The Failing American School System

Running head: WHY IS THE AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM FALING? Why is the American School System Failing? John E. Rumrill Ottawa University EDC 7153 2/23/2011 Abstract Are nondiscriminatory decisions made that are appropriate for the education of each student? This document will attempt to identify trends in education. Resources that include padding grades, buying grades, buying degrees and corruption in learning institutions are evaluated.

Part time instructors and inexperienced faculty members aid to the continued problem. There are many reasons the American school system is failing this document identifies some of the biggest problems.Why is the American School System Failing? In Battle (2002) “Why Bright Kids Fail: Helping the Underachiever” a main point focuses on depression.

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True as it is noted, depression makes it hard to learn. Today’s students are faced with too much stress and negativity; from: being overweight, to name calling and bullying it is hard for these students to focus. Noted that undiagnosed depression is a leading emotional illness of childhood brings new evidence to the topic of the failing school system. In children depression produces the same slowing of abilities both mental and physical as in adults.

The feelings of being worthless and hopeless could easily create intense fatigue. Sleep becomes the priority rather than interaction with peers or adults. Knowing these concerns it is understandable why children cannot meet the level of concentration needed for proper learning or test-taking cannot be attained.

This in turn increases school failure rate and feeling inadequate. A specific student, Jenny (as noted from this article) recalls that she cannot ever remember a time where she did not feel awful of dread and self-hate. Jenny was an honor roll student who ended up quitting school her junior year.Eventually she felt too tired to even tell anyone of her feelings. Had she told of her feelings she felt it would be interpreted as having mononucleosis due to her recent ended relationship. An attempt at suicide provided her with the much needed attention.

She is now working towards completing her GED and hopes to enter a junior college. Any teacher will tell you that an ongoing concern in any classroom is simple distractions. Noted from Battle (2002) students must be able to pay as much attention in class as there is available. These distractions are not limited to classroom interruptions many stem from home.Many children come to school with “one eye” on their work and the other on family dynamics, which could be divorce, death, issues of mental and physical health from family members.

“I think I knew before my parents did that they were going to get a divorce,” said Harry, once an “A” student who now struggles to pass his courses. “I think about it all the time and wonder whether my dad can handle it all alone and away from us and if my mom will ever stop crying,” as quoted from Battle (2002). This is an all true example of kids having to hear the family troubles without regard. According to Werby ”Why do Kids fail in School? The social demands occurring in a child’s brain are competing with the body and undergoing incredible changes.

The large amount of memorization required during this time in their lives is greater than any quantity they will be required to obtain. With homework and extracurricular activities there is an ever increased pressure to succeed in all areas. Many students regularly have a twelve hour day and time on the weekend. Most high school students have a more rigorous workload than many middle managers. Taking all of the prior information into consideration add in a troubled home life.

Werby adds to the categories why students fail in school: poor language skills, problems with attention control, social interaction, fine motor control difficulty, poor memory and disorganization. She notes that students do not fail because they want to but because they “don’t care”. Noting these problems are too difficult to overcome without help. The following image is a representation of the cycle identified. It is often difficult to identify why children fail in school. However, Acevedo (2008) “Why Children Fail in School,” lists ten reasons: 1. Lack of parental involvement/ absenteeism. .

Poor organization. 3. Poor study skills. 4. Lack of motivation.

5. Poor reading comprehension. 6. Poor basic arithmetic. 7. Hunger, lack of sleep.

8. Peer pressure. 9. Lack of social skills. 10. Low self-esteem.

11. Lack of school resources and staff. 12. Lack of communication within the school. The initial ten of these are specifically student related while the last two are school issues.

A new book Why Boys Fail in School attempts to identify the issues. An article by Strauss (2010) from the Washington Post, “Why Boys Fail in School” examines the analysis.Kids are now forced to use literacy skills at ever younger grades and boys take longer to develop them. Author Richard Whitmire supports the solution needs to take a “politically incorrect” stance by the Education Secretary Arne Duncan that will require the government to admit the problem for the first time. Whitmire identifies that kindergartners are required to perform the task of second grades from previous periods in time, “thanks to the standards and accountability movement, and NCLB law.

” He believes that boys are no longer provided the opportunity to catch up.In previous decades boys usually caught up by the fourth or fifth grade, Whitmire states. Today, in most schools, they do not have that luxury. Another argument Whitmire addresses is literacy in almost all subjects. Once, math class used to focus attention on algorithmic calculations, but increased usage of word problems has forced literacy into mathematics. Writing has even bigger gap, the focus shifts to race rather than gender. Recent college graduates who received a two-year associate’s degree identified woman at 62% and 57% of bachelor’s degrees.The National Assessment of Educational Progress—a test often referred to as the “nation’s report card”—shows a gender gap.

High school seniors almost 23% of the white sons of college—educated parents scored “below basic” in reading compared to 7% of the daughters. Some culprits identified as being wrong for the gap in education include: video games, pop culture even feminists. Handy (2003) “Why Students Fail,” has similar characteristics but with one exception: underproductive exam anxiety. Most students suffer from test anxiety.A major roadblock to this item is selecting the modality of assessment preparation; these items include picking the best location to study, having the correct materials to effectively study and allowing for breaks and comprehension of the studying material. Children are often told by their parents and teachers to study. The problem is that no has taught them study habits and methods for best practices.

This has been assumed that once the instruction is given the child just goes and does it; this is not the case for all learners. In Walters (2004) the shift for failing students identifies the school itself.In a notable southern school a bribery scandal has erupted. The charge is actually paying for grades and not taking the class. This scandal has gone on for more than nine years and has surmounted to more than five hundred students involved. Many of these students have entered the workforce and are being identified and facing possible criminal charges.

The research proposal “An Examination of Grade Inflation in Academia,” submitted by Rumrill (2011) attempts to identify continued misuse of grading practices and policies in institutions nationally and internationally.The article, “Can High School Grades be Trusted? ” examines a very interesting perspective. From the findings of Farran (2009) it was found that many students in some Vancouver B.

C. high schools were taking the same class at multiple locations. In his findings these students were utilizing a government instituted program that allowed students living in rural areas to take online classes in an attempt to be better prepared. Some intellectual students utilized this opportunity and enrolled in multiple schools taking the same course.The objective here is to complete the class at all locations and then to apply the highest grade to their transcript. A main component of this concept surrounds the credibility of the schools. It is noted that some school, typically charter or private, would enroll these students and once tuition was paid provided the students with the grade desired, which would then transfer to the respective transcript. This is turn would allow access to Ivy League Schools in the United States where they needed a high GPA to enter.

Once these students entered the institution they were incapable of competing with their peers due to low academic ability. Ferritor (2006) attempts to find patterns in academic grades. From the research provided it is suggested that patterns exist. Since concerns about academics in the American educational system arose there are patterns that cannot be ignored. First, grades have risen systematically since the 1960’s. During this time it has been identified that obtaining a higher education was a dodge to joining the service.

When the war in Vietnam developed many adults rushed to the local college or university and enrolled. The universities identified the need for these students to stay in school. In turn instructors were more lenient in assigning above average grades for less than average work. Increasing the gap in knowledge. The problem lies with assessments. According to data from SAT scores these numbers do not align. Where the academic grade is “inflated” the SAT scores are raw and an accurate adaptation of the knowledge retained is illustrated. Second, inferior teaching skills.

With economic situations continuing to tighten schools/ colleges and universities are forced to react. This reaction includes hiring less than qualified individuals. These individuals are not as dedicated and do not feel they should have to put in the time to effectively grade papers. These factors include: adjunct faculty, temporary teachers, teachers without benefits and lower paid employees. The text assigned Teachers and the Law identifies cases in point that support the argument. Contracts have been under fire for years. Recent changes in Arizona law have removed any constraints from the employer to the faculty.The new law defines contracts as a “working agreement” only.

At which point either party can withdraw at any point for any reason. If a teacher is performing inadequately then the district could have the individual removed. All that is needed is board approval.

A current issue under fire is collective bargaining which is causing turmoil. In one state Wisconsin the issue is hurting the students. The simple fact is that collective bargaining is a tool that was necessary at one point and continues to be a necessity. It becomes an issue when it affects students and their learning.Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) has many lawsuits that identified problems in the education system.

Cases that identified problems in education which solicited support failing children include: * Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka identifies segregation. * Honig v. Doe identifies allowed the Zero Reject component of I. D.

E. A. * Larry P.

v. Riles aided in Nondiscriminatory Evaluation of I. D.

E. A. * Board of Education v. Rowley implemented I. E. P. and established guidelines as necessary based on determination. * And Schaffer v.

Weast which provides due process. All of the above related cases identified causes to why the school systems are failing. These now landmark cases have filled a void where a problem once occurred.

In summation, there are many issues surrounding the American Public School System. The gaps in education have increased during the last forty years. They have been identified as being a problem and are being addressed. The biggest question still remaining; what will it take and who will fix the problem of the Failing American School System? References Battle, J. (2002). Why Bright Kids Fail: Helping the Underachiever. ” http://www. about-underachieving-teens.

com/why-bright-kids-fail. html Werby, O. ”Why do Kids fail in School? ” Individual Educational Evaluations for Bay Area Students. http://www. edevaluation. com/index. html Acevedo, K.

(2008). “Why Children Fail in School. ” http://www. suite101. com/content/why-children-fail-in-school-a52392 Strauss, V.

(2010). “Why Boys Fail in School. ” Washington Post. Handy, E. (2003). “Why Students Fail. ” http://academic.

udayton. edu/legaled/barpass/Other/resource02. htm Walters, J. 2004). “Southern Discomfort.

” The Guardian. http://www. guardian. co. uk/education/2004/may/04/highereducation.

internationaleducationnews Rumrill, J. (2011). “An Examination of Grade Inflation in Academia. ” Farran, S.

(2009, Vol. 122, Issue 44). “Can High School Grades Be Trusted? ” Ferritor, D. (2006, Vol. 12, No.

6). “Grade Inflation in Higher Education Isolated or Symmetric? ” International Journal of Learning. Turnball, Stow and Huerta. (2007. 7th ed. ).

Free Appropriate Public Education. Schimmel, Stellman and Fischer. (2011. 8th ed. ).

Teachers and the Law.