Primary Education in America and the Changing Needs of Society
The primary education system in America is not entirely broken, yet many schools have failed students while the overall network of educational institutes continue to struggle when it comes to adapting to our modern world. Due to globalization and advancing technology, the needs of modern American students are drastically different from their predecessors. Because there is a need for a far more dynamic workforce with the capacity to acquire massive amounts of data and innovate, the American education system requires real change.
Unfortunately, it takes a great amount of time and effort for most people to fully absorb new information and develop new skills. This is particularly true when we are educated to simply memorize and recite our lessons. Since our modern world is constantly generating new knowledge while new advancements quickly outdate skills, this old fashion model is insufficient. As such, the education system needs to provide students with broader, flexible skill sets that enable them to learn more efficiently and effectively throughout the rest of their lives as additional schooling is not always a viable option.
Furthermore, globalization for the workplace has meant competition on a global scale and the weakening of labor protections like unions. Due to higher living standards, legacy costs, and safety regulations, it often costs far more to operate in the United States than to import goods from around the world. As such, Americans must offer skills that can help offset this cost gap. Regrettably, the state of the American education system does not currently meet this demand. Since shifts in technology constantly reshape needs in business, this means Americans can only compete with dynamic lifelong learning skills.
Beyond continued learning and dynamic skill sets, students also need a broad exposure to various trades and subject material. The use of standardized testing has enabled schools to follow trends in education, yet the tests only cover a narrow set of subjects involving technical information. Reform efforts like the No Child Left Behind Law focused far too heavily on these measures and punitive action, thereby leading schools to focus on these subject areas and lower performance in other areas. The very unfortunate result is a narrowing of our school curricula when it needs to be broadened as well as more open to allow for creative thinking and problem solving.
The world is a very dynamic place while the primary education system can be a rather static environment. In order to change this reality, schools require a new mission that reflects the changing needs of our society. It is unrealistic for students to become experts in every subject area while there will never be enough time during formal education to teach students everything they need for their professions. The future is filled with unexpected social needs, so students need to learn how to be more innovative and dynamic. Accordingly, the mission of schools must be centered on lifelong self-learning.