U.S. Education Needs Successful Reform, And Here’s Why

With U.S. students ranking behind countries across the world on multiple sets of assessments, there’s no denying that educational reform is a must, if our students are to measure up to their global peers. What’s more, the need for reform must be ongoing if the United States is to retain its position as one of the top-performing global economies. The school learners of today are the architects, businesspeople, law and policy makers, and teachers of tomorrow; and ensuring that every student receives adequate education to meet this goal should be a national priority. Although the American school system is the best-financed system in the world, it is also one of the lowest-performing. This fact alone shows the need for ongoing reform efforts to address this disparity.

The Obama administration has set an aim of providing all students with the same opportunities for learning, allowing them to reach high levels of proficiency. Standardization of required learning material and curricula may become a reality across the United States, and both existing and new teachers need to be aware of this. As mentioned earlier, the Common Core State Standards Initiative is a nationwide, state-driven initiative that’s receiving widespread recognition. This initiative uses the empirical results of successful reform efforts from around the country and around the world and puts them to practical use.

The development of these standards is being coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and the standards may very well turn into required national standards. This should not, however, be viewed as an attempt by the federal government to promote the nationalization of education, because this is not a federal initiative. These standards are geared toward ensuring that students who pass through the school system are prepared to cope with the level required by colleges across the country or for future career success.

These changes, however, are likely to be ineffective if schools, districts, and states can’t encourage and implement reform. During your teaching career, it’s vital for you to understand how reform efforts work, what makes them successful, and how you can participate in making the reform successful.

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