The Need for Educational Reform
Education in American schools, especially public schools, has long been a hotly debated issue. It is a matter closely related to the need to implement sound educational reforms, another hotly contested issue.
The matter of educational reform dates back to the 1950s to the 1970s, when proposed and implemented reforms in education were basically brought about by the Civil Rights movement and related trends. In the 1980s, the U.S. educational system saw an attack on versions of progressive education and the emphasis briefly shifted to “cultural literacy.” In the 1990s, the desire for educational reform brought about outcome-based education (OBE).
Over the years, education officials, professionals, and theorists have come up with various ways to address the need for changes in the public education system. But so far, none has been totally effective in covering all the important areas; otherwise the U.S. would not be behind schools of other nations like Finland and Japan in three basic areas: reading, math and science. Compared to students of other highly industrialized countries, American 12th graders ranked 19th in math, 16th in science, and last in advanced physics. This is according to a 1999 article by former U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett.
Education reformation will require more than just the formulation of theories and methods; rather, it needs the complete support of the community. It is not just about schools and teachers but also about beliefs and policies; and it is the American government’s fiscal responsibility. People also need to be aware of the need for educational reform resulting to a unified and humanitarian learning-centered perspective.
In order to achieve a more effective and innovative educational system, several companies, non-government organizations, and individuals have taken it upon themselves to help create high quality education for American students by seeking for and extending grants and contracts aimed at improving standards and expanding options. Some of these groups and companies include Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Coca-Cola Foundation.