The U.S. Government Is Failing Our Kids
American Students Falling Behind Their International PeersClick thumbnail to view full-size
According to The Washington Post, American Students are falling behind their international peers. The news was revealed in an article published on December 6, 2016. This conclusion stems from the results of a 2015 International Assessment Test by (PISA).
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) started in 2000. It was created to measure the performance of 15-year-old students in science, math and reading literacy among the 35 industrialized countries. Sadly, the U.S. ranks 30th amidst the selected members of the (OECD).
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provides a forum where the governments of 35 countries with market economies collaborate. This collaboration also includes more than 70 non-member economies to promote economic growth, prosperity, and sustainable development.
In the 2015 (PISA) Testing, 73 countries participated. There were approximately 540,000 students, including 5,700 U.S. public and private-school students. Disappointingly, the U.S. students ranked 40th in the world. The average math score for the U.S. was 470 which indicates the second decline in the past two assessments. The average math score for the U.S. in 2012 was 482 and in 2009 it was 488. The U.S. score in 2015 was 23 points lower than the average of all of the countries participating.
On a positive note, 6 % of U.S. students had scores in the highest proficiency range. However, 29 % of U.S. students did not meet the test’s baseline proficiency for math.
The U. S. ranked 25th in science literacy and 24th in reading literacy. These rankings went unchanged from previous years.
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) was conducted around the same time. The test subjects this time were 4th and 8th graders. The results showed that American students trailed their Asian peers in math and science achievement.
These statistics are devastatingly alarming and deems America's Education System inferior to other Countries. They conclude that American Students are under-educated and unprepared for college compared to their international peers.
It is unfair to subject our kids to such testing when our Government knows it is not preparing them to excel in such assessments. It is unfair to set them up for failure when those in power fail to bestow Superior Education to All American Students.
It is widespread knowledge that only a select few receive Superior Curricula while their peers in Urban/Low-Income/Poverty Stricken Communities receive racially/economically/socially/spiritually biased Curricula. I will share my own personal story about this later on. These circumstances place unearned and unjust stigmas upon such students who deserve better treatment from their Government and Communities.
In this Hub, I will discuss the plethora of ways the American Government is failing our kids in the Education System.
- On the world stage, U.S. students fall behind - The Washington Post
Math scores drop for U.S. high schoolers while reading and science scores stay the same.
Teachers For The 'No-Zero' Grading Policy
The 'No-Zero' Grading Policy bans or discourages teachers from given grades lower than 50%. The policy makes it more difficult for students to flunk classes. It also permits students opportunities to retake exams or turn in late work.
It shouldn't be a surprise that teachers across the U.S. are divided about this new initiative.
Some teachers and other educators alike feel zeroes distort what the students actually are learning. Receiving a zero on an assignment could drastically decrease a student's average in a course. This could negatively affect a high performing student's chances of getting into a prestigious University. For this reason, High School teachers are pressured into giving students 50% grades instead of zeroes.
For example, if Student A excels in a subject for most of the term but failed to complete or do an assignment, they'd normally receive a zero. In this example, receiving an incomplete would drastically change the student's average in that particular course. If could prevent said student from getting into an Ivy League University. The zero would not reflect what Student A has learned throughout the course. Depending on the teacher and situation, Student A might get to finish or do the assignment.
In this case, I would have NO problem with Student A getting a second chance due to "good faith." Student A has shown in the past that they have a strong work ethic and wouldn't intentionally miss completing an assignment.
Teachers Against the 'No-Zero' Policy
It's no secret that teachers aren't respected like they should be. I'm talking about teachers who protect and not harm their students. I'm talking about those dedicated teachers that use their own money to buy their students much needed supplies. Most teachers don't get paid what they're worth which makes my last statement that much more meaningful! It has to be disheartening to do a job where you get zero respect! Here's a shout-out to those teachers that encourage students to be Free-thinkers! I see you and I appreciate you!
I can certainly see these types of teachers being against the 'No-Zero' Policy. Some teachers argue that this policy disrupts a teacher's ability to enforce positive work ethics. It can disallow teachers to prepare students for college and the workforce. The Nay-Sayers feel that falsifying student grades can distort their actual achievements. Their failings would be covered up until they con themselves into college. Once accepted, it wouldn't take long before the Professors discover the truth!
Let's look at an example with Student B. Student B has missed 50% of a given course.
Their Absenteeism is Not Due to Outside Sources Like:
- Living in Poverty
- Don't Have Access to Transportation
- Family Problems
- Living in a Dangerous Community
- Pressured to Quit School and Help the Family
Their Absenteeism is Not Due to Personal Factors Like:
- They're Not Being Challenged Enough
- They Have a Learning Disability
- They Are Embarrassed to Ask For Extra Help
- They Are Being Bullied
- Battling a Sickness
Student B doesn't want to go to school but wants to game the system and get a free pass.
Should the 'No-Zero' Policy be applied to Student B's plight? I don't think so! Is it fair to expect and/or pressure their teacher into giving them 50% on assignments that they failed to turn in? I think not. This situation clearly calls for an alternate policy that doesn't ask the teacher to compromise their ethics nor hurt the child by passing them anyway! It's a shame that great teachers choose to quit rather than comply with this policy!
It's been suggested that students should be evaluated in two ways: Their Academic Achievements and Social Behavioral. This approach helps struggling students who are actually trying to get good grades. There are going to be challenging subjects that a student must take in their academic journey. It isn't fair to fail them just because they can't grasp the basics of the course. In that instance, a tutor should be required. This initiative has my vote, hands down!
Possible Reasons Student C is Struggling Academically
- Their School Looks Like a Prison
- Their School Buildings Are Old and Falling Apart
- Their School Books Are Old and Falling Apart
- They're Treated Like An Inmate
- They Have to Deal with Metal Detectors
- They Might Have To Endure Random Body Searches
- They're Discouraged From Being a FREE-thinker
- They're Discouraged From Questioning Their Teacher On What's Being Taught
- They Routinely Witness Cops on Campus
- They Trusted in Their Government and Felt Betrayed. They Were Encouraged To Get a "good" education to get a "good job" But People That They Know Graduated High School/College and Haven't Managed to "get a good job," Despite Having Degrees That They Worked So Hard To Achieve!
- They Started Researching Subject Matters That Contradict What's Being Taught in School!
Just a thought!
- Is it becoming too hard to fail? Schools are shifting toward no-zero grading policies - The Washingt
Schools across the country are adopting policies that encourage students to keep trying by avoiding grades that would put them into too deep of an academic hole.
President Trump's Educational Plans for Fiscal Year 2018
President Trump plans to cut $9.2 billion out of the budget for education. If you convert that into a percentage, it's 13.5 percent. The budget cut will spread across grades K-12. Supposedly, this deep cut will aid in funding higher education. Fortunately, President Trump doesn't have final say for it needs Congress' approval.
That's a nice chunk out of funds that further weakens an already decrepit system. Yet, this country prides itself on living the 'American Dream.' I'd love for the President to answer this question for me. What are the chances of having a high turn-over rate for High School Students going to College if they are NOT prepared? Does it make sense to focus more on College Spending when so many kids are struggling to get there? Just saying!
The following are the proposed changes to Student Loans:
- The federal government would stop subsidizing the interest on student loans. There would be a cut of $1 billion in the next fiscal year. This would add thousands of dollars to the cost of college, primarily for low-income graduates.
- Simplifying student loan repayment plans. This proposal is supported by bi-partisans. Currently, borrowers have a multitude of options: standard repayment (a 10-year term), graduated, extended, pay-as-you-earn, income-based, income-contingent and public service loan forgiveness. This budget would create just one repayment which maximizes monthly payments at 12.5% of discretionary income. This is your remaining income after deduction of taxes, other mandatory charges, and expenditure on necessary items. For undergraduate borrowers, the balance would be forgiven after 15 years.
- Simplifying the loan programs will allow the budget to phase out the public service loan forgiveness program. This program erases student loans after 10 years of employment for the government or a qualifying nonprofit. Almost half a million people are enrolled in this program. Those with graduate degrees have the largest balances such as: teachers, doctors and lawyers.
It's a program that provides tuition aid for low-income students.
Currently, you can only get one in the fall and one in the spring. Trump is proposing for it to be available year-round.
I have to say that I actually like this idea!
Title I is the biggest K-12 federal education program. It supports high-poverty schools. Under this budget, regular Title I funding would be unsupported. There would be no agenda to raise funds for the program. $1 billion would be funded to a new grant program for states that allow poor students to leave community schools for other public schools. They can then take that extra money with them. This concept is known as "portability," or "backpack of cash."
It's controversial, because it means redistributing funds from poorer schools and potentially poorer districts to richer ones.
$250 million would create vouchers for private schools. Whereas, $167 million would go to charter schools.
The administration is in the midst of creating a tax credit scholarship program (sometimes called neo-vouchers), as part of a tax reform.
- President Trump's Budget Proposal Calls For Deep Cuts To Education : NPR Ed : NPR
The White House is expected to ask for big cuts, push school choice and change student loan repayment. But presidents have rarely succeeded in cutting the Education Department budget.
When dealing with a student who's struggling academically, don't make assumptions! As I've pointed out, there could be several factors to consider.
I received most of my early schooling from a racially diverse Christian School. I attended that school from the 2nd grade to the 6th grade. I had a chance to attend a community school in a semi-upper class district one town away. Despite excelling well in the previous school, I ended up taking remedial courses for most of that first year. The previous school's curriculum was lacking and I fell behind that first year. However, I fared better during the 2nd and graduated to the 9th grade!
With that being said, our government must be held accountable for their biased treatment of those outside of Suburbia! George Bush Junior said, "No Child Left Behind!" Ironically, that's exactly what's happening and it starts and ends with those in high positions, making laws that affect America's future!
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