Current Issues in Education
The current education system held by the United States of America has a variety of problems that span various aspects of education and the learning environment. These include the curriculum design and delivery, testing and evaluation, funding, student discipline, segregation and racism, privatization and commercialization in schools-just to mention but a few. As a result, there are various resultant problems such as students graduating while they are less prepared for the next level of education such as college or university, an increase in disruptions in classrooms and learning, rampant violence, and general drop in discipline. There is also an increased concern about bullying, harassment and violence.
All these problems elicit for remedial measures aimed at restructuring the current position of the education system to enhance better quality education for all. There are also issues with regard to gender and racial disparity that are on the rise because of no provisional structures to control their related problems. Both the federal government and the states are working towards alleviating the situation. This paper highlights these problems, their related concerns and any remedial steps that may be in process of initiation.
Discussion: Defining APA
APA is a set of stipulations by the American Psychological Association that govern the procedures of documenting professional and academic literary works. These set of guidelines, rules and procedures define how academic writing should be conducted in the academic realms and within the scientific fields of research. This set of stipulations was formulated in 1929, and since then they have undergone various revisions meant to enhance communication and increase understanding when reading academic research and professional work. These set of rules allow good communication and spread of knowledge (APA Manual, 6th edition, 2009).
Current Issues in Education: Books
The school curricula and space is ever undergoing greater and greater commercialization which serves no additional value to the curricula and learning process, but rather serves its main corporate aims of creating more consumers. Cash strapped schools are leasing space to commercial corporate entities in their hallways, buses, cafeteria, lunch menus and rest rooms-just to mention but a few. The spaces are made into glittering sites for billboards and advertisements. Classroom displays and notice boards are replaced by advertisement boards for Pepsi, Nike, Coca Cola and much more. This is implies that everything is for sale: students values, identities and even desires. Though schools get help in form of material funding, the corporate firms are the main beneficiaries. This acts as a training place for students to define themselves as consumers.
An example is Zap me from Silicon Valley which provides schools with computers on condition that they allow it to stream its advertisement over a period of time in return. The integration of education and commercialism may have benefits, but it also has profound negative effects. Another example is McGraw hill publishers that published a book in mathematics that is advertisements ridden and at some point purports that math lessons on counting can be done by teaching students how to count â€œTootsie Rollsâ€. Clearly, this has more to do with advertisement than critical learning, and such an invasion of the curricula may water down education and values based in non-commercial aspects of education (Purpel & Shapiro, 2005).
Another big problem is the issue of bullying, harassment and violence, all of which are on the rise in schools. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) are particularly faced with more of the problems related to harassment and violence compared to their heterosexual counterparts. The (GLSEN) Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and (NASSP) National Association of Secondary School Principals study of 2005 indicated that schools may have anti-harassment and bullying policies in place, but only less that half of them address gender, racism and sexual orientation issues. Additionally, this is aggravated by the lack of knowledge on LGBT harassment and bullying cases on the side of the principles and teachers (Graff & Stufft, 2011).
News Paper Articles
The development of common standards in mathematics and reading was compromised by the No Child Left behind (NCLB) Law which allowed states to exercise discretion determining the standards of a challenging curriculum. There is a very low college and career readiness noticeable in America at the moment due to this, because states have different standards, where some are high enough whereas; others are very low. This is due to lack of college- and career-ready standards especially for mathematics and reading classes. This requires some standardization and review of the NCLB law, and as such the Obama Administration has called for states to take up new academic standards portraying uniformity in order to get federal funding from a set up $14 billion dollar fund meant to address problems of impoverished students (www.nytimes.com, 2011).
President Bushs enactment of No Child Left behind (NCLB) Law during the 2001 was a little impractical according to the view of most education experts. The setting of standards that required students to reach the proficient or advanced level of MCAS set by Massachusetts state by 100% percent was not viable and this has been proven through the passage of time and made this law which was largely passed by a bi-partisan vote to appear as a failure causing element in the United Statesâ€™ education system. This is the main reason why there are numerous calls for NCLB to be reviewed (www.nytimes.com, 2011).
Mathematics preparedness plays a great role in the determination of the level of college preparedness. Research has shown that a large number of students graduating from high school lack mathematics preparedness for post-high school education, and this greatly reduce their general preparedness for post high school education at university and college. As a result, students have to undergo a remedial teaching prior to joining institutions of higher learning. Readiness in mathematics is essential in determining career choice and job opportunities, and thus should be an area of focus. Research has shown that college readiness and mathematics preparedness are problems affecting most American high school students and thus need to be addressed (Lucas & McCormick, 2011).
Disparities in disciplinary administration has been glaringly noticeable, especially; on racial lines. Notably, there has been a rise in the number of disciplinary cases addressed through suspension, but there has been a noticeable difference between the white students numbers and the non-white students numbers, particularly; in K-12. This racial disparity in discipline raises issue as to whether there is something missing in the administration of disciplinary measures. As a result, various organizations such as APA, Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders and the Dignity in Schools Campaign for schools front are requesting for Congress to have an account of their disciplinary cases so as to account for these disparities through records. They are also calling for schools to seek better way of intervening in disciplinary cases such a through behavioral intervention, community involvement and social-emotional learning (Levin & McEwan, 2001).
There is extreme erosion of discipline within schools and morals, due to the elimination of corporal punishment and the enactment of some rules and regulations meant to stop teachers from handling students in any manner termed as being physically abusive. Whilst, such measures have their own well grounded reasons the complete elimination of teacher disciplinary powers, has left teachers helpless in the face of indiscipline cases. This has greatly challenged teachersâ€™ classroom control capability. Additionally, this is aggravated by the fact that students are cognizant of this fact. Therefore, they go ahead to engage in cases of indiscipline clearly knowing that they cannot be punished. As a result, this has elicited a call from many teachers for a review of punishment measures in most schools (Johnson, 2011).
Suspensions in schools greatly affect the graduation of a student especially; when they occur at middle-school. However; the analysis of the data on suspensions is never carried so as to tell the effects of these suspensions on the overall education system. It has emerged through recent research that some middle schools in the urban areas were having high disparities on suspension based on racial lines. The analysis of this data shows the inefficient and unfair use of suspension at middle school level. These disparities actually need to be looked in to because they do not portray any discipline related effects, but rather depict gender and racial bias (www.brookings.edu, 2011)
There are various issues as portrayed by the literature analysis done in this paper, however; there no set up measures at present that can help handle the issue at hand, and as a result measures have to be sought. One among these solutions should be the introduction of these issues into the teacher training curriculum so as to familiarize teachers with the kind of problems they are likely to encounter in the teaching profession. Early training on these issues helps them prepare better for teaching and handling such issues. This should include learning how to teach in a multicultural and diverse environment. More training on these issues such as LGBT should help teachers handle these situations when they arise in a better manner.
Dillon, S. (2010),. Obama to propose new mathematics and reading standards, retrieved on 18th February 2011 from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/22/education/22educ.html?fta=y
Getz, M. (2002),. Privatizing Education: Can the Marketplace Deliver Choice, Efficiency, Equality, and Social Cohesion? Columbia, West-view: Sage Retrieved from www.brookings.edu, retrieved on 03-Feb-2011
Graff, C. and Stufft (2009),. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition, p. xiii.
Johnson, C. (2011),. American public education system problems, retrieved on 18th February, 2011 from http://mb-soft.com/public/school.html
Levin, M. Henry, and McEwan, J. Patrick. (2000). Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: Methods and Applications, 2nd edition Sage publisher
February, 2011 from http://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/article/view/680
Purpel, E.D. and Shapiro, S.E. (2005),. Critical social issues in American education: democracy and meaning in a globalizing world, 3rd edition, Routledge Publishers.
Stufft, L. D. (2011),. Increasing Visibility for LGBTQ Students: What Schools Can Do to Create Inclusive Classroom Communities; The Journal of Current Issues in Education, West-view: Sage. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/pages/education/index.html, retrieved on 18th-February-2011.
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