Reform Our Education


Michael Hum, Staff Writer

A series of recent challenges to college applications shows how the American education system is attempting to improve among its worldwide peers. However, our education has a lot to improve upon. According to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), American students globally score 25th in science, 24th in reading comprehension, and 41st in mathematics out of the 70 countries surveyed. So, is there truly a way for Americans to improve their education?

The national curriculum’s shortcomings can be traced back to the presidency of George W. Bush when he passed the No Child Left Behind laws, which implemented a series of standardized tests to assess students’ knowledge and changed the curriculum to make students pass proficiency tests. The problem with the law is that they don’t determine subject mastery. As a result, many teachers only focus on finding a way to master a test instead of mastering a subject;  as a result, the rigid foundation of what the students have learned is sacrificed to boredom, rigor, and demotivation.

Additionally, the attempt to lower racial inequality for academic success by standardizing the curriculum has failed. The nonprofit organization Brookings Institute commented that the problem is not with the curriculum but a general lack of funding or care to improve students’ education. 

The best way to improve our education is to remove our standardized curriculum and replace it with more general guidelines that allow for more autonomy so that teachers can relieve students’ stress. Singapore and Finland, two countries renowned for their education, both score near the top entries for PISA scores, with Singapore scoring 1st and Finland scoring about 13th worldwide. 

If America were to adopt a new curriculum based on the Singaporean and Finnish systems, the main changes would be twofold. One change would be to revise our curriculum so that exams that determine proficiency can be reduced, and two, the standard should be easily modified so that any teacher can teach the best way they can. The second is finding a way to lessen students’ workload. American students, on average, spend about five hours more time schooling than the global average, so finding a way to instill a flexible repertoire with shorter schooling times will be a vital step in reforming our education system. Additionally, a way to increase awareness of education’s value would make the change long-term.

Education is one of the most prominent, direct factors that shape a person’s life and impact our society’s future. A higher quality of education is shown to correlate with higher income levels and a lower employment rate. As people chase their dreams, revising the curriculum for our schools is one of the ways to reform America’s education system.


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