Problems Of US Education

Today, the way the educational system works in the U.S. concerns a large number
of people in this country. "Only 25% of adults have a great deal of
confidence in the people running education, according to the General Social

Survey, down from 49% in 1974" (Russel 4). A lot of discussions have been
held to find the best ways to improve teaching methods. At the same time, people
recognize that a very valuable solution to increase the level of education in
the United States is to look at some problems that cause difficulties and hamper
the enhancement of the quality of education. The first step is to define these
problems. As in every country, the U.S. wants to develop its national standards
in education and wants them to be high. This has always been a government
function. Being democratic, the government is trying to fit the qualities of
democracy into the way to set these standards. Of course, this is not an easy
task since this country has a very diverse population. To please everybody has
always been an almost impossible task. Despite this impossibility, national
standards have already been set. "If a visitor from another nation was
dropped into an American public school classroom without knowing the state or
the region, he or she would be likely to see the same lesson taught in the same
way to children of the same age" (Ravitch 9). Everything seems right except
the fact that the abilities of children are different. Not everybody is able to
study at a college; not everybody wants to continue being educated. It is
obvious that every country wants to produce as many educated people as possible.

But, at the same time, every country needs workers because, regardless of the
fast development of technology, there is still a great necessity for human
labor. To satisfy all the necessities of the country, the government should
provide different kinds of education. This does not mean that we need to
eliminate all of the standards; they could be set in each field of education.

Although standards are set, there is still a very big difference in teaching
methods in different schools. Perhaps, the most serious problem starts in high
schools: some schools provide a higher level of education than others. Students
from most city schools graduate with the confidence in their knowledge; their
level of education is high enough to attend a university. On the other hand,
students from small towns, suburbs, and villages do not have the opportunity to
get that kind of education because schools in small areas of the United States
can not provide the same level of education as schools in large cities. The
democratic idea of everybody having an equal education is breached. The
"high school" problem further extends to most of the nation's colleges
and universities. Students that come to colleges do not have the same level of
knowledge. This could be proved by the results of the ACT (American College

Test). According to the information provided by the ACT, Inc., out of all the
students who took the test in 1997 (959,301), almost the same number of students
scored 27 (36,566) as those who scored 14 (36,100). To solve this problem the
general education program was brought into the college curriculum. It provides
every college student with basic knowledge and, at the same time, balances the
general level of education. It seems to be a perfect way to solve the problem of
inequality in the educational system. This would be acceptable if it did not
impede the system itself. A lot of students that have already gotten enough
general education are held back because they are required to take the courses
they already had. Most of them think that it is a waste of time and money. The
other significant problem is the dropout level in the U.S. colleges. "In
states with high postsecondary matriculation rates, the college dropout rates
can run as high as two thirds...about one half of those who try the
baccalaureate college game will fail" (Gray 530). This means that around

50% of those who attempt to go to college do not get their degrees, thus wasting
their time and money. Personal and family problems are the most general reasons
for students to drop out. Yet, there are a lot of students who once were
convinced by their parents and teachers to continue education, but now realized
that they can live without it and that there are ways to make good money having
no college education. These students' attitudes toward the higher education
influence the