A Decline In American Education By: Tan Ly

909 words - 4 pages

There's a growing trend within the educational system in America, often going unnoticed, by the mainstream populace. An increasing number of students are failing to meet the minimum skills required, in order to graduate High School. This problem was sent to the forefront 5 years ago, when students from forty industrialized countries took an international placement test. Fourth, eighth, and twelfth grade students across the country, were tested in four subjects: general mathematics, general science, advanced mathematics, and physics. The results were astonishing. The U.S. was ranked at, or near the bottom, in each of the curricula. The general mathematics scores, by high school seniors, were lower than all but two countries, Cyprus and South Africa. In physics and advanced mathematics, American students failed miserably. Their scores placed them dead last, in relation to the other countries tested. At one time, America was the world leader in the advances of technology, service, and industry. However, the steady decline in education has taken its toll, and allowed other countries to leave us wading in their vast pools of knowledge. But what do we do about it? One solution is to require students to pass a minimum proficiency test, in order to graduate High School. This will require teachers and students to hold themselves accountable for what they accomplish, throughout their respective school years. It gives parents a positive assessment of their child's ability, and gets them involved in their education. It also gives schools a tangible way to evaluate their teaching methods.First administered in 1990, the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) exams are required to be taken by third through eighth graders, in the subjects of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. High school students must pass reading, writing, and math tests. Texas officials boast that since 1994, scores have risen by 27%, and the number of students who have taken the SAT and advanced college placement tests, have risen dramatically (Jesness, 2000). The gap between minority students and their white peers is shrinking drastically, as well. In 1994, 28% of Blacks and 34% of Hispanics in 10th grade passed the exam. In 2001, 67% and 70% passed, respectively (2000). Some critics express concern that "teachers may tend to shape their lesson plans to prepare for the test, therefore cheating students out of a well-rounded education"(James, 2003). True, teachers may shape their lesson plans according to the test, but in doing so, they will only be teaching their students the basic material that should be required to begin with. Remedial classes in Math and English should not be a necessity for students directly out of high school, enrolling into college. Proficiency...

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