Over the week, I stumbled over this article while I was looking over old copies of Newsweek in the Library. I instantly thought, “Oh an article the president wrote on educational issues, I wonder what that is about.” The article was about issues concerning education in our society today, how poor it is nation wide, and initiatives, including national educational standards, that could potentially raise the educational level throughout our nation. Although the national educational standards issue was not discussed in detail, it is important to note that the president of our nation is aware of them an is trying to help the nation as a whole be aware of them also.
“People like to say that the schools aren’t what they used to be. The truth is, they’re much to much like they used to be. At the beginning of the 21 century, we can’t expect to prepare our children for the challenges of the global information economy in schools designed to meet the demands of the industrial economy.” This was the most important point that the article made. Personally, I have never thought about the educational standpoint from this perspective. This remark has made me aware that I do not have the resources to know what education was like 50 years ago, but I do know how much it has changed within my short lifetime alone. Since I started school in 1980, I have been though the ages of “before their were computers in schools” to watching computers in schools grow into what they are today. My first experience with computers was limited but influential. In 1987 (when I was 10 years old) I was confronted by my first computer that was half my size and the storage disks were enormous. Since then, I have observed all computers and their components get smaller and smaller while holding more and more information. Because I was able to observe this, I know now that what children have available to them today is incredible but the educational system really has not changed in order to fit what the children are capable of. Now it is evermore important to change and improve educational goals to fit this new type of technology.
Educational standards are a great idea but they will not have any affect whatsoever if they are not enforced. Awareness of these educational standards by every parent and student in the entire nation would benefit the situation also. Sadly, I was not aware of these educational standards until I became an Education major here at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. If this is the case for me, I am sure this is the case for many people all across the nation. No one will benefit from educational standards unless they are enforced and recognized as beneficial toward every child’s education. Educational standards need to be used as a successful tool toward education and not taken for granted. In order for educational standards to be a success they need to become second nature to educators across the nation. I think that this is a great idea but it will not work unless it is taken seriously.
“No Challenge Is More Important: The United States: The president sees education as the crucial issue for America’s Future.”
By Bill Clinton
Newsweek December 6, 1999