A solid education, typically including college, is usually important in order for one to have a successful career. There are always exceptions, but a good education can give a person an advantage in most fields. However, it is not as if the education system in the United States no problems, and it is difficult to determine what the future holds.
Back in June of 2013, a study indicated that the United States had dropped ten places internationally in high school and college graduation rates over a period of 30 years. The report suggested income inequality as a primary contributor to these problems. It lamented cuts in various programs due to sequestration and talked about how there is not enough money spent to help the disadvantaged. For what it’s worth, the report claimed that the United States is in a period of “austerity.” This seems ironic considering that the country has over 17 trillion in total debt. Maybe more spending is not the answer to these types of problems.
Richard V. Reeves of Brookings’ Economic Studies also mentioned income disparity as a major problem in the education system, particularly when it comes to access to college. He said that a high school education in itself is not enough for success in today’s economy. Although this is typically true, it should be pointed out that a college education is no guarantee of success either. This might seem obvious, but student loan debt can be a major problem. College is important, but it is also a good idea for people to have a clear plan in mind in terms of what they will do when they actually get out of college.
Reeves wrote about making college education the norm and making it more accessible, but a recent Yahoo article suggested actually making it mandatory. The future of the United States education system would certainly look radically different if this became reality, but it is unlikely to happen. First of all, as the article itself points out, this idea would probably only work if the required college education was paid for by the government. The problem with this and all other publicly funded projects is that there are only so many ways that a government can get money. Perhaps more importantly, there is the issue of whether the government should have the authority to mandate a certain level of education in the first place.
Unfortunately, there are probably no easy fixes when it comes to making the education system more efficient. Rather than more spending and more government action, perhaps a better answer in the long run would be the opposite approach. A gradual shift towards less centralization in the education system might have some advantages. Maybe more power should be in the hands of parents and local school systems, rather than the federal and state governments. More choice and competition could be helpful, particularly at the lower levels of education.
This solution has its share of problems as well. For one thing, people with less income would initially have even more problems with getting access to quality education. Therefore, any such changes would need to be done gradually.
It is hard to say what changes the future of the United States education system holds, if any. The whole system could probably be more efficient, but there are not easy ways to bring this about.
Editorial By Zach Kirkman