OnlineUniversities has just published a great infographic on the American public education crisis. The data are kinda scientific and built upon real surveys and researches. check out
To be honest, I don't agree with the infographic's message about class size affecting this "downfall" everyone keeps talking about. I have never, in my 11 years of teaching, seen a difference among classes because of size. I also don't agree that our education system is in jeopardy. More and more children today, especially girls, plan on attending college than in the past. Those that don't wouldn't have whether they were in a small class or a large one - some students want to work in a trade, which they can just attend Vocational School to get the training for. What, exactly, is wrong with that?
Where our system fails is in the ever-increasing need for data. Instead of allowing teachers to teach, our government wants us to all-but-follow a script - it won't surprise me in the least when that gets slapped on my desk. We're all going to sound like every day is HSPA testing day.
These studies also fail to show just how much of poor performance is tied to cultural attitude. I teach in a suburban area, made up of mostly working-class families. The parents are tired from working all day and expect their children to independently take care of their education themselves. No one is pushing the children, so the message becomes clear: it's not that important. By the time they're in high school, children are expected to suddenly feel like studying and completing homework for three hours after school all on their own until their parents get home. And no one checks that they did it. They can lie and say that they did, and it's just accepted. They themselves are not held accountable, and when we call home, we get the ever-more-popular, "He/She's old enough now that I don't have to supervise him/her." They're still children; they're not just wrinkle-free adults. If parents don't make education important, why should their children?