Ability of American schools to prepare students and to instruct youth Essay
Ability of American schools to prepare students and to instruct youth, 494 words essay example
In 1983, the federal government under the direction of President Regan took part in a study on American schools called A Nation at Risk. The report examined if our schools are being successful in preparing students and if teachers are also being successful in their attempt to instruct our youth. The report found that American schools are failing to train students with the basic skills needed to succeed in their particular educational or career track. The report called for American schools to begin reforming their educational platforms in regards to instruction. The report also called for schools to hold teachers and administrators accountable for improving their instruction. The reform movement caused school districts to establish a policy of using standardized tests to determine if a student has met their educational goals for their particular grade and most importantly if the teachers instructing our youth are being successful. This heavy emphasis on accountability also caused schools to create educational tracks for learners.
A Nation at Risk caused the country to quickly move towards relying too heavily on standardized tests and failed to look at several key factors. First, the report only examined the current data and failed to scrutinize the historically problematic internal structure of schools in the United States. In the United States, students have been placed in academic tracks since the turn of the century. These tracks cause funds and other resources to be allocated to students in the higher tracks and students in lower tracks are often left with older materials or no materials to work with on a daily basis. The heavy use of tracking has greatly limited the student's ability in the lower tracks to gain access to knowledge and has caused
- A social class system to form in the high schools
- Lack of equality
- Academic success for the upper tracks
- Stereotypes for the lower tracks
- Lack of aide for students in the middle tracks.
Secondly, the educational reform movement over the past century has failed to examine student performance based on individual cases. In place of large studies of generalized data pertaining to the entire student body in the United States. The difference in test scores within certain groups, mainly minorities, can be lower due to a racial bias that exists within the make-up of test questions. The data provided by A Nation at Risk in 1983 and other data since the report was published has continued to only look at comprehensive data. The data continues to make a generalization about the status of the American educational system and has failed to show the necessity for data that specialized in nature. It would also prove that our youth are having limited access to higher levels of knowledge. There are many tests used to examine student performance including the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) have test questions that place minorities and students in lower socioeconomic groups into a position for failure and results in a limited access to certain types of advanced learning.