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Education Reforms Essay

1237 words - 5 pages

required, in some countries like Sweden, to obtain and certificates to teach.
Unlike most countries the United States does not have a national education system, instead it leaving education up to the individual states. Children are required, by law, to attend school which students have free access to. The influence the government has over education is funding, but this is limited, contributing about 10 percent to the national education budget. Curriculum is then determined by school districts, managed by school boards representing the local area, but has to follow guidelines or standards set by the state. These standards are then needed to pass graduation tests that compile all the knowledge learned throughout school (Corsi-Bunker).
The more modern education reforms began in the 1980’s with Ronald Reagan’s efforts to remove the United States Education Department. Mortimer J. Adler in Reforming education states “Education as it exists in this country today—and I am thinking primarily of our schools and colleges which perform the function of general education, and not universities and professional school—has been distorted by some of its leading practitioners…”(45). These ideas began gaining momentum leading towards reformation in the 1990’s. States began adopting standards and the congress adopted National Education Goals in the 90’s. These goals, mostly using the principles of outcome-based education, we not attained by the year 2000 as was projected. In 2001 the standard-based reform culminated into the No Child Left Behind Act, which is still active as of 2014. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires states to develop assessment in basic skills in order to receive funding. The Act also states that if a schools ratings, based on the students testing scores, are low they use a number of steps to attempt improve that school. Critics argue that standardized test encourages teachers to teach students a slim set of skills dedicated to passing standardized tests. Some also argue that testing for non-English speaking students is harmful, condemning people who speak Native American languages and those who first language is not English (Menken).
In the past few years tests have shown that knowledge levels have lowered. Sweden has introduced several new policies to combat this new development. These new policies encourage greater knowledge and freedom of choice as well as security and student safety. Sweden’s education system is not unlike the American scheme. Children begin school at the age of 7 and continue ten years of schooling. Students then have the choice of attending high school for free, which 95 percent go ahead with. Student with special needs are learning disabilities have different schools allowing them to learn and grow in a helpful environment. Sweden’s schools are small enough to keep the balance between too big to support and too small to use effectively.Sweden was a leader in using a unified national curriculum, beginning in...

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