Educational reforms in the US have always been driven by the need to nurture students who excel in all the aspects of their lives, and to ensure that American students compete favorably with their counterparts in Asia and Europe. Academic excellence has always been the major focus of the reforms and there has always been the need to implement strategies that assure sustainability. The other areas of focus include: maintenance of standards,nurturing of a communal sense, accountability and teacher development. (Cooper 393). According to Cooper numerous attempts have been madeto bring about reforms in several or all the areas of focus but there have been varied results. Edecation should be holistic in the sense that it should prepare students become better citizens and to acquire professional knowledge in various areas of interest. Therefore, there is the realization that reforms in education in the US have always been geared towards the provision of high quality education that is accessible to all Americans and that competes well with educaiton in other countries. However, one reform after another has always failed to affect education in a holistic manner.
The major challenge facing education in America is that it has not been able to effectively supply professionals that can steer the nation towards greater technological developments. There has been the observation that most students are avioding science based and mathematics subject, despite the fact that these subjects are key in fulfilling the developmental requirements of this century. Statistics indicate that student interest in mathematics and science based fields have been reducing significantly. For instance, studies conducted between 1990 and 2005 indicate that only 36% of students in fourth grade and 30% of students in eighth grade were willing performing competitively in mathemaics and science based subjects. (Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century 96) Nations that have been able to produce professionals who have the capacity to steer economic and technological developments have been able to imporve the quality of life for their citizens. Most Asian countries like Japan, South Korea and China have higher percentages of students who take science based courses. By ensuring that education curriculumn is guided by the global technological needs most of these countries have managed to stay ahead of US in technological inventions and innovations. (Ferranti 118)
The American society has nurtured and environment with degraded social morals that have encouraged the development of negative aspects such as teen violence, teen suicides, teen pregnancy, drug and substance abuse and alcoholism. The recent incidences of young children carrying guns and shooting feelow students is just a demonstration of the degraded societal morals. When students live in such an environment where instead of learning they pre-occupy themselves with negative social issuses then it becomes very difficult for any kind of educational reforms to be of significant effect. (Michaels 12) Learning can only take place in a conducive environment that is full of hamrony and order and free of chaos. Drug abuse and violence among school going children in the US is much higher as compared to other countries in Asia and Europe. According to (United Nations 97), this can be a contributing factor for the reduced educational performance of students in America as compared to countries in Asia.
The high cost of education for higher education in the US is continously proving impossible for most Americans to take full advnatge of their intellectual capabilities. Most Americans are not able to afford college tuition and are therefore forced to end their education at that point and embark on looking for jobs. The consequence is that the transition from high school education to college education has been significantly affected with money being the major determinant. In countries like South Korea students are sponsored to higher education by the government based on their academic performance. This has not only been motivational for most students to work harder, but has also ensured an increased transition from high school to higher education. (Toby 39) Therefore, even talented students from poor families have the opportunity of accessing education which implies that the countries create greater opportunities for students to contribute to the technological developments.
The most recent educational reforms by President Obama captures most of the challenges facing education in America. The reforms emphasize on the development of teachers as a way of ensuring that the education offered at all levels is of high standards. Furthermore, the reforms recommend the formulation of researh backed strategies to ensure that the performance of teachers and students is optimized. With regard to affordability the reforms have proposed the increment of educational budget as well as the lowering of the interest rates charged on student loans. (The White House) However, one key are that the reforms have not been able to outline is the social problems that still plague school going persons in America.
Since the beginning of the No Child Left Behind Policy (NCLB), educational reforms have never been able to capture all the challenges facing the education system in America. The relatively poor performance of students in America as compared to their counterparts in Asia is as a result of a combination of factors. Therefore, the most effective reforms will be the one that addresses these factors with regard to the American environment. Just by concentrating on the academic and financial perspective withou the incorporation of the social challenges facing students, it would still be difficult for the government to improve educational standards.