English 1020 3rd Period
11 April 2015
The Cost of Under Educating America
Historically, America’s goal of public education was to teach what we now call the core subjects such as math, science, English, and history, yet also prepare future generations for citizenship and, according to Thomas Jefferson, “ to give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business….” These ideas of a proper education are not antiquated, for they remain the staple of educational goals today. Despite the goals of public education going unchanged since the days of Jefferson, America has continually used more resources with aims to achieve those same goals. This unjustifiable spending has yet to produce a system in which schools fully achieve those goals. The question is then raised, why is America spending more each year for the public education system while still receiving the same results?
Or in some cases, worse results? Although there are many contributing factors, ineffective evaluations of students and teachers, the way teachers are paid, and unsuccessful, stringent standards have led to an increase in spending for public education in America, while American students are still receiving an inadequate education.
First, is America really spending too much? Many Americans, including the Obama administration, actually claim the opposite. So therefore, a large majority of Americans feel they aren’t spending an appropriate amount, but then the question is left: too much or not enough?
Well, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in 2010 America was the 4th
highest spender in public education behind only Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Norway
(nces.ed.gov) . That means America spends more on education than other highly competitive countries in the global economy such as Japan, Great Britain, Germany, India, and many others.
According to Andrew J. Coulson and the Cato institute, from 19702010 America has steadily continued to allocate more funding to the public schooling system. So much so that in 2010 the average cost for a single student from the beginning of kindergarten to the completion of twelfth grade had tripled since 1970, and the employees of the public education system had doubled in that same 40 year period (Coulson) . One would probably assume, due to the growing expense of public education and growing amount of employed staff at public schools throughout the country, that America’s educational system would also experience at least a somewhat proportional growth in student achievement and enrollment.
On the contrary, America has seen no increase in the average high school senior’s scores in reading or math from 19702010 according to that same study by Coulson. While there was no increase in math or reading, there actually was a slight decrease in senior’s science scores from
19702000. Furthermore, as the amount of employed staff at America’s schools doubled during that time period, the student enrollment growth was not even near the doubling growth of the employed staff, as the student enrollment from the time period was approximately 10%
(Coulson) . While Americans continued spending more on public education, nearly tripling the amount in 40 years, American students did not improve their scores in the core subjects, and the average student’s science scores actually dropped over the years. Students are not just struggling in the core subjects. In fact, a large majority of high school graduates are unable to pass a U.S. citizenship exam (Haskins)
. If schools are failing to instil civic duty in the future of America,
then America’s future as a nation is compromised. America can not expect future generations to participate in a democratic society when they do not understand how their government works. If
America is supposed to, according to Jefferson, “give to every