Improving the Quality of Education in America

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Abstract

School choice is identified as a complex approach towards quality education. Parents have identified school choice as the bridge between achieving quality in education. The context of school choice looks into the disparity between public schools and private schools. Research shows that private schools have produced many successful students over the years in comparison to public schools. This has made the context of ‘how to achieve quality in education become contentious. Besides, research on why school choice is a vital ingredient of developing students academically has been developing around the subject.

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The government has put in place measures to manage the education system. In addition, many contributions range from funding, increasing the number of resources to seeking stakeholder equity in the quality of education. These efforts have not been recognized by the consumers of education, especially parents and students. It is as if the results of these efforts have not lived up to the expectations of the government and the recipients.

The United States government has made reforms to the education system to make the results be felt or rather be significant. Understanding the underlying factors causing the decline in education quality is vital. Two, realizing why private schools models have fared well in the provision of quality education is an important ingredient in formulating how the quality of education can be improved. This research analyzes how the school choice can improve the quality of education, and the kind of efforts the government should put to realize quality education is provided in public schools.

Introduction

The quality of education and our public schools is important to the entire nation. Public education is owned and managed by the government. Unfortunately, efforts by the government to improve the public education system have not been realized. On the other hand, private schools have been able to provide quality education and produce more successful graduates. This hypothetical scenario prompts the need for research on why government efforts have failed to yield results.

The government owns and manages the public school system. With all the money and manpower pumped into the education system, the results have remained unattractive. The question is what makes public education fail? A thorough examination of the private school system brings out a clear picture of the many differences between the two systems. While the private school system is emphatic on tapping the best and nurturing it. Besides, private schools take in students from able backgrounds regardless of the academic ability of the student. The fact is, the private education system has checks and balances in moral and career development. Both are key ingredients in making a successful student.

The public education system has been unable to maintain high levels of discipline. Cases of poor morals, irresponsible sexual behavior, and delinquents have risen over the years. This has seen the number of successful students from public schools decrease significantly. This is what contextualizes school choice. Children are better placed when in private institutions than in public schools.

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Unfortunately, a larger chunk of the society cannot afford to send their children to private schools. This makes the context of choice of school controversial.

Choice of school can significantly affect children’s moral and academic development. Children from good backgrounds fare well compared to those brought up irresponsibly. Choice can be classified into various categories. The environment, the society surrounding this institution, the economic background of the society, and the environment the school categorizes schools. Schools situated in a good environment tend to be classified as good schools and many parents opt to send their children there.

Bad schools are characterized by a poor society, a less developed environment, and limited social-economic abilities of the people around. This environment is a breeding ground for criminals and young delinquents. These kinds of schools are more in comparison to good schools. This analysis shows the government’s burden in empowering people and raising the standards of education across the country. This research establishes the connection between good schools and good education while explaining in length why the public education system fails to deliver. The paper draws out the facts about how the education system can be improved and suggests how this can be done.

Background information

Over the years, Americans have worried about the quality of education. Poor performance of students and consistently rising cost of education has become a concern in recent decades. High numbers of students have failed in school. This is a worrying trend. Research shows that the achievements scorecard of American learners has gradually declined since the ’70s. However, a modest rise since the ’80s has been observed.

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Research carried out in the recent past show that various factors have contributed to this academic disparity. The question is what predisposes failure in schools. The research has established that though the cost of education has gone up significantly and that student’s expenditure has increased tenfold, the success of the students has not shined. Parents have not shied away from criticizing the public school system that registers the highest number of failures.

The structure of the education system is blamed for this decline in students’ success, especially public schools which are supported by this education system. The economic analysis draws out the education system structure as lacking. It is blamed for the high cost of education and the poor performance of students in the recent past. The fact is that public schools and the system is funded by the government and are largely dependent on organizations that wield monopolistic power.

Another factor seen to be playing a significant role in facilitating the failure is lack of competition. Research shows that competition is almost absent in the education system. What is defined as an educated consumer is seen as having limited variety among available learning institutions? This brings out the context of choice of school as a factor. Most parents are unable to take disciplinary measures and direct institutions where their children are learning. The cost of education has led to parents being stuck with low-quality schools.

The public school system, a government initiative, and its administration need to set guidelines on management. The government has a strong idea to diversify the budget through funding from financial institutions. Unfortunately, this idea lacks rationale since there is no equity in catering to the views of students and most importantly, the parents. The incentive, though good is likely to end up increasing the cost of education. Besides, it will disconnect quality from the educational consumers.

Literature review

Scholarly debates and research about the quality of education and context of choice of school show that it is true that, school choice can significantly improve student’s grades. Students who left bad schools and joined good schools ended up performing better and excelled academically. Too many children are segregated by illiteracy, poverty, self-doubt, and low expectations. Unfortunately, America is constantly transforming. Demand for complex skills and abilities is on the rise yet children are being left behind due to poor quality education. It is important to realize that, the quality of public schools and the entire public education system affects every American, either as a parent, a student, or as a citizen.

According to Dustman et al, school quality, defined as ‘choice,’ affects performance in national exams and the career choice of students. Dustman argues that the condition of schools, the surrounding community, and other variables affect the quality of education offered to the students in the school. Dustman draws his assumptions from a rich set of variables. The variables are; parental background, community, and previous achievement variables (Dustman et al).

Dustman et al depict the teacher-pupil ratio as another key ingredient of quality of education. The research expounds on the need for enough teachers who are motivated, skilled, and enthusiastic about developing good students. It is evident that students brought up and educated by such teachers are likely to make good career choices, remain in full-time education. These students will also join the labor market and excel. This projection appears to be crucial for it explains what determines the quality of education in a school.

It is important to establish if quality education affects educational achievements and earnings.

This research takes a direct approach in trying to estimate the effect of choice of school and input on a student’s academic success. First, we look at the teacher-pupil ratio.

The outcomes of students in the class can be determined by a variety of factors. Evidence on these factors and the student’s outcomes in school are conflicting. Studies performed in the United States education system show that the effects of school input are negligible. However, recent studies dispute this conclusion and confirm that the school input counts in students’ outcomes. Factors like school spending and resources availed by the school to support the learning process have significantly helped improved students’ ability to learn. This shows that there is a relationship between school resources and students outcomes academically. Krueger (1992) argues that school quality is a factor in student outcomes. Krueger asserts that there is sufficient evidence relating school quality to students’ economic outcomes throughout life.

The ability of parents to control the education system, especially at the societal level has been reviewed. The review aims to establish the relationship between parental background and their previous achievement and students outcomes.

Parents have been emphatic on the implementation of stringent measures to curb teacher-student aggression and abuse. Teachers are blamed for increasing aggression on students, which leads to the development of attitudes towards education. Parents insist that teachers should teach and inspire good morals. They should inspire a desire to learn and achieve distinct academic objectives. This again shows a failure in how parents fail to control their children in the learning environment.

This brings the context of the teacher-student ratio into focus. If too many teachers are not inspiring, the students are not enthusiastic about the learning process. Students will emulate the passionless spirit of teachers and pick the aggressive habits displayed by teachers.

The pupil-teacher ratio is found to be significant in determining career choice and inspiring the desire to learn or pursue higher education. Choice of school can be analyzed from the context of exam results and the desire to continue learning. What are the factors that drive such outcomes? Dustman et al argue that the educational outcomes of students rely on several factors. The argument explains that these factors vary with the environment of the school.

Family background; According to Dustman et al, the background of a family is the most crucial factor. It determines the outcomes of a student’s academic journey. In many ways, parents are pivotal in developing children both morally and academically. Research shows a connection between financial background and academic success. Families with financial ability can support their children in achieving an education. On the other hand, children from poor backgrounds are unable to learn due to financial constraints that see them on and off school. Financial and time resources awarded to a student could be valuable in the student learning process.

A student who is in school full time can make use of the time resource. This shows that the financial resource is what provides for the time resource. These students can concentrate on their studies and develop a culture of learning. This shows why children from financially stable families can learn and have good outcomes. They can register for more education, make a good career choice, and get jobs.

Students from poor backgrounds are unable to get time resources. These students are constrained by a lack of financial ability. The constant lack of this resource and the exposure to the problem only demoralizes and demotes the passion to learn. This is a problem faced by many students and it is only observed in public schools. Such a student cannot excel academically. He is not motivated, inspired, and obliged since the time resource is not fully available to provide for such.

As such, it is important to note, when arguing about choice of school’ that, the family background plays the most important role in determining and influencing a child’s educational outcomes and future achievements. Krueger argues that the financial and time resource provided to the child is determined by the family of the student, its background, and financial ability. Here we observe how financial resource allows the family to choose the school where their child should learn.

Parents choose better schools for their children. The better school explains why the choice of school determines the quality of education. Parents know that good schools provide quality education. The parental definition of a good school is ‘an institution that instills discipline, inspires the need for education, and develops good morals and better academic abilities.’ A good learning environment better describes a good school. Parents’ financial backgrounds also can provide advanced time resources to their children.

The amount of time parents spend with their children is vital. Children are able o develop good learning skills if their parents can guide them. Parents who spend more time with their children can mentor these children into able learners. They will explain homework and help their children in completing and even learning more about homework and subjects. The background of a parent can be looked at from an academic perspective. A well-educated parent will be very interested and committed to supporting his child with homework. This parent will provide support for the child’s learning and academic development (Dustman et al, 1998).

School quality or choice effect on achievements of a student is looked into in Dustman et al research from various perspectives. Dustman agrees with this research finding that the environment of the school factored in the outcomes of s students. The environment can be described as the immediate social-economic status of the community. It can be a contemporary factor. Environment affects the scholastic outcomes of students. Environmental factors can be clustered into various variables.

The economy of the society is one of the variables. Society can be poor or rich. Dusty schools, dirty children, and unenthusiastic teachers are characteristic of an impoverished community. The economic characteristics of the environment the children are brought to define the context of the environment better. Krueger implies that environment plays an almost equal role as family background. It can be impossible to differentiate the two factors. Poor parents have little fiscal ability hence have to take their children to a choice of school fitting their lifestyle. Such a scenario can only be in an impoverished environment.

Assuming a student goes to a school where all children were disciplined and focused on their education, he/she is certainly to adapt to such a culture. To be in such an environment means the child’s background can manage to be there. For example, if a child goes to a school in a working environment, this environment will affect the child’s morals. It is right to summate that the environment plays a role in shaping the child’s academic future.

Peer attitudes are considered as factors that also contribute to the quality of education. Peers are because of the environment. A student who lives in a neighborhood that does not embrace good morals and values education, this student is likely to have little interest in education. He/she will identify with the culture of his peers. The attitude of the peers and the environmental implications on the student is very vital in making the value of education evident. The quality of education is also observed in how students who leave school and attend college behave and end up. Society is full of successful graduates who have taken up smart white-collar jobs. If more such students fill the society, it will cushion the mentality of other students from imagining other shortcuts to life rather will inspire hope and focus on education as the only way to make it in life.

Krueger’s arguments indicate that there is a need for quality (choice) when parents from various backgrounds choose where they want their children to study. The background of a student determines the choice of school. We are right to conclude further that, the parental background factors the students learning environment. However, the parental background alone cannot be ruled as the determinant of school choice, rather, environment and the studying conditions are also considerable factors.

School choice effect on education value

Dustman et al (1998) suggest that the choice of school can significantly affect the outcomes of the students. This suggestion merely implies that there is a profound relationship between the choice of school and the exam results. The factors that affect exam results include the study environment and resources availed in the learning environment. A good school provides both while a bad school fails to provide either.

What is a good school? The context of a good school goes a long way. This research has compared the private school model with public schools. Private schools have been branded as good since their services and learning resources provide the learner with almost everything required to inspire learning. Private schools have redefined quality education by providing more parental guided teachings when teaching good morals to students. The private school model provides learners with a learning environment that allows only good moral development, good peers, and most important ‘education.’

The parameters of quality education can be perceived as student outcomes. Private schools have yielded many successful students while public schools have continued to lose their glory as education centers. Parents are financially able to choose private schools for their children’s while parents with poor backgrounds opt for public schools. This pattern is observed across the social setup. Middle-class parents will choose schools that they find as good and with a good scorecard.

Why parents choose schools that do well in national exams explains why the choice of school determines the quality of education the child gets. The school’s scorecard draws out the picture of how students who have studied here have succeeded and proceeded to higher education institutions and eventually into the job market where they fare very well. Schools with such a report card are deemed good and the choice of many parents. Facilities in these schools, the location, social economics of the environment, and the studying environment are what contribute to the success of these schools.

The interest of a parent in the child’s academic excellence may not entirely lie in the family background. Parents from poor families have worked hard to make sure that their children have gone to good schools. These children either have gone ahead and become successful career graduates or have become very successful in life. This point enlightens us about the need for a good education cannot be pegged on finances, but the choice made by the parent about his/her child’s future.

Parents’ views on the quality of education differ substantially. Krueger points out that the context of preference is stuck within the parent’s choice. Many parents want their children to fare well hence invest in good schools rather in the poor schools. Public schools as such become the source of low-quality education depending on several factors. Schools in good areas either public or private remain popular as the choice schools. Those in middle-level income societies are also well-performing and many parents choose them as the choice schools for their children (Krueger 1992).

What is the correct approach to salvage the education system?

With an emphasis on providing good education to all, efforts to improve the quality of education should be increased. Quality education is essential. All members of society must be entitled to at least good education both affordably and professionally. Government efforts should be increased significantly to allow the improvement and upgrade of public schools. This will help increase the quality of education in such institutions. Nevertheless, what exactly are these efforts? What should be put in place? What are these policies?

Improving literacy levels has been hailed as key in the empowerment efforts by the government. Reading is very important and it should be put first. The government should provide enough material to facilitate reading. This involves supplying books and other reading material to public schools. The prices of such material should be subsidized to help cut costs. Focus on reading in early grades is important. It helps in modeling the child into an avid learner and reader.

Public schools should be transformed into high-standard institutions that are accountable and high standard institutions. This involves ensuring that district schools and other government schools are accountable for making sure that all students including those from poor backgrounds get high academic marks. This will make public schools improve their overall academic achievement.

Implementation of yearly academic evaluations; By providing the parents with a student scorecard on every subject will help inform the parents how well the student is faring in school.

Stringent measures to meet failures by public schools to educate poor and other disadvantaged children should be in place to punish the management of such schools. On the other hand, students doing well in such institutions can be granted help to pursue education in institutions of their choice and be supported by the government. Such funding will be prioritized to schools that fail to make sufficient annual progress for poor students. Government should use correctional action to revive such schools, bring them to functionality, and make them perform.

Reforms and initiatives to improve quality of education in public schools

Proposals to improve the quality of education have been made by the stakeholders. However, they do not suffice to provide equity and good quality. This research has established several vital reforms and initiatives that can help improve the quality of education. The research has established that choice of school is very important in the student’s outcome and that, national exam results are the determinants of parent’s choice of school. Previous student outcomes and the school environment are key factors that parents consider when choosing a school for their children. The reason why parents make such choices is due to the belief that good schools will shape their children’s future the same way other students brightened their future (Krueger, 1992).

This research proposes the following in principle.

Sanctioning failure in schools and rewarding successful schools

To stimulate hard work, good attitudes towards education, and good governance in schools, a reward program can be in place to reward both the schools and students who do well in schools. Public schools that close the achievement gap will be rewarded. This can be implemented at all levels, either statewide, district levels, and in individual institutions. As such, high-performing schools, districts, and states will be rewarded for their improvement. Improvement refers to an increase in successful students.

Accountability bonuses

Schools, districts, and states that are accountable show progress and implement reforms will be rewarded through bonuses. By closing the achievement gap, the institution will explain and account for the systems expenditure, social and academic processes. This will help establish where loopholes in the provision of quality education are.

Rewards for enacting ‘education for all

Disadvantaged children have been segregated and left illiterate. Institutions, states, and districts should work towards making sure that disadvantaged students will join the school and get an education. The government should have in place, a reward program for these efforts.

Nipping funding to nonperformers

States that fail to show progress will lose funding from the government. Such measures will prompt stakeholders to enforce effective teaching and streamline the education system. The aim of their efforts will be aimed at improving the quality of education and avoid losing funding from the government.

Parental choice and informed decisions

This research has established that parents are the most significant factors in the student’s outcomes academically. We established that educated parents would make informed decisions and good choices for their children in terms of schooling and moral development. This research projects that, prompting informed decisions in parents will influence their choice of school. We categorize this as follows;

Provide parents with school scorecards and report cards; parents will be able to make informed decisions by accessing school performance scorecards and their children’s performance academically. This allows the parent to assess if the quality of education is good enough for their children. School-school report cards allow parents to assess the quality of education offered by each school. The number of students who have succeeded in the exams and joined higher learning institutions or even became senior officials in the government or the private sector is the parameters of quality of education.

Establishing more charter schools; government funding of charter schools start-ups and facilities will help increase the number of schools offering good quality education. Parents can make choices between charter schools and other available options. Charter schools will increase the number of high-quality schools.

Innovation and research in schools; institutions, districts, and states that will be able to establish research initiatives will be rewarded by the government. Such institutions will have an appeal to parents. Parents want schools that will help their students develop the ability to develop and think cognitively and realistically.

The quality of teachers as a factor in choice making

Teacher quality is deemed vital when parents choose a school for their children. Our research focused mainly on the pupil-teacher ratio, however, e recommend that the teacher quality be prioritized. Our observation is that good teacher contribute significantly to the moral development and achievements of the students academically. Good teachers are always employed by good schools reason why parents will want to take their children to such institutions.

In terms of teacher quality, we recommend that;

Quality teachers are distributed in schools; students should be taught only by quality teachers. Teacher quality will improve good morals and academics in students. Districts, states, and schools will be funded so that they can invest in good teachers. These institutions must ensure that only qualified teachers are teaching students. Funding will ensure that these institutions focus on increasing teacher quality.

Improving schools safety

Making schools safer can make parents choose such a school. The world is becoming dangerous. Parents are concerned about their children’s safety. They will avoid sending children to institutions that have no safety measures in place. Safety is classified into various segments. The teacher’s responsibility and safety measures in place are some of these segments. Teachers should play the role of protectors, they should be empowered to eradicate violence in school and keep disruptive pupils and students who negatively influence bad behavior in school.

School safety programs will be put in place. They will be funded by the state. The objective of such programs is to curb violence in school, drug prevention, and promote safety in school. Students exposed to dangers in schools will be provided with safe alternatives. It is the role of the parents and the society to report to the state, the state of schools, and the level of safety in public schools.

These recommendations can go a long way to bring significant change to the education system. Good schools will be realized and they will increase in number. This will provide parents with a wide range of choices. Parents will be able to identify which schools have more appeal. A school that has implemented these recommendations identifies with good schools that are the choice of many parents. More schools will be clustered as good schools. Their output will be observed through students’ outcomes. If the number of students passing exams increases, this will be an indicator of success and quality education. This will convince parents to choose these schools as their choice.

Conclusion

The choice of school is a variant determinant of the quality of education. Quality of education is measured by the success of the school academically. This success can be identified with the student’s outcomes. The numbers of students who passed national exams and joined institutions of higher learning are the parameters of a school’s quality education profile. Many parents are investing in their children’s education. Many of these parents are concerned about the quality of education their children will get in school. They aim to send the children to schools that will provide the best education, safety, instill discipline, responsibility, and at the same time, provide security against aggression.

This research has identified the major factors that choose a school to be a key point when parents are choosing the best schools for their children. The choice is seen to have various meanings. Choice, according to parents refers to security, environment, status, background, and social economics of the school environment and history of success of the school. These factors determine the quality of education offered in that particular institution.

Implementation of the recommendations made by this research paper can help the government help increase the quality of education in the country. These recommendations will also facilitate the increase of good schools and allowing more children to become educated. Though efforts by the government have been in place, these recommendations will make it easier for the government to realize its dream of providing quality education in the country.

Reference list

Card. D & A. B. Krueger (1992). Does School Quality Matter? Journal of Political Economy, 100, 1-40.

Card. D & A. B. Krueger (1996). School Resources and Student Outcomes; An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 10, 31-51.

Dustman et al, (1998). School Quality, Exam Performance, and Career Choice. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. 2022. "Improving the Quality of Education in America." January 31, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/improving-the-quality-of-education-in-america/.

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ChalkyPapers. "Improving the Quality of Education in America." January 31, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/improving-the-quality-of-education-in-america/.