Education is the subject of the first part in a three part series on 25 Years of Education. In the 1983 report A Nation At Risk, President Reagan said, “if an unfriendly foreign power had intended to impose on America the mediocre education system that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war”.
In the U.S. education today costs 2.5 times more per pupil than it did 50 years ago, yet Math and English grades have stayed the same, and Science grades are actually down. We are spending more on education than any other country in the world and getting less return on investment for it.
According to the Nation At Risk report, our educational system is not designed to set goals and objectives. From 1983 to today our efforts to correct this have met with little success.
Joining us to talk about our systems, where we were in 1990, and what were/are the issues are seasoned professional education experts:
Our experts tell us that while people talk about the “good old days” rgarding education, this is not accurate. Prior to WWII, only half of our youngsters attended school full time. This changed when in 1949 we passed a compulsory attendance act which compelled those, 6-17 years of age to attend school. This led to 98% of our youngsters enrolling in classes. Yet, we have never educated more than 25% of the population.
While today there may be more students enrolled in school we are still not adequately preparing them for the future. In some urban schools only 8-10% of all students are prepared for college or work. We have a dropout rate of 30-40%.
Poverty is one of the key issues. Poor kids often come to school without an adequate vocabulary, which may consist of 300-400 words vs. middle class students who start school with a vocabulary of 2000 words. If a child can’t read by the 4th grade, he or she may never catch up and starting with a more robust vocabulary is essential.
85% of juveniles who enter the court system are functionally illiterate. 70% of inmates in prison can’t read beyond the 4th grade. 19% of high school graduates can’t read beyond lower grade school level! In some states only 1 year of math and 2 years of English are required to graduate.
Are there solutions? Our experts say, we need standards, assessments and a way to measure progress. And more.
Join us to learn more about the “good old days” that never existed. And what still needs to be resolved with this 25 year retrospective on education.
Niki N. McCuistion:
Transformational Change Agent
Organizational, Personal, Culture Change