sociology paper 2

sociology paper 2 - Our Leaders of Tomorrow How the...

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Our Leaders of Tomorrow: How the American School System Needs to Change Today’s American school children, part of the Millennial generation, are called the future of our society, our “leaders of tomorrow.” But do they deserve this title? Tests and research say the verdict is questionable. Nearly 40% of America’s fourth graders read below the “basic” level on national tests. On international tests, the nations 12 th graders rank last in advanced physics, compared with students polled in 18 other countries. One third of all incoming college freshman have to enroll in a remedial reading, writing, or mathematics class before they can take regular courses. These numbers are even grimmer in urban regions, where nationally about 58% of low-income fourth graders cannot read at a basic level, and the percentages of reading-proficient eighth graders among the six lowest scoring cities—Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, District of Columbia, and Cleveland—didn’t reach above 15%(Finn 2004). The reasons for these shortcomings are numerous, and weighty. The only thing concretely clear is that the American public and governing powers need seriously to reconsider their educational goals and means of achieving them. Most of our school aged children are having a hard time achieving academically because of various issues; a lack of centralized curriculum across grades combined with poor teaching qualities, as well as inadequate funding and overcrowding are factors that probably just skim the surface of the dilemma. And it’s not as if American governing bodies aren’t aware of this—in 1983, the U.S. Department of Education published a report titled “A Nation at Risk.” The purpose of the report was to make the American public aware that education needed to be an “‘issue of national priority, national security, and a [top priority]’” (Hammer 2003). Since the U.S. economy has become much more
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skills based, making it more important that everyone get a good and thorough education, American attitudes towards education changed: previously the pubic conceded that it was OK if some American youth achieved academically, now they think that every American youth should achieve academically. Unfortunately, however, when the Department of Education brought a handful of leading scholars together to celebrate the 20 th anniversary of the publishing of the report, the panel members agreed that little progress has been made in improving academic achievement. One reason they cited for this lack of progress was the decreasing attraction of teaching as a profession. Many of the panel participants say that “attracting and
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This note was uploaded on 05/09/2008 for the course SOC 2070 taught by Professor Heckathorn during the Fall '05 term at Cornell.

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sociology paper 2 - Our Leaders of Tomorrow How the...

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