The quality of education in today”s school systems has gone down substantially due to many different factors. Some people disagree and go as far as saying that the quality of education is better, but many studies and expert testimonial will show that there has been a large downfall in how students are taught and how students learn compared to the past. This evidence will also show that the problems begin starting as early as the elementary level of school.
One statement that is believed by some is that since the average teacher to student ratio has gone from 1:22 to 1:17 that tudents are getting more personal attention and their needs are being met better by teachers. However, just recently, in the studies of teacher to student ratio were special education and other reduced size classes added to the tally creating the illusion that the average class size is really smaller than it actually is. When in fact class sizes have generally stayed the same.
In some cases classes have gotten bigger in certain states causing overcrowding which results in less personal attention. It also opens the door for students with learning disabilities to go unnoticed by teachers, urthering the damage to their education (NCES Fast Facts). Another false belief is that students of today are more literate that students of the past. This maybe true for the overall average but in recently it was noticed that in the period from 1980 to 1996 students in the age groups of nine, thirteen, and seventeen years, all saw a drop of at least one point on the Reading Proficiency Scale.
From 1980 to 1996 students in the age group of nine years dropped three points. From 1992 to 1996 students in the age group of thirteen years dropped one point. Finally students in the ge group of seventeen years saw a drop of two points from 1984 to 1996 proving that students” scores in reading, although better than forty years ago, have seen a recent drop in the past fifteen to Students receiving a broad range of education is another common misconception.
In a period of ten years from 1982 to 1992 the average number of vocational credits acquired by graduating high school seniors dropped from 4. 6 to 3. 8. Also seeing a drop in numbers was the average credits earned in specific labor market preparation classes which includes, agriculture, home economics and family consumer sciences, trade nd industrial, business, and law classes. Specific labor market preparation classes which in 1982 filled out 2. 9 of and average students high school credits dropped to bleak 2. 6 over ten years.
This shows that students are sticking more to the basic core classes and college preparatory classes decreasing the overall knowledge gained by the secondary education level student (NCES Fast The last false observation noted in this paper is that students are learning things at earlier ages than in the past. This fact is true in some cases such as in technology and English, but in math lasses children start at an average level of learning and over the course of elementary and junior high tend to drop below average (Children).
These drops are believed to be caused by students who learn certain subjects in one grade and then the same subjects may be covered in the next grade causing the student to become bored and uninterested in the material (Newcomb, 11). Recently it was noticed that the science skills of students between the fourth and eighth grade have dropped into what some call a slump. However, according to Dr. Gerald K.
LeTendre, an assistant professor of education at Penn State, the drop is not due o a recent change in circumstances, but instead it is due to what Dr. LeTendre refers to as a “continuation of low gains from year to year. ” “This continuation of low gains from year to year has continued for over twenty years and will keep dropping unless measures are taken to ensure the safety and quality of the students education,” commented LeTendre (Children).
Yet another cause for this downfall in grades and test scores is pointed out by long time high school teacher, Ron P. Milder. In an interview on April 12, 1999 Milder suggested that the cause of this decrease is many factors, but one main factor is the outside istractions that are brought into school which take away from the students attention level. Many students now have jobs, sports practice and plays which they are involved in that take priority over school in a students mind.
Another distraction Milder pointed out was that during his school days divorced parents were unheard of and in this day and age single parent families are about equal to two parent families which causes disruption in a students mind and also takes away from the students learning opportunities Another expert on education, Jean Piaget, believes that during the second stage of intellectual development children are ot given the proper amount of challenges to fully develop their potential which in turn slows them down in the remaining two stages of development.
Piaget believes that in intellectual development four stages occur in the human brain the first being sensorimoror which occurs from birth to the age of two. The second, preoperational, occurs from age two to age seven. The third stage is concrete operational, which happens between ages seven and eleven. Finally the fourth is formal operational which is deductive reasoning, this occurs from age eleven and up. When the child can not express their full ability during the preoperational eriod they slow down their process of passing through the four stages.
When this happens the student falls behind in learning and if the student is not shown the proper ways will only fall farther and farther behind as they grow older (Brainerd). One of the largest supporting pieces of evidence in the decrease of knowledge is the all mighty dollar. Money has, does, and always will play a large part in the way people make decisions and when it comes to teaching the money is short. Because of this many of the brightest minds who should be teaching go on to business where they can make double a teachers salary.
Teaching is also a very stressful job including long hours and hard work. Some people who go into it don”t have the right mindset and end up quitting within the first few years (Milder). Another part of money is the funding of schools in the United States. Government funds to schools are sometimes not enough to cover all the costs so schools tend to cut back on what they should be getting more of. Many schools have out-dated construction and need to be rebuilt but funding comes up short so often they are left with a school that isn”t an adequate teaching or learning environment (Milder).
Many of the problems existing in today”s schools are problems that can be fixed through time and vigorous effort, but the effort needs to be given by all sides of the problem. When only few people care about the problem nothing gets fixed. The problems should be addressed by a qualified group of experienced educators and students. The next goal would be to come up with possible solutions to the problems existing in today”s schools. After this is done the money needs to be raised and the appropriate measures need to be taken to relieve the problems that are eating away the education of today”s children.