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In the year 2012, today, things are moving even faster than they were in the previous decade of the twenty-first century; human intelligence has led to remarkable achievement in all walks of life. The role of the United States of America has, as such, been leading in all walks of life especially in research and development. And when we talk about the US role in research and development, we cannot ignore the fact that US educational development has been really up to the mark of being a role model for the rest of the world.
For my esteemed reader of this paper, I would like to shed critical light on the educational achievement of the USA, its policies, and landmark. I will review the past achievement in relation to k-12 education especially. The reason for this narrow area is that schools are where the mass American talent is polished, groomed, and prepared for the upcoming challenges present to an individual, the nation on the whole, as well as the entire world when taken as a global village. At the end of the paper, I would like to inform my readers about the future predictions, analysis, recommendations, and suggestions in the very area bringing out any issue which needs to be addressed with due attention.
National Science Foundation and K-12
A very noteworthy landmark that was achieved at the beginning of the twenty-first century was the association of the National Science Foundation with the K-12 educational system. This policy alone was supposed to yield high results not only for the graduates who were associated with this program but also for those who were reading in K-12 educational systems. I would like to review a study in which Graduate Teaching Fellows were assigned to act and resource persons for the K-12 science teachers. The time was just the beginning of the twenty-first century. This program was initiated with the idea in the national lens that by this way hands-on, co-implementation, co-development, and inquiry-based science learning would boost up paving the way for K-12 students to become a potential scientists of the future. Thompson et al. (2002) conducted this study from the qualitative research design and data were collected through interviews and survey questionnaires.
The purpose of this study was to “examine the influence on the GTFs of participating in an NSF GK-12 program” (p. 1). The findings of this study were of great importance with regard to the national concerns of the United States of America, something that has always help the United States to lead the world in the area of science and technology. The researchers found that the students benefited from the association of the science graduates. Additionally, the science graduates also benefited from this association. For example, they came to know what was the way of teaching inquiry-based science attitude to the K-12 students which was an important aspect for their prospective careers, though it was a bit tension some for the graduates as well as for the real teachers working in the K-12 system. The main problem was that they had differences of opinion, which, according to the researchers, was not something to worry about. In another study, Borba, J. A. (2002), chased the outcome that was expected by taking the K-12 junior professors to the university level. It was another landmark that was associated with the K-12 educational system to improve the already best one.
Thus, the entire program, and a number of programs that were initiated by our motherland administration, was highly beneficial and which at this point in time, in the year 2012, has yielded high results. We can see there is a lot of development of science teaching in K-12 schooling and is expected to produce great American scientists who will be the role models for the entire world as always.
K-12 Teachers and Technology-Training
When it comes to the high educational standards of the US in K-12, we find a lot happening right at the beginning of the twenty-first century. There was great effort put by the US government to train the K-12 teachers to learn how to integrate technology in K-12 classroom teaching so that higher standards of teaching and learning could be maintained. Polselli (p. 247, 2002,) examined the effects of such a program. The researcher conducted a pilot study in which it was analyzed as to what extent this plan was successful. The study revealed fruitful findings for the K-12 teachers’ training with regard to technology integration.
The research findings suggested that such a training program has overwhelmingly high benefits for the teachers, and, consequently for the entire lot of students learning in the American K-12 educational institutions. The most impressive achievement that was obtained by such a program was that the teachers had the opportunity to sustain quality in instructions to their students. They were more at ease with technology-based teaching because a number of their needs were met by this integration. Moreover, online learning really enhanced the experience of both the teachers and learners and this, first of all, “indicated improvement in teacher comfort level and self-perceived skill” and secondly, it proved highly effective on the governmental front because it was the very time when the US government rightfully made the decision to pass regulations that required the integration of technology in K-12 schools for the betterment of our students as well as teachers.
In this very connection, Friedman (2006) examined the outcomes of the implementation of a course website in K-12 education in a district. The study showed that the teachers found this type of instructional program beneficial for their students as well as for their own teaching experience. Although this program was a little taxing for the K-12 teachers for a number of constraints such as lack of training, access to a website other than school sites, no access by many students from their homes, this program laid a milestone for the future development which aimed that the K-12 teachers planned and implemented their teaching lessons on the course website and now we can see that this has resulted to be very effective for the US K-12 schools and a number of students in schools are more proficient in technology-based learning. Another instance in the same area of use of technology by teachers is Teaching And Leading for Educational Needs with Technology (TALENT,) – executed in the year 2000 – a program which was a follow up in the pursuit of Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology Implementation grant by the US government far-sighting policy. According to Sherry and Chiero (2004), this attempt was highly effective in terms of teachers development and training. This ultimately gave high results for the students learning in K-12. A number of resource professionals such as university teachers, academics, educator masters, teacher trainers, and others were associated with this program. It was a highly successful attempt because it soon became famous in the communities it was tried. Thus, the program was extended with the available funds and much was gained in that period of time which is to give great educational advantage to the US government and the national interests on the whole.
Arts in K-12
In the last decade of the twentieth century, Bumgarner (p. 14, 1994) reviewed the policy-making regarding the implementation of arts education in the K-12 schools in the US. The author pointed out a number of remarkable achievements that were noticeable in such policies to promote arts in K-12 students. The programs that were executed that time in K-12 schools The Artist Residency and the Endowment’s Arts in Education Program were worth it. The program aimed at producing quality poets from schools which were to make the national front more beautiful with fascinating words of poetry in writing as well as by recitation. Thus, in the year 2012, we can see that the US nation is bestowed with a number of great poets who are the product of such governmental reforms as The Artist Residency and the Endowment’s Arts in Education Program. It is also expected that in the coming two or three decades such programs will meet a very high standard and the students of K-12 schools will be polished with great care so that they can play a vital role in the making of this nation as always.
However, Dustin et al. (p. 51, 2004) noted some problems in K-12 recreation and other such activities due to severe issues of management and feasibility matters. Back then in 2004 they reviewed the recreation, dance, and other areas of K-12 schools and pointed out six facts that needed immediate attention from the governmental authorities before it was too late. Their specification read:
“(1) public school facilities are grossly underutilized; (2) most of a child’s life takes place outside of the classroom; (3) park and recreation programs effectively hook and hold children’s attention for educational purposes; (4) park and recreation professionals have substantial teaching and counseling experience; (5) park and recreation professionals understand the importance of educating the whole child; and (6) the synergistic possibilities are extensive” (Dustin at el., p. 51, 2004).
At this point in time, I can well guess that the condition is not favorable and is very much the same as in 2004 Dustin at el. noted. The government must take measures that can remove any such issues as presented by the researchers back then.
In this connection, it is important to quote what Hambright and Diamantes (p. 233, 2004) found out with a number of governmental issues related to K-12 educational standards and things like that. They came across a great many gaps in the research on instructive tactical planning. These took place as they calculated practical research on instructive tactical planning to examine the questions, techniques, and the consequent findings of past research. The volume of a research investigation for this kind of planning approach for K-12 schools throughout the US region was comparatively thin and incomplete first and foremost to case study and appraisal methodologies. They bordered their review to take in only instructive associations which served kindergarten and through the twelfth grade (K-12) learners, as educational bodies which used strategic development procedures could have, the authors continue, included superior education bodies as well! For K-12 educational organizations by means of premeditated planning, the authors, therefore, reviewed other sources and found that there was much to be done in respect of the development of K-12 educational research otherwise it would be really hazardous for US national interest. Hence at this point in time, I would ask the authorities to review K-12 research and find out the gaps only fill in with effective research and policymaking to make the education of the masses really helpful not only for them but for the US on the whole.
Conclusion and Recommendation
As this paper has reviewed developments, achievements, accomplishments of the US government in the area of K-12 education, there is no doubt that in the past two or three decades a number of things happened that paved the way for the nation’s success. There is no doubt that this nation will stay great on the global front. But what is needed is to address and curb the issues that may create a problem for our nation. One such is the privatization of education at the K-12 level which is said to be hazardous for us.
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There were some dire issues as well. For example, taking over K-12 management by the private sector was an alarming situation for all concerned. Solomon (p. 128, 2003), examined the effect of taking over K-12 management by the private sector and was convinced that it was completely harmful to the people of the United States of America especially those “who don’t have” material access to ‘buy’ education. The privatization was seen with eyes askance with doubt and fear and concerns were raised. According to my personal analysis, this is going to be a huge blow in the face of the national interest of the US as a government as well as for the entire nation. If this trend continues, there is no doubt in saying that education will be available for those only who can buy this product which would definitely have so many ‘brands’, ‘labels’, and ‘price tags’. The ones who will be affected harmfully will especially be the masses who cannot afford to ‘buy the luxurious product of education. Thus the US government must curb the chances of privatizing any whatsoever K-12 educational institutions anywhere in the country so that relief can be provided to the common US citizens who fear their dark future.
I would like to quote Hufstedler, S. M. (p. 684, 2002) as my voice:
“We can no longer afford to think about education in the traditional preschool, K-12, and higher education divisions. Human education is a continuum from birth through each step of the formal education process and beyond”
Thus, in the great national interest, the US government must take serious steps to see education, and especially the K-12 area, as a vital source for the development of human talents and capabilities and not just a source of material acquisition or so.
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