Need For Federal Government Involvement In Education The Need for Federal Government Involvement in Education Reform by Political Science 2301 Federal and State Government OVERVIEW For centuries, generations of families have congregated in the same community or in the same general region of the country. Children grew up expecting to earn a living much like their fathers and mothers or other adults in their community. Any advanced skills they required beyond the three R’s (Readin’, Ritin’ and Rithmatik) were determined by the local community and incorporated into the curriculum of the local schools. These advanced skills were taught to the up- and-coming generation so they could become a vital part of their community. The last several decades has greatly expanded the bounds of the community to almost anywhere in the country or anywhere in the world for that matter. Advances in transportation and communication has made the world a much smaller place then the world we knew as children. The skills our children need to realize parents’ perpetual dream of their children having a better life are no longer limited to those seen in the local area.
It is becoming more and more apparent that the education system of yesterday cannot adequately prepare students for life and work in the 21st Century. These concerns have prompted people across the country to take a hard look at our education system and to organize their efforts to chance the education system as we know it. WHAT’S HAPPENING OUT THERE? There are two major movements in recent years whose focus is to enhance the education of future generations. The Standards movement focuses on educational content and raising the standards of traditional teaching and measurement means and methods. The Outcome Based Education (OBE) movement is exploring new ways of designing education and changing the way we measure the effectiveness of education by focusing on results or outcomes. STANDARDS MOVEMENT In September 1989, President Bush and the nation’s governors called an Education Summit in Charlottesville, Virginia.
At this summit, President Bush and the nation s governors, including then-governor Bill Clinton, agreed on six broad goals for education to be reached by the year 2000. Two of those goals (3 and 4) related specifically to academic achievement: * Goal 3: By the year 2000, American students will leave grades 4, 8, and 12 having demonstrated competency in challenging subject matter including English, mathematics, science, history, and geography; and every school in America will ensure that all students learn to use their minds well, so they may be prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment in our modern economy. * Goal 4: By the year 2000, U.S. students will be first in the world in science and mathematics achievement. Soon after the summit, two groups were established to implement the new educational goals: the National Education Goals Panel (NEGP) and the National Council on Education Standards and Testing (NCEST). Together, these two groups were charged with addressing unprecedented questions regarding American education such as: What is the subject matter to be addressed? What types of assessments should be used? What standards of performance should be set? The summit and its aftermath engendered a flurry of activity from national subject matter organizations to establish standards in their respective areas. Many of these groups looked for guidance from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics who publishing the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics in 1989.
The NCTM standards redefined the study of math so that topics and concepts would be introduced at an earlier age, and students would view math as a relevant problem-solving discipline rather than as a set of obscure formulas to be memorized. The National Science Teachers Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science quickly launched independent attempts to identify standards in science. Efforts soon followed in the fields of civics, dance, theater, music, art, language arts, history, and social studies, to name a few. OUTCOME BASED EDUCATION MOVEMENT The decade of the 80s brought numerous education reforms, but few of them were a dramatic shift from what has gone on before. Outcome-based education (OBE) is one of those that is new, even revolutionary, and is now being promoted as the panacea for America’s educational woes.
This reform has been driven by educators in response to demands for greater accountability by taxpayers and as a vehicle for breaking with traditional ideas about how we teach our children. If implemented, this approach to curriculum development could change our schools more than any other reform proposal in the last thirty years. The focus of past and present curriculum has been on content, on the knowledge to be acquired by each student. Our language, literature, history, customs, traditions, and morals, often called Western civilization, dominated the learning process through secondary school. If students learned the information and performed well on tests and assignments, they received credit for the course and moved on to the next class. The point here is that the curriculum centered on the content to be learned; its purpose was to produce academically competent students.
The daily schedule in a school was organized around the content. Each hour was devoted to a given topic; some students responded well to the instruction, and some did not. Outcome-based education will change the focus of schools from the content to the student. Three facts drive this new approach to creating school curricula: * Fact 1: All students can learn and succeed, but not on the same day or in the same way. * Fact 2: Each success by a student breeds more success.
* Fact 3: Schools control the conditions of success. In other words, students are seen as totally malleable creatures. If we create the right environment, any student can be prepared for any academic or vocational career. The key is to custom fit the schools to each student’s learning style and abilities. The resulting schools will be vastly different from the ones recent generations attended.
Yearly and daily schedules will change, teaching responsibilities will change, classroom activities will change, the evaluation of student performance will change, and most importantly, our perception of what it means to be an educated person will change. Common Arguments in Favor of Outcome-Based Education * Promotes high expectations and greater learning for all students. * Prepares students for life and work in the 21st Century. * Fosters more authentic forms of assessment (i.e., students write to show they know how to use English well, or complete math problems to demonstrate their ability to solve problems). * Encourages decision making regarding curriculum, teaching methods, school structure and management at each school or district level. Common Arguments Against Outcome-Based Education * Conflicts with admission requirements and practices of most colleges and universities, which rely on credit hours and standardized test scores * Some outcomes focus too much on feelings, values, attitudes and beliefs, and not enough on the attainment of factual knowledge * Relies on subjective evaluation, rather than objective tests and measurements.
* Undermines local control. NATIONAL STANDARDS Both the Standards movement and OBE movement have particular strengths and weaknesses. Their means and methods are different however, their objective is the same — To improve the education of future generations. We all remember the profound statements our parents repeated to us as we grew up. One of my favorites was, You can’t get anywhere if you’re not moving. Years can be spent arguing if OBE is better then Standards an …