Critical Thinking

How a smaller percentage of its income to

How does a country’s standards impact competitiveness towards their education system? Education is a key factor in the advancement, development, and sustainability of any              society. According to John Fien (director of the Centre for Innovation and Research in Environmental Education at Griffith University).”Education is critical for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of the people to address social issues.” (Zainal, Norizan, Hamoon, Govindran, & Tunku Fatimah Firdaus Dato, 2012). This is apparent when analyzing the way students perform on cross-national tests like the PISA and TIMSS   assessments. These assessment leave the U.S at unimpressive standards in education. Education is a growing emphasis and pivotal role in most countries, but through research, it becomes apparent that a country’s educational standards impacts the competitiveness put towards their education system and development Education funding is critical if advancements in a country’s education system are expected to be seen.  The Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) is a forum involving the governments of 34 democracies and 70 non-member economies. A setting that allows governments to compare policies, identify problems within their communities and draw solutions, coordinate domestic and international policies is created from the organization.   According to the OECD, the average starting salary for a teacher in the U.S is about $37,000. Compared to a starting salary of about $46,000 in Germany, and about $33,000 in Canada. In the U.S after 10 years the teacher’s annual pay is approximately $48,000, in Germany, $59,000 and in Canada $50,000. (Gould & Weller, 2016). Though each country’s purchasing power, educational standards, values, and budgets differ. It becomes evident that the United States is devoting a smaller percentage of its income to teacher salaries. On the contrary, the U.S is devoting a larger percentage of its national income to educational institutions. As of 2014, the percentage of gross domestic product spent on educational institutions in the U.S was about 6.1 %, in the United Kingdom, about 6.5% and in Canada about 6.0%. (includes both private and public expenditure). The OECD’s average was about 5.1%. In total the U.S has 244,474 educational institutions as of 2012 according to the National Center for Education Statistics. (Which is located within the U.S Department of Education and is a primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing educational data.) These 244,474 institutions include both public and private schools, primary and secondary, combined primary and secondary, 2 and 4 year colleges, etc. Whereas, the UK has 24,372 institutions that include “nursery schools, state-funded primary schools, state-funded secondary schools, special schools, pupil referral units and independent schools.” (Department for Education, 2013). The U.S’s total number of educational institutions is almost 10 times larger than the total number of educational institutions in the UK. Despite the dramatic difference in the two countries institution numbers the UK still manages to have a higher GDP spent on educational institutions. Although the United States is investing in the development of educational institutions, it lacks the necessary investment for providing teachers with the proper salary. This can pose potential threats to the way students in the United States perform on International Tests because their teachers won’t be receiving the necessary tools to better student education.  Students in the United States are lagging in science and math achievement when compared with their peers around the world. This is due to low performance on cross-national tests, like the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). These assessments help identify weaknesses in U.S student achievement. The PISA assessment tests 15-year-olds throughout developing and developed countries. The most recent PISA scores from 2015. Show that the U.S is ranked “38th out of 71 countries in math, and 24th in science.” (DeSilver, 2017). Moreover, the TIMSS assessment focuses on students in grades four and eight. The most recent data collected from TIMSS was also in 2015 and revealed that, “10 countries (out of 48 total) had statistically higher average fourth-grade math scores than the U.S., while seven countries had higher average science scores. In the eighth-grade tests, seven out of 37 countries had statistically higher average math scores than the U.S., and seven had higher science scores.” (DeSilver, 2017). These low scores don’t only affect the students that possess them. They affect the workforce as well. According to the U.S Department of Education, “Business and military leaders complain that they are required to spend millions of dollars on costly remedial education and training programs in such basic skills as reading, writing, spelling, and computation. The Department of the Navy, for example, reported to the Commission that one-quarter of its recent recruits cannot read at the ninth grade level, the minimum needed simply to understand written safety instructions. Without remedial work they cannot even begin, much less complete, the sophisticated training essential in much of the modern military.” (U.S Dept. of Education, 1983). Despite this evidence being from 1983, it still remains applicable to the educational position that the United States has not recovered from 35 years ago due to the fact that the U.S is still lacking the basic reading, writing and computation skills needed in the workforce. Moreover, initiatives need to be taken in order to resolve the education crisis in America. Controversy has stirred up over the previously mentioned test scores, as even President Trump has spoken out saying, “So we’re number one in the world in terms of spending. We’re number 28 in terms of, where do we stand? We have third world countries that are ahead of us, countries that you wouldn’t believe, some are countries you’ve hardly heard of.” (Klein, 2016). If not only the government, but teachers, students, and parents take initiative to better the education of the United States improvements could be seen in the near future. These initiatives could be in the form of teacher training and school funding. Initiatives like these have been seen in Finland and Canada. In Finland, teacher training is the norm “But the most important effort has been in the training of teachers, where the country leads most of the world, including the United States, thanks to a national decision made in 1979. The country decided to move preparation out of teachers’ colleges and into the universities, where it became more rigorous.” (The New York Times, 2013). Second, in Canada province-level funding formulas have been developed. “these formulas allow the provinces to determine how much money each district will receive, based on each district’s size and needs. The systems even out the tax base and help ensure that resources are distributed equitably, not clustered in wealthy districts.” (The New York Times, 2013). The problem with American schools is that “American school districts rely far too heavily on property taxes, which means districts in wealthy areas bring in more money than those in poor ones. State tax money to make up the gap usually falls far short of the need in districts where poverty and other challenges are greatest.” (The New York Times, 2013). With initiatives like these put in place, the U.S education system will begin to show improvements allowing it to be a stronger competitor when faced with peers around the world.  Word Count : 1217Works Cited :(1983, April) A Nation at Risk Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/pubs/NatAtRisk/risk.html Bartram, D. (2001). The Development of International Guidelines on Test Use: The International Test Commission Project. International Journal Of Testing, 1(1), 33.DeSilver, D. (2017, February 15). U.S. students’ academic achievement still lags that of their peers in many other countries. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/15/u-s-students-internationally-math-science/DeVos, B., Murray, P., Rokita, T., Kubacki, K., Scott, B., Bay, L., & … Gentzel, T. J. (2017). The Pros and Cons of Federally Funded School Choice Programs. Congressional Digest, 96(7), 12-29.Indicator B2 What proportion of national wealth is spent on educational institutions? | OECD READ edition. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/education-at-a-glance-2017/indicator-b2-what-proportion-of-national-wealth-is-spent-on-educational-institutions_eag-2017-17-en#.WlKdsa2ZMxg#page1Meeting the needs of all: Why schools in Kuwait are failing to meet their moral obligation and what can be learned from the U.S. education system. (2012). Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences, 3(4), 997-1018.Number of schools, teachers and students in England. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-schools-teachers-and-students-in-england/number-of-schools-teachers-and-students-in-englandOther Countries Catching Up to U.S. in Education. (2000). Society, 37(2), 2-3.The NCES Fast Facts Tool provides quick answers to many education questions (National Center for Education Statistics). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=84Weller, S. G. (2016, January 15). The 20 countries where teachers are paid the best and the worst. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/teacher-salaries-by-country-2016-1Why Other Countries Teach Better. (2013, December 17). Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/opinion/why-students-do-better-overseas.html?pagewanted=allZainal Abidin, S., Norizan Md., N., Hamoon, K., Govindran, J., & Tunku Fatimah Firdaus Dato’ Tunku, F. (2012). The Malaysian Primary Education System and Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities. International Journal Of Research & Review, 8(1), 33-52.

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