Education theories Unit

Education theories Unit

Education theories


In the first two chapters of the book, the authors give the readersbackground of the education history in the US and the rationale ofthe book. The chapters examine the history of educational policies inthe US and the common trends globally. The authors note that the UShas one of the most diverse educational systems globally asindividual states enjoy control of educational policies. However, thecountry has somehow lagged behind in terms of innovation in educationpolicies given that it borrows much of its policies from developedcountries and states. Finland, Singapore and Ontario have the besteducational systems in the world that the US seeks to learn from andemulate in consideration of contextual factors.

Major policies that have affected the education system in the US inthe last several decades have sought to increase enrollment ofstudents from minority and disadvantages communities, integrateethnically divided schools and address racial segregation, increasethe number of qualified teachers (alternative teacher certificationlaunched in 1980s), increase student enrollment (No child leftbehind) and standardized tests. All these policies have made theirimpact on education and the effect is what shapes the currenteducation landscape in the country.

Currently, the education system faces unique challenges. They includehigh attrition rate, poor academic performance compared to otherdeveloped countries, high costs per student compared to otherschools, lack of innovation in the policies and poor effectiveness inteaching among others.

While the country as a whole has been able to encourage a highernumber of qualified teachers especially through the alternativecertification program, the distribution of teachers and recruitmentremains to be a sensitive issue. Several surveys have revealed poorschools district tend to receive the teachers with the lowestqualifications while more affluent schools districts and schoolsreceive the most highly qualified teachers. Furthermore, whitedominated schools are more likely to have qualified teachers for thesubject they teach as opposed to schools dominated by AfricanAmericans or Hispanics (Klein 2014). Section 9101(23) of theElementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by asamended calls for equitable distribution of teachers hence the systemis bound by law to ensure equity in teacher distribution based ontheir qualifications and evaluation scores which point to theireffectiveness (Reese 350).

Another controversial issue that the authors highlight pertains tointroduction of alternative certification in the US. While othercountries are eager to professionalize teaching, some states aredirectly working towards de-professionalizing teaching as a career.This is meant to address the high attrition rates and addressshortage of teacher to ensure teacher-student ratios remain withinacceptable limits. As a result, 18% of high school teachers havejoined the profession through alternative means. This is contrary tothe practices in Singapore, Ontario and Finland which have identifiedincreased professionalization of teaching as the way forward.Accordingly, these countries have developed “effective systems forrecruiting, preparing, developing and retaining teachers and schoolleaders” (Darling-Hammond and Rothman, 2). Such an approach islikely to motivate and encourage teachers to taker teaching moreseriously.

As a budding teacher I feel betrayed by the approach in the US. It iswrong for the system to offer some teachers alternativecertification. This practice invalidates all the efforts andstruggles that teacher students go through in teacher trainingcolleges to attain certification. If teachers are to feel valued andappreciated, the profession must be treated as any other. Theprofession should be able to attract top talents through properremuneration and proper management structures. There is no reasonteaching should be treated as a lesser profession to nursing,accountancy or any the profession which have no room for alternativecertification other than the formally recognized ways.

Teacher effectiveness is one of the many issues given considerableweight in the current policy formulation debate. A range ofstrategies have been suggested one of them being proposed evaluationsthrough tests and evaluating teacher performance based on test scoreof their students among other measures. The Race to the Topinitiative is also geared towards encouraging individual states to bemore creative and innovative in developing unique policies thatpromote education in the country. Some of these policies may begeared towards attracting top talents into teaching and even reducingthe attrition rate in the profession. Reducing attrition rate ensuresthat the education department saves on teacher training and alsoensures that teachers increase their effectiveness through experiencegained on the job.


Darling-Hammond,Linda and Rothman, Robert, Teaching in the flat world. learningfrom high-

performingsystems. New York: Teachers College Press. 2015. Print.

Klein, Rebecca. These Graphs Show The Major Teaching Inequality That Exists in Many

AmericanClassrooms. 16th August 2015. 07/08/2014. Web


Reese William,America`s Public Schools: From the Common School to &quotNo ChildLeft Behind&quot

New Jersey: JHUPress. 2011. Print.