high efficiency of teachers, developing ambitious efforts
• Development of smart data systems for determining growth and success of student, and also to help teachers in improving their teaching and learning skills
2. The impact of each issue on the education for children of poverty.
Students living in poverty are at high risk of academic and social problems that leads to weakening of their educational life, ultimately their entire life.
• RTT leads to hostile school environments, weakens the relationship between teachers and students, and the minority students and poor students who are in greatest need are imposed to greatest harm.
• Varied curriculum throughout American leads to problem for children living in poverty as these children frequently keep changing their schools, As per data of Education national survey, 13 percent of all kindergarten through eighth grade (K-8) change schools frequently as they are poor and do not have fixed home. Hence, in this case when there is a wide difference in the curricula the students face a lot of difficulty and ultimately limited education and knowledge.
• Though the American government has implemented NCLB policy, (No Child Left Behind) yet it was found that mostly out-of-field teachers conduct core academic classes in secondary schools where students generally come from low-income background, rather poor (Bruce et al., 2004) .
3. The potential contribution of technology to improve the issue.
Well-designed instructional software leads to modified learning, as it adapts according to the requirements of students and helps in the development of the student. Recently, ConnectED was launched to enhance K-12 education. Best technology and training is offered to teachers, and through individualized learning and rich digital content the students are empowered. In order to connect 99% of American students in their classrooms and libraries with next-generation broadband and wireless connectivity, this technology has been brought into existence. Preparing our students with the skills they need to get good jobs and compete with other countries relies increasingly on interactive, personalized learning experiences driven by new technology (Barrow et al., 2008).
4. The impact of social, economic, and cultural shifts in American society upon these challenges
• Under the ARRA, the Race to the Top program was initially funded at $4.35 billion which was a great package for influencing economic-stimulus. However, during the implementation of the plan nearly all states receiving funds faced trouble.
Barrow, L., Lisa, M., and Cecilia, R. (2008). Technology’s Edge: The Educational Benefits of Computer-Aided Instruction. NBER Working paper.
Bruce, C., Lance, F., and Vance, E. R. (2004). Better Policies, Better Schools. Boston: Pearson.
Chris, E. (2009). Number of Federal Subsidy Programs Tops 1,800. Cato Institute Tax and Budget Bulletin.
Wayne, J. U., Jennings, L., Wagoner, Jr. (2004).American Education: A History. 3rd ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
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