Secondary School Reform
Education Gets a Makeover. In the past decade, education reform at all levels has received much attention from the government and the public.Statistics have shown that the US is losing competitive ground in the international arena for high marks in education. Institutions such as No Child Left Behind and now more recently The Race to the Top have been ideals established during the administration of President George W. Bush and President Barrack Obama respectively to address the expectations for schools, educators, and students. While reform is taking place at all grade levels in public schools, secondary reform is of particular interest because it is at that level where graduation requirements and final test scores are measured.
The No Child Left Behind Act (enacted in 2002) required public schools to meet established standards and achieve measurable goals in order to retain federal funding. More specifically, it accounted for all students with the focus to bring disadvantaged schools and students to acceptable levels of achievement. The deadline in mind for all schools to meet proficiency requirements is 2014. Annual testing has become a part of the culture to check for progress and to determine if schools are indeed meeting the expectations. Schools who do not meet the Annual Yearly Progress standards could be in jeopardy of losing federal assistance.
In July 2009, President Obama made a move toward education reform with a proposal called Race to the Top where states will be eligible to compete for over 4 billion dollars in federal funds toward education reform and maintenance of standards. Criteria include the need for states to address low-performing schools, implementing benchmarks and systems to effectively measure progress, and to recruit and train effective teachers. First round winners in the spring of 2010 included Delaware and Tennessee. In August 2010, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan announced ten states more as second round winners of the Race to the Top funds to be used for their bold plans for reform.
For the first time in over forty years, education reform at the national is being examined from all angles. Support and debate of proposals is ongoing.