CCTV.com - CNTV English - CCTV News

The Heat 07/08/2012 American education

07-08-2012 11:04 BJT

American education 

By Monna Kashfi

Despite the U.S. government spending nearly 130 billion dollars on all national public education programs in 2011, American students ranked 17th in reading, 23rd in science and 31st in math skills, according to the most recent survey conducted by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

The OECD tested 15 year-olds from 74 nations.  Chinese students from Shanghai ranked Number One in all three categories.

President George W. Bush made education reform a focus of his time in office, unveiling the landmark “No Child Left Behind” Act in 2001.

The mandate required yearly standardized testing of all students in grades 3 to 8 to measure student proficiency in reading and math.

School districts are required to meet U.S. national proficiency standards by 2014 or face sanctions – including the loss of federal education funding, state intervention and even the complete shutdown of entire schools.

George W. Bush, former U.S. president, said, “Test results are all a part of making sure we achieve a great national goal, and that is, every child be at grade level by 2014.  The other thing it does is, as you measure, it lets us know how we're doing as a nation. There’s an achievement gap in America that's just not acceptable. That means Anglo students are more proficient at reading than Latinos or African Americans; it’s just not acceptable for our country.  It’s an indication to me that there is something wrong, and it needs to be addressed now.”

The Bush administration spent  over 2.5 billion dollars each year on implementing “No Child Left Behind,” but many critics say that the emphasis on standardized test scores has been counter-productive – encouraging instructors to teach only what is necessary for students to score well on the tests and causing schools to narrow their curriculums.

Lily Eskelson, Vice President of National Education Association, said, “It’s a corrupting influence, it’s a disturbing influence.  They’re talking about judging an entire school on whether a 100% of the kids hit an entire cut score.  Now they’re talking about judging individual teachers on nothing more than whether or not their kids hit a particular score on a commercial test.  It’s insane!”

In 2010, President Barack Obama announced a significant overhaul of American education policy, allowing individual states to opt out of the Bush-era standardized testing provisions if they could offer solutions that would get students ready for college or a career by the time they graduate high school.

Barack Obama, U.S. President, said, “No issue will have a bigger impact on the future performance of our economy than education.  In the long run it’s going to depend -- determine whether businesses stay here.  It will determine whether businesses are created here, whether businesses are hiring here.  And it will determine whether there's going to be an abundance of good middle-class jobs in America….The countries who out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow.”

So far 24 states have been granted waivers from “No Child Left Behind,” allowing them to implement their own accountability standards for student achievement and teacher effectiveness – standards that meet the unique challenges and needs of each district.
Education reform has also become an issue in the 2012 U.S. presidential race.  Both President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have drawn attention to a need for reform in U.S. public education to prepare American students to compete in a global job market.

Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate, said, “America’s public education establishment shows no sense of urgency, instead there is a fierce determination to keep things just the way that they are.  Here we are in the most prosperous nation on Earth and millions of our kids are getting a third world education.”


Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program