Failure of American Public Education: Still Waiting for the Harvest: My 48 Years In Urban Schools Sowing Seeds to Regain Hope in a Failed System
Despite all of the positive things that we have done in American education, we have failed miserably! When it comes to academic rigor in America's large urban schools, other nations such as China, India, and Singapore are passing us at alarming rates. In a speech on education on March 10, 2009, President Obama said that other countries are ahead of the United States in creating internationally competitive educational standards. He argued that a far-reaching overhaul of the nation's educational system is an economic imperative that can not wait. "The relative decline of American education is untenable for our economy, unsustainable for our democracy, and unacceptable to our children. We can not afford to let it continue. What is at stake here is nothing less than the American dream". The Brown decision represented the most hopeful thread of the American narrative; "the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place," and the opportunity to learn "is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms." In practice, integrated schools today remain as much of a dream now as they were 50 years ago. The wealthier schools are filled with passionate, experienced educators, while the poorer urban schools are flooded with passionate, inexperienced rookies who are so overwhelmed that they leave the profession in defeat. Three out of every 10 students in the U.S. public schools still fail to finish high school with a diploma. That amounts to 1.3 million students lost from the graduation pipeline each year, or almost 7,200 students lost every day. Those who do graduate are woefully lacking in literacy. Most do not master standard English and are an embarrassment when they speak in settings that require standard English. Where did we go wrong?
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