The Need for Federal Government Involvement in Education ReformFor centuries, generations of families have congregated in the same community orin the same general region of the country. Children grew up expecting to earn aliving much like their fathers and mothers or other adults in their community. Any advanced skills they required beyond the three R’s (Readin’, Ritin’ andRithmatik) were determined by the local community and incorporated into thecurriculum of the local schools. These advanced skills were taught to the up-and-coming generation so they could become a vital part of their community. Thelast several decades has greatly expanded the bounds of the “community” toalmost anywhere in the country or anywhere in the world for that matter.Order now
Advances in transportation and communication has made the world a much smallerplace then the world we knew as children. The skills our children need torealize parents’ perpetual dream of “their children having a better life” are nolonger limited to those seen in the local area. It is becoming more and moreapparent that the education system of yesterday cannot adequately preparestudents for life and work in the 21st Century. These concerns have promptedpeople across the country to take a hard look at our education system and toorganize their efforts to chance the education system as we know it. There are two major movements in recent years whose focus is to enhance theeducation of future generations. The “Standards” movement focuses oneducational content and raising the standards of traditional teaching andmeasurement means and methods.
The “Outcome Based Education” (OBE) movement isexploring new ways of designing education and changing the way we measure theeffectiveness of education by focusing on results or outcomes. In September 1989, President Bush and the nation’s governors called anEducation Summit in Charlottesville, Virginia. At this summit, President Bushand the nation s governors, including then-governor Bill Clinton, agreed on sixbroad goals for education to be reached by the year 2000. Two of those goals (3and 4) related specifically to academic achievement:* Goal 3: By the year 2000, American students will leave grades 4, 8, and 12having demonstrated competency in challenging subject matter including English,mathematics, science, history, and geography; and every school in America willensure that all students learn to use their minds well, so they may be preparedfor responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment in our* Goal 4: By the year 2000, U. S.
students will be first in the world in scienceSoon after the summit, two groups were established to implement the neweducational goals: the National Education Goals Panel (NEGP) and the NationalCouncil on Education Standards and Testing (NCEST). Together, these two groupswere charged with addressing unprecedented questions regarding Americaneducation such as: What is the subject matter to be addressed? What types ofassessments should be used? What standards of performance should be set?The summit and its aftermath engendered a flurry of activity fromnational subject matter organizations to establish standards in their respectiveareas. Many of these groups looked for guidance from the National Council ofTeachers of Mathematics who publishing the Curriculum and Evaluation Standardsfor School Mathematics in 1989. The NCTM standards “redefined the study of mathso that topics and concepts would be introduced at an earlier age, and studentswould view math as a relevant problem-solving discipline rather than as a set ofobscure formulas to be memorized.
” The National Science Teachers Associationand the American Association for the Advancement of Science quickly launchedindependent attempts to identify standards in science. Efforts soon followed inthe fields of civics, dance, theater, music, art, language arts, history, andThe decade of the 80s brought numerous education reforms, but few ofthem were a dramatic shift from what has gone on before. Outcome-basededucation (OBE) is one of those that is new, even revolutionary, and is nowbeing promoted as the panacea for America’s educational woes. This reform hasbeen driven by educators in response to demands for greater accountability bytaxpayers and as a vehicle for breaking with traditional ideas about how weteach our children. If implemented, this approach to curriculum developmentcould change our schools more than any other reform proposal in the last thirtyThe focus of past and present curriculum has been on content, on theknowledge to be acquired by each student.
Our language, literature, history,customs, traditions, and morals, often called Western civilization, dominatedthe learning process through secondary school. If students