US needs to catch up in education race

On December 5, 2013


U.S. high school education is like the track runner that misses the firing shot to start the race. Instead of taking off to keep up with the runners, he stumbles around and doesn’t realize the race has begun until it’s already too late.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, American students’ rankings have gone down in all subjects. Math rankings have gone from 24th to 29th, science rankings have gone from 19th to 22th and reading rankings took an immense plummet from 10th to 20th in comparison to the last test in 2010.

These rankings are based on 65 different countries, simply leaving the U.S. at average. This should not be acceptable for a globally leading nation.

Fox News reported that the slip in the rankings is likely due to the increase in performance of Asian regions. This means the U.S. may not be getting worse, but U.S. education is staying stagnant in a world that is competitively increasing.

If the government does not get a handle on the situation soon, it is going to severely hurt the future of the country. The students in high school now will eventually grow up to be leaders of the country, but if they did not have a strong foundation for education in high school, they will likely be inferior to other countries, such as China, which ranks first in education.

According to an article in The Guardian, China has a historical tradition of respect for education, especially in Shanghai. Chinese parents care about their children’s education, and teachers are trained and peer-reviewed extensively and regularly to improve professional development.

Many believe the U.S. needs more funding for education to improve it, when in reality the U.S. just needs to give a higher respect for childhood education. This lies in enforcing parents’ involvement in their children’s education and raising academic standards.

The slip in education rankings will also have a direct effect on the quality of American universities. If students are not getting a competitive education through the public school system, they will likely not be able to efficiently perform at a university level. As a result, it will bring down the quality of American universities.

The Common Core Standards, a national standard for education, have been in the works for the U.S., was motivated by the low ranks in education and imbalance of national education standards. It currently has several issues to sort out, but it’s likely the best solution to bumping up the education rankings on a global level.

Education standards around the world have been raised, and the U.S. needs to keep up before the country loses its leader status. It’s time to start making changes by looking at what the top ranking countries are doing right and
figure out what the U.S. is doing wrong.

Ali Leist is a junior majoring in mass communications.

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