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US education system

Discussion in 'US – Staffroom' started by ashleysummer, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. ashleysummer

    ashleysummer New commenter

    Colleagues, what dou you think of our education system? I've recently read a great article suggesting the ways to improve the US education system and I'd like to share it with you here - http://bid4papers.com/blog/usa-education-system/ . Could these methods be effective?
  2. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I'm not sure what you're asking; from a quick glance, they seem to be good ideas in an ideal world, eg. better pay, more respect, more differentiation, etc., but the reality is that taxpayers may consider education important but prefer less taxes....
    bekastks and tesolmath like this.
  3. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    My only experience is Chicago. Schools feel vibrant and teachers work hard. However I would say that the students there are about 2 years behind ours in the UK both academically and emotionally.
    tesolmath and meetthehil1 like this.
  4. vrgraham1

    vrgraham1 New commenter

    I'm experiencing this two year lag you mentioned not just academically but as you say emotionally (the lack of formality does not appeal to my reserved son but the girls flourish). As a British parent I made the choice of an American international school over a British international school. At the time it was the right decision. Next academic year he should be starting KS2 in the UK and I'm rethinking my decision. What should I consider at this point? If I stick with the US system would I mess up any chance of passing 11plus or if we wanted him to give it a shot at a scholarship for a decent secondary private school in the UK? Does the US system give him an edge on something I may not be seeing through my British spectacles?
  5. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    The US system allows more flexibility and opportunities if your son isn't sure what he wants to study at 6th form. The A-level structure is quite restrictive in that it limits subjects at university; this starts at GCSE selection in Y9. IB might be a better comparison to the US system as it is more general but it does require Maths, English and a 'science'. If, however, your son is pretty sure he is interested in a particular area, then GCSEs/A-levels would link better to a UK university system.

    For me, the American high school experience (in the US) allowed me to take a variety of subjects; I didn't even really know what I wanted to do in life but did follow an academic curriculum, taking Advanced Placement exams in French, English and American History (if you score high enough, you get college credit but they more similiar to ASs).

    Had I known exactly what I wanted to do, then the GCSE/A-level route would have been ideal.

    To be honest, I would speak with other patents at your son's current school - those with older children to see if their own children have gone into a British secondary, taken the 11+, etc.

    I'm an American over here and my son goes to a British curriculum primary. I think if I had been in a position to start him at an American school from Kindergarden, I think I would have (and I am going to google the closest one).
    JL48, raun_cesar and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. okechukwuegbuziem

    okechukwuegbuziem New commenter

    We don't have one central educational system. Therefore, your change if to happen will be done in local school districts.
    bekastks likes this.
  7. DC1346

    DC1346 New commenter

    This is an interesting question. One could write a book on this subject. Since my time is limited, I would like to address three points.

    First - a bit of background about me. I'm about to start my 29th year in education. All told, I have 17 years of experience as an elementary teacher and 12 years as a high school Culinary Arts chef instructor. I hold three degrees and have taught in the inner-city, rural, and suburban public schools as well as international schools abroad.

    I think our entire system of funding public education is outdated. Public school funding in the United States comes from state and local sources with additional funds being available through the Federal Government under various programs such as special education and Title I. Since nearly half of all district funding comes from local property taxes, there has been a huge difference in funding between affluent suburban communities and low income inner-city and rural schools. Efforts to address these problems with "Robin Hood" bills in which the state takes funds from wealthier districts to reallocate to poorer districts have not been particularly successful.

    Texas is a good example. In 1993, Texas set up a Robin Hood system. The way this system was supposed to work was that local property taxes were supposed to pay for 50% of district funding with the balance being paid for by the state. The state identified 300 "wealthy" districts to take money from. The problem is that in 2017, state funding actually dropped to 40%, forcing many districts to make budget cuts or to take out loans just to break even with expenses.

    Raising local property taxes hasn't put more money into local schools because the "excess funds" have been appropriate by the state. In Plano, Texas, school property taxes increased by a whopping 40% between 2014 and 2018.

    Instead of redistributing funds to poorer districts, Texas has cut school funding and misappropriated the balance of these funds to use for non-education budgets.

    NCLB isn't working. The idea behind the No Child Left Behind legislation was well intended ... but it isn't working. If all kids came to school on a level playing field with all of their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter met, then NCLB might make sense. As it is, NCLB has been unable to address decades of institutional neglect in low income areas.

    Just because the government has mandated that schools meet AYP (adequate yearly progress) doesn't mean that this will happen particularly if you're in a school with crumbling infrastructure (broken water pipes, leaking roofs, outdated textbooks, and obsolescent technology) and students who started the year below grade level for basic skills in reading, writing, and math.

    When you throw in apathetic parents who can't even be bothered to send their kids to school, high truancy rates all but guarantee that the students missing school will not be successful and will fall even further behind as the school year progresses.

    Even if parents are supportive of schools, poverty leads to problems with meeting basic needs. I currently teach in a low income school and I have students who are homeless. We also have a lot of hunger in our local community and my school is the first place I've ever worked at that has a full time social worker on staff as well as a food and clothing bank for needy students.

    When basic needs are not met, it's hard for students to be focused on their education.

    As a former elementary teacher, I also saw what happened when NCLB was first implemented. Teaching was dumbed down and was replaced in far too many schools with a teach to the test mentality.

    When I taught elementary school in Texas (admittedly nearly 20 years ago), I actually had a building administrator tell me the "secret" to improving test scores. The administrator told me not to worry about kids who were on or above grade level because they were likely to pass the skills test. I was also told not to remediate and not to worry about kids who were significantly below grade level because those kids didn't have a hoot in h**l of passing the state test. To improve my test scores, I was told to focus on the marginal kids and to not teach social studies, health, or science so I could double up on reading, writing, and math. Even though these other subjects were state mandated as part of our instructional standards, I was told that since these subjects weren't tested, I shouldn't worry about them.

    I wound up quitting mid-year and said in my letter of resignation that the building administrator's goals were unrealistic. Despite my extensive prior experience as a teacher, I didn't see any way of getting the majority of my inner-city 4th graders to pass the state test when 1) They were 2-3 grade levels deficient in reading, writing, and math and 2) I had been told by my building administration NOT to remediate.

    In an effort to comply with my building administration's expectations, I tried offering an after school remedial program and got ALL parents and guardians of my students to let me keep my kids for an hour after school to remediate. I did this on my own time and since I also provided healthy snacks, I also did this out of pocket.

    Instead of giving me an "attabyoy," my building admin told me to cease and desist because I was "making the rest of the teachers look bad."

    Without the ability to remediate, I saw no way of moving forward.

    What was the point of my teaching compound multiplication to kids who didn't know their multiplication facts and who couldn't even add? It was insane.

    Diversity: I think part of the problem facing our nation's schools is that most teachers are white from middle class backgrounds and that there's a disconnect in understanding the issues facing people of color as well as people from low income backgrounds. In districts like Clark County in southern Nevada where more than 70% of the students are minorities while 76% of the teachers are white, an additional problem with diversity is that most of the experienced teachers are found in affluent suburban schools instead of low income inner-city and rural schools.

    As previously mentioned, I teach in a low-income school. At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, we lost 10 teachers ... 1 to on-going district budget cuts and 9 to retirement or transfers. As of the end of July, the principal reported that only 5 of the certified positions had been filled. This left us with 4 vacancies. With school starting this coming week for faculty (and the week after for students), our vacancies may have to be filled with long term substitutes.

    This is a systemic problem for low-income schools ...that high rates of turnover result in positions either being filled by novice teachers with limited or no prior teaching experience or by long-term substitutes. The end result is that this impacts on the overall quality of education being received by our students compared to the quality of education available at schools in a more affluent area.
    gyselsolerswim likes this.
  8. 51cfys

    51cfys New commenter

    Education in the United States needs to be more open and flexible. Distance learning is the future trend.
    bekastks and install like this.
  9. LoriJCook

    LoriJCook New commenter

    If you're talking about school then i think it needs to change but for upper level it does not need to change anything because i personally think that students from us colleges and universities are more creative and logical than other countries.
  10. Emme-Prints

    Emme-Prints New commenter

    I agree with DC1346 in that NCLB isn't working. Students are being pushed through concepts very quickly -without the time, resources, or interest to actually absorb the information being presented to them. As a substitute teacher, it's alarming to view this trend day after day. The reality is that they are being left behind, even in affluent communities. I believe that we need a refresher on Common Sense Standards.
    51cfys likes this.
  11. 51cfys

    51cfys New commenter

  12. mariammalek22

    mariammalek22 New commenter

    Having taught Spanish for the last 6.5 years in California, I can say that there are a lot of impediments to student learning and much of that comes from the students themselves.
    blazer likes this.
  13. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    In the UK also.
  14. Shin0bi3Z

    Shin0bi3Z New commenter

    As from a NYC point of view, I feel that there is a need for teachers but we are not preparing students for jobs of the future but instead of the present which are disappearing. Most students do not know how to balance a checking account or what to invest in.
  15. Hi Everyone!

    It is nice to be a member of this Community.

    All I can say about the US Education System - is not perfect but it seems to be one of the best education in the world!:)
  16. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Are you sure about that?

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