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Proposal To Reform The Educational System

1713 words - 7 pages

The United States Educational System is falling apart. The problems that started in the 1990s have persisted through two decades and are still present today. Obviously, what has been done so far hasn’t worked. It is time to engage in this endeavor to drastically change the educational system into something able to provide for the future of America. If American schoolchildren aren’t performing at least at the same level as children from countries such as China, Japan, and Finland; the United States runs the grave risk of losing its economic edge in the world (Wilde 1). The achievement gap in the United States should be much narrower considering the immense amount of wealth this county holds. ...view middle of the document...

Obama’s policies aren’t just political stunts; there are studies that show children who get a high-quality preschool education go on to be more successful when they grow up. Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman engaged in a case-study called the Perry Preschool Experiment. This experiment took 123 low-income randomly selected African-American children in Michigan and assigned them to either a preschool attending group or a control group which received no early education (Lehrer). The results were striking. Forty years later, when the children are now adults, those assigned to the preschool program were 20% more likely to have graduated from high school (Lehrer). According to Heckman, each dollar spent on preschool learning is worth eight or nine dollars in return.
Scientifically, the results of preschool education are even more significant in closing the achievement gap. Children from poor households are those most vulnerable for not receiving the help they need in the beginning of educational development. Poor circumstances and environmental factors hold back the extent of possibly highly-intelligent children. There is a nurture versus nature situation in the American educational system; nurture being family socioeconomics, and the nature side being the projected genetic learning capabilities of the child (Lehrer). A genetics study conducted by Tucker-Drob used a sample of 1,200 identical twins and according to the data, socioeconomics counted for a 70% of the variance while those who did not attend pre-school only counted for 45% of the variance (Lehrer). There is an amazing potential in preschool education to close the achievement gap. A voluntary, government-funded early learning system will benefit the whole United States by giving poorer children the opportunity to increase their abilities before they enter kindergarten.
Kindergarten is the beginning of the educational experience for all children in the United States. A study published by the Department of Education examined the conditions representing kids all across the nation when entering and during kindergarten. At entry into kindergarten, most children are five and a half years old (Zill and West 5). Over sixty percent of children can recognize letters of the English alphabet and can count to single-digit numbers (Zill and West 5). An interesting result of the report was how well-behaved most students are, according to teachers 75% of students cooperate with others and accept group ideas (Zill and West 8). Lastly, risk factors such as having a mother with less than a high school education and living in a single-parent household were examined. The findings indicate that 46% of kindergarteners have one or more of the risk factors (Zill and West 17). On average, children that experience any of these risk factors are more likely not to have a positive attitude toward learning activities. Children with risk factors are also 39% less likely to pay attention in class (Zill and...

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