Are a Lack of Coordination and Investment to Blame for US Ed Outcomes?

If the US wants to reach the lofty heights of success enjoyed by South Korea’s education system, it needs to change its approach to education funding. Specifically, the country should invest more resources and money to make sure that income plays no role in the quality of education delivered to American students, no matter which side of the tracks they happen to come from.

So argues Akil Holmes in his column for PolicyMic, adding that failure to deliver quality education to low-income students will tell on future productivity of US human capital.

However, money isn’t the only problem facing America’s schools. The rigor of the curriculum is also lacking in many parts of the country. Unlike many other nations, academic standards are typically set by the state or even local governments, so what students learn on one coast could be quite different from what students learn on the other.

Before technological advances lessened their influence, Texas and California state school boards were basically able to structure the content of textbooks used throughout the country because of their role as large purchasers, causing publishers to tailor their material to the standards developed by these state officials.

President Obama has tauted the common core curriculum in attempts to deal with educational discrepancies, but doesn’t go far enough to address the emphasis on standardized testing over tangible skill development models that have proved to be effective in countries such as Germany. In China, where students tend to perform well on standardized tests, education officials are still concerned about the lack of analytical skill development.

The ultimate goal is to produce graduates and workers who are future-proof. That means they’re well-educated, prepared and can comfortably operate in a world in which technology is playing an ever-bigger role. As Holmes points out, that also means that it is essential to expose students to computers early and often. Those who attend schools where the IT infrastructure is outdated will be underequipped.

Education is in need of systematic change in this country. In addition to the funding and curriculum discrepancies that contribute to diverging educational outcomes, individual learning styles and familial considerations are potentially more impactful. Ensuring that all children are given the opportunity to contribute to the future economy means that there will have be some flexibility in how curricula are administered and developed…Education reform in this country should aim to both expand opportunities and availability of educational resources in addition to fostering the type of intellectual curiosity beneficial to lifelong learning for all students regardless of income or location.