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Modern Education Issues

Modern Education Issues

7 January, 2016

Though there has been a lot of development in education since the ancient times, modern educational system can’t still be considered perfect.

There are still flaws that need to be addressed in modern education. Among which are the following.


This is the practice of dividing students at the primary or secondary school level into separate classes, depending if the student is superior, average, or low achievers. It also offers different curriculum paths for students headed for college and for those who are bound directly for the workplace or technical schools.

Curriculum issues
Curricula in the United States vary widely from place to place. Not only do schools offer a range of topics and quality, but private schools may include religious classes as compulsory for attendance. This raises the question of government funding vouchers in states with anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments in their constitution. This has produced camps of argument over the standardization of curricula and to what degree.

There is debate over which subjects should receive the most focus, with astronomy and geography among those cited as not being taught enough in schools.

English in the classroom

A large issue today is the use of the English language in teaching. English is spoken by over 95% of the nation, and there is a strong national tradition of upholding English as the universal language. Some 9.7 million children aged 5 to 17 primarily speak a language other than English at home. Of those, about 1.3 million children do not speak English well or at all.


At least 40% of college faculty believe that fresh high school graduates aren’t ready for college level but 90% of high school teachers argue that exiting students are well-prepared.

Dropout rates are also a concern in American four-year colleges.

Since the 1980s the number of educated Americans has continued to grow, but at a slower rate. Some have attributed this to an increase in the foreign born portion of the workforce. However, the decreasing growth of the educational workforce has instead been primarily due to slowing down in educational attainment of people schooled in the United States.

Violence and drug use
Violence is a problem in high schools, depending on the size and level of the school. Between 1996 and September 2003, at least 46 students and teachers were killed in 27 incidents involving the use of firearms.

Also in 2001, 47% of American high school students drank alcohol at least once; 24% of high school students smoked marijuana, 5% smoking right at school. 29% of students who smoke marijuana obtain the drug at school.

Sex education
Almost all students in the U.S. receive some form of sex education at least once between grades 7 and 12; many schools begin addressing some topics as early as grades 4 or 5. However, what students learn varies widely, because curriculum decisions are so decentralized. Many states have laws governing what is taught in sex education classes or allowing parents to opt out.

Textbook review and adoption

In many localities in the United States, the curriculum taught in public schools is influenced by the textbooks used by the teachers. In some states, textbooks are selected for all students at the state level.

In 2010, the Texas Board of Education adopted new Social Studies standards that could potentially impact the content of textbooks purchased in other parts of the country. The deliberations that resulted in the new standards were partisan in nature and are said to reflect a conservative leaning in the view of United States history.

Funding for K–12 schools
Funding for schools in the United States is complex. One current controversy stems much from the No Child Left Behind Act. The Act gives the Department of Education the right to withhold funding if it believes a school, district, or even a state is not complying and is making no effort to comply. However, federal funding accounts for little of the overall funding schools receive. The vast majority comes from the state government and in some cases from local property taxes. Various groups, many of whom are teachers, constantly push for more funding. They point to many different situations, such as the fact that in many schools funding for classroom supplies is so inadequate that teachers, especially those at the elementary level, must supplement their supplies with purchases of their own.

Judicial intervention

The reliance on local funding sources has led to a long history of court challenges about how states fund their schools. These challenges have relied on interpretations of state constitutions after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that school funding was not a matter of the U.S. Constitution

Funding for college
At the college and university level student loan funding is split in half; half is managed by the Department of Education directly, called the Federal Direct Student Loan Program (FDSLP). The other half is managed by commercial entities such as banks, credit unions, and financial services firms such as Sallie Mae, under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). Some schools accept only FFELP loans; others accept only FDSLP. Still others accept both, and a few schools will not accept either, in which case students must seek out private alternatives for student loans.

Charter schools
The charter-school movement was born in 1990. Charter schools have spread rapidly in the United States, members, parents, teachers, and students” to allow for the “expression of diverse teaching philosophies and cultural and social life styles.”

Affirmative action
In 2003 a Supreme Court decision concerning affirmative action in universities allowed educational institutions to consider race as a factor in admitting students, but ruled that strict point systems are unconstitutional. Opponents of racial affirmative action argue that the program actually benefits middle- and upper-class people of color at the expense of lower class European Americans and Asian Americans. Prominent African American academics Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier, while favoring affirmative action, have argued that in practice, it has led to recent black immigrants and their children being greatly overrepresented at elite institutions, at the expense of the historic African American community made up of descendants of slaves. In 2006, Jian Li, a Chinese undergraduate at Yale University, filed a civil rights complaint with the Office for Civil Rights against Princeton University, claiming that his race played a role in their decision to reject his application for admission.

There is some debate about where control for education actually lies.

Many cities have their own school boards everywhere in the United States. With the exception of cities, outside the northeast U.S. school boards are generally constituted at the county level.

The U.S. federal government exercises its control through the U.S. Department of Education. Educational accreditation decisions are made by voluntary regional associations. Schools in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, teach in English, while schools in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico teach in Spanish. Nonprofit private schools are widespread, are largely independent of the government, and include secular as well as parochial schools.

International comparison

In the 2006 assessment, the U.S. ranked 35th out of 57 in mathematics and 29th out of 57 in science. U.S. scores were behind those of most other developed nations.

However, the picture changes when low achievers in the U.S. are broken out by race. White and Asian students in the United States are generally among the best-performing pupils in the world; black and Hispanic students in the U.S. have very high rates of low achievement.

US fourth and eighth graders tested above average on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study tests, which emphasizes traditional learning.