Obama’s education reforms not enough

Over the course of the last decade, our country has taken a hit in the world education rankings, which is, frankly, unacceptable for a purported super power.

The Programme for International Student Assessment, a study that evaluates 15-year-olds’ scholastic performance, rated the United States just average in its latest 2010 rankings.

Decreasing quality of our education led Congress to pass the No Child Left Behind Act, an act which requires all government-funded schools to administer standardized tests to receive appropriate funding.

However, in an idea that was originally received with great praise by both parties, the law has led to much questioning and controversy in the latter part of the last decade. Test scores have been fudged by teachers and administrators because the school’s funding depends strictly on these numbers.

In addition, the act doesn’t hold teachers accountable for their teaching. There is no way one can quantify the quality of the education received at said school by the score numbers since the intellectual capacity of every class is different.

Barack Obama’s intention of lifting parts of the act shows that the message has gotten to Washington — only years too late. In this revised policy, Obama will give more flexibility to certain states to transform low-performing schools and change the evaluation system for teachers.

Alongside these changes, we ask Obama to consider the alternatives in assessing public schools, such as evaluations based on score improvement. And in turn, these will truly show if an instructor has made the effort and the commitment to the students.

Furthermore, the United States can take inspiration from top-performing countries in possibly extending the school days, or to even change the structure of the school year.

Instead of the outdated system where summer vacations were necessary for harvest on the family farm, year-round schooling seems more logical today. With a rolling system, the seamless transition between years will be more efficient as students won’t need to spend that extra time reviewing previous material.

Obama’s intention to change this act is only a baby step for where the education system, which is so vital in today’s world, needs to be in this country. Education needs to be the center point of Obama’s continual message: change.

Maybe with a change to the system, our country’s stance in education rankings will too.