U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that “a real state of crisis” exists in regard to America’s schooling, according to an NBC report Oct. 8.
Duncan’s commentary, made at NBC’s fourth annual Education Nation Summit, occurred shortly after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released data revealing that the U.S. trailed most industrialized nations in terms of knowledge in math, literature and technology at both the youth and adult levels. Alarmingly, the U.S. did better than average among older adults, 55-65, ranked average among 45-54, but did progressively worse among younger people.
Are we losing an education race against other industrialized nations? If so, how can we fix it?
In Texas, public school teachers are beholden to state standards, similar to other states. Texas campuses are graded on how many students receive course credits and how well students do on standardized tests. Threats of increased state oversight and reduced funding are leveled against schools that do not meet complex standards. Ultimately, these guidelines reduce the rigor and flexibility of academic instruction. How can I hold my high school seniors accountable for their performance if the state of Texas tacitly encourages me to make sure that nobody fails?