The Russian Roulette Of High School Curricula Term paper
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Imagine walking down the hall of a crowded high school. Most of the students there do not envision how well school prepares them for college. Teenagers have few cares in the world! A vast majority takes the bare minimum amount of courses needed to fulfill school requirements. These graduation prerequisites usually do not come close to adequate, and rarely exceed sufficiency. Should high schools change current curriculum to better prepare students for college? The answer is simply, “yes.” ;Consideration of why and how holds the key to solving America’s problem. Why would one hypothesize a change is needed? First, international comparisons show the decline in education. Tests show American high school students rank much lower than other nations on standardized math and science tests (United States 66). On a test given in twenty-one nations, American pupils only outperformed Cyprus and South African students. These results seem more devastating when one sees Asian nations, usually ranking high in competitions, did not participate (McNamara 73). Examinations also reveal pupils’ ;performances decline as students climb up the educational ladder toward college. “We seem to be the only country in the world whose children fall farther behind the longer they stay in school” ;(“Nation” ;1). Yet, just comparing our students to international standards does not divulge the whole story. A big gap exists between stereotypical “poor” ;schools and “rich” ;schools. Millions of Americans do not enjoy the option of enrolling children in schools where better teachers and materials are affordable. They are forced to remain with whatever the district can provide. Usually these children are not of lower intelligence, they just do not have the opportunities to learn educational necessities. Most parents want to place posterity in institutions where they will obtain a better education, but lack the means to do so. If the government could implement programs emphasizing curriculum, these children would have a better chance of becoming leaders of the country. From here, one must consider courses. Current statistics and trends in American curriculum need examination. Since 1983, over twenty million American seniors graduated unable to do fundamental math. Also, over ten million did not learn to read at essential levels (1). Students graduate without rudimentary information about history, literature, art, and the philosophical foundations of their nation and civilization (Bennet 2). Tests of basic history knowledge have shown students lacking comprehension of past wars and conflicts as substantial as World War II. The public seems amazed upon discovering the details, but most college freshmen know these facts. Students realize soon after entering college courses that high schools do not adequately prepare them. More students need to achieve collegiate standards before high school graduation than in the past. Data from the U.S. Census show about seventy-percent of all youth today want to obtain a college education, up from thirty-nine percent in 1982 (Nunley 61). Why students are not learning the necessities is not a mystery at all. One must examine the current
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“A Nation Still at Risk.” The Center for Education Reform. 30 Apr. 1998. http://edreform.com/pubs/manifest.htm (10 Mar. 1999)
Bennet, William John. To Reclaim a Legacy. Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Humanities, 1984.
Cheney, Lynne V. American Memory: A Report on the Humanities in the Nation’s Public Schools. Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Humanities, 1987.
McNamara, Joseph S. “Confronting the Morality of Mediocrity.” USA Today Nov. 1998: 72-74.
Nunley, Charlene R. and Katheryn W. Gerberling. “High School/College Partnerships That Get Students Going.” The Education Digest. Mar. 1999: 61-64.
United States. Dept. of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. The Condition of Education 1998. Washington: GPO, 1998.
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