The education system is one of the most critical elements of any state since the country’s future development depends on the education of children. For this reason, throughout history, education has faced many reforms to improve the quality and access to education. The two most notable reforms to achieve these goals were the adoption of Common Core state standards, as well as laws and programs aimed at diversity and socioeconomic status. Therefore, this paper will study Common Core state standards and diversity and socioeconomic status reforms to assess their impact on the education system and determine the change that will benefit the future of secondary education.
One of the most famous and significant educational reforms was the abolition of racial segregation in US schools. Brown v. The Board of Education declared in 1954 that racial segregation in schools is unfair and unequal and ruled that students, regardless of origin or race, can attend school together (Ayscue et al., 2017). The implementation of this idea took a long time since it was only in the 1970s that magnet schools, which attracted children from different racial and ethnic backgrounds to education, began to appear massively (Wang & Herman, 2017). However, today racially diverse schools are the norm and even the preferred form of education.
At the same time, Socioeconomic status (SES) programs and laws aim to provide equal educational opportunities for children of low and high socioeconomic status. For this purpose, many schools, such as magnet schools, public schools, and some charter schools, provide children with free tuition or scholarships (Wang & Herman, 2017). Eventually, these reforms aimed at equal opportunities to educate children regardless of origin and income level have shown significant school performance improvements.
First, many studies indicate that racially diverse classes and schools improve children’s performance. Children in racially diverse schools have higher academic achievement and are less likely to drop out than students in racially segregated schools (Ayscue et al., 2017).
Probably, this feature is associated with cultural diversity, which makes it possible to see different points of view and apply them in practice. In addition, racially diverse schools reduce prejudice and discriminatory behavior among children and have positive long-term effects on students’ higher education and careers (Ayscue et al., 2017). Simultaneously, schools with high SES also have advantages as their students have higher academic achievements, more resources for learning, and, therefore, are more likely to graduate from college (Ayscue et al., 2017). Consequently, this reform has significant positive shifts in the quality and accessibility of school education.
Another school reform that has had a significant impact is adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These standards were developed by teachers, experts, and academics based on existing quality education requirements in 2009-2010, and by 2015, 42 states have ratified them (“Pros and cons, ” 2019). CCSS’s goal is to ensure an adequate level of education for children in Mathematics, English, and Science, as well as the practice and methods of providing it. However, there is controversy about the usefulness of such standards. CCSS increases the requirements for the quality of education, develops children’s skills, and reduces the cost of developing tests for each state (“Pros and cons,” 2019).
However, the standards also force children to study to pass the tests but do not develop general knowledge, and often do not meet knowledge level (“Pros and cons,” 2019). However, Le and Wu’s (2017) studies at the national level and Gao and Lafortune’s (2019) in California show modest improvements in primary and secondary school, suggesting the potential benefits of CCSS. However, the practices of achieving, implementing, and evaluating CCSS require corrections due to a significant number of shortcomings.
Consequently, the analysis demonstrates that changes in secondary education should be aimed at improving national educational standards and methods of achieving them, as well as further promoting diversity. The creation of more schools with high SES and racial diversity contributes to the academic achievement of students. At the same time, a reevaluation of the CCSS is necessary to improve the effectiveness of teaching, directing it to the necessary skills, while at the same time reducing the study load on students.
In addition, it is also necessary to consider the introduction of technologies in education, which became critical during the pandemic, as well as determine the best teaching practices and methods and provide educational resources. Facilitating access to resources and having clear instructions will help teachers maintain standards and improve the effectiveness of secondary education. Both changes could be implemented through state and national programs for schools aimed at financial assistance.
In conclusion, the review demonstrates that reforms aimed at diversity and the introduction of educational standards have positively impacted the quality of education in the United States. However, at the same time, the education system is faced with challenges and shortcomings that need to be overcome with the help of new reforms and reassessment of existing ones. The primary efforts should be directed towards providing equal resources to all students and teachers, as well as adjusting and creating adequate and effective standards of education.
Ayscue, J., Frankenberg, E. & Siegel-Hawley, G. (2017). The complementary benefits of racial and socioeconomic diversity in schools. Research brief No. 10. National Coalition on School Diversity. Web.
Gao, N., and Lafortune, J. (2019). Common Core State Standards in California: Evaluating local implementation and student outcomes. Public Policy Institute of California. Web.
Lee, J., & Wu, Y. (2017). Is the Common Core racing America to the top? Tracking changes in state standards, school practices, and student achievement. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25(35). Web.
Pros and cons of Common Core Standards. (2019). Web.
Wang, J., & Herman, J. (2017). Magnet schools: History, description, and Effects. In Robert A. Fox, Nina K. Buchanan (Eds.), The Wiley handbook of school choice (pp. 159-179). John Wiley & Sons.