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An Equal Start

The American ideology of being the best could not be further from the truth in its education system.  Studies by PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) have shown that the United States is falling behind in national scores in math and science.  According to the studies the United States is ranked 21st out of 30 in science, and even lower in math which is 25th out of 30.  I think a step in the right direction for the overall improvement of the United States education system is a national curriculum that all public schools are made to follow.

The PISA studies show that Finland is number one in the national assessment for math and science scores. Finland also has a common curriculum for every school in their country.  I think that if America was to implement a common curriculum like the Finnish, we would see similar or better results. A national curriculum created by a panel of educational experts, which would make all public schools teach each of the subject thoroughly and effectively, thus giving the student a well rounded education and opening new and creative ideas toward future careers. The panel of experts would define what each student in the United States is taught and when the subject matter is appropriate to introduce.

Current curriculums in the United States are set in place by school board officials that are locally elected. I think this is a major problem in the educational system in the United States. This allows elected officials in different areas decide what they want to teach in their curriculum, and if different areas in the same country are teaching different matter at different times is this equal? This country was founded on the belief that everyone is equal, so it only seems right and just that we teach each child in the United States by one set national curriculum.

There is a form of national curriculum that is trying to gain support in the United States, it is called the common core standards. This allows the states to adopt a weak outline of education curriculum for K-12. If the United States adopted a strict curriculum like Finland’s, not this vague common core standards, it would greatly increase the educational system in the United States. The common core standard is a step in the right direction but is too vague in what should be taught in the class room. A national standard should be thorough of all subject not just math, literacy, and science like the common core standard. A national curriculum set forth by experts that believe in well rounded education in the arts, math, sciences, and literacy would be a ideal step for our countries education system.

Some people would argue that having a national curriculum is too socialist and will teach the culture that is dominant in the country. I agree this does sound like a socialist view, but in America we have been taught from a young age that we are equal in every way and then forced by our economic barriers to attend a public school and see richer children attend private or charter schools. This doesn’t seem very equal to me and a national curriculum would be the only way to solve this issue of social inequality. If a national curriculum was set in place this would eliminate the problem because all schools would have to teach a certain subject matter, and children would get the same information just at different public schools. The issue about the dominant culture prevailing and being forced upon the children of different cultural backgrounds would be a difficult problem to fix. Even though I agree with Fredrick Nietzsche concept on the will to power, I would still have to say the best solution would be to teach and educate all children across the United States to appreciate and understand each culture by equally teaching them throughout their educational careers. With this deeper understanding and appreciation for multiple cultures we will learn from each other and coexist with one another and grow as a society should.

A national curriculum is not the magical answer for the crisis that United States education system is in, but it’s surely a step in the right direction. The education crisis is not going to be fixed over night with a quick reform act, but instead we should look towards the educational experts, teachers, and students who all play a major role in the United States education system for answers. It only makes sense to ask someone who is so closely related and deeply endowed in an issue for a possible answer. As a current student on the track to a higher education my advice to the educational problem that is so prevalent in our country is a national curriculum for all schools.

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Categories: Curriculum Reform
  1. chadwells
    December 4, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Good points, but my questions is how is Finland’s educational system structured? What other differences are there that would affect the outcome of adopting their system?

  2. December 5, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Finland’s school system is structured different than United States. The children go to a comprehensive school from the ages 7 to 16. Then after completing comprehensive school student pick between a upper secondary school or vocational school. To answer your second question there is a slight few differences that would affect the outcome of this kind of education in the United States. The first would have to be demographics, America is a very diverse culture compared to Finland’s. Another reason is the quality of teachers in the United States, in Finland, teachers are required to have their Masters Degree. The social pedestal we hold teachers in America too is not nearly as high as Finland’s. I hope I answered your questions, if you have anymore, please ask.

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