The Americans perspective towards education has a similar pattern with the rest of the world. Buy a bigger house, drive sports-utility vehicles and have elaborate vacations are some sort of possibilities if one can get the most out of college education. Except for those who are born rich, attending college seems to be the common gateway towards financial stability; the ability to afford better living with full control on expenditure and investment opportunities. If the prosperities are foreseeable by the society, why do students in America hold the highest drop out rate among all other nations? High diversity in the racial population of American schools and the state governments welfare reform deeply influence the productivity of academia. Although the academia creates study opportunity for many students, at the same time, it generates a high students dropout rate. To correct the problem, it should study the existing academia condition and restructure its admission policy, more important, to create a new teaching and learning environment that would accommodate the needs of every student from different racial background.
The productivity of education is declining since it does not catch up with the increasing population of the students. From the Gold Rush to the recent era of immigration, America has always been a land of opportunities to everyone. As in education, it offers classroom seat to students regardless of age, gender or nationality. However, with increasing enrollments in colleges and universities while nearly half of current teachers are near retirement, the America academia is facing some serious problems other countries have never endured: The lack of qualifying teachers with an effective teaching method for the great diversity in campus populations. Pamela Black of Business Week says, Further fueling the trend is the national political debate over education and fears of an impending teacher shortage. (Black 174) Insufficient teaching resources deeply affects students ability to get involved in school activities for they receive less attention from teachers who are already overwhelmed by large class sizes.
Especially for the minorities and low performance students, lack of teachers attention unable them to move up to the academic standards. In Graduation, Angelou notes, Nor were we to be ignored in the general betterment scheme he (Mr. Donleavy) had in mind. Angelou reflects the psychological impact on minority students when the school does not participate to support their academic performances. Similar to Angelous experience, many minority and poor performance students are underserved by the present academia. Without teachers guidance, deficient students are unable to absorb new knowledge and to get involve in the college communities. These factors create an intimidating learning environment that would eventually cause them to drop out of school. Mass education of United States is not morally right since it lacks the responsibility to ensure that talent is developed in all communities. To prevent deficient students from dropping out of schools, the academia must develop a new teaching strategy to strengthen the learning ability of every student at schools. Besides minimizing the students dropout rate, there is also an economic interest to support why academia should not under serve minority students. At the AAHEs 2000 National Conference on Higher Education, the board of directors indicates by the year 2025 the American workforce will be predominantly comprised of people of color, access to higher education for historically underserved individuals is also in the nations economic self-interest. To increase the productivity of education, the academia should be more accessible to immigrant and international students. On the other hand, it should prepare students for rigorous college work. More important, there should be new college acceptance policies that identify and only accept students who are most likely to benefit from college.
The academia should consider elitism over mass upper education since mass education turns college into a common place for those who finish high school but have not yet decided for their own future. Since college accommodates large amount of those who are not fully prepared for rigorous college work, a lot of them will eventually drop out of school.
Besides the high diversity in the population and performance of the students, the setting of the institution also contributes to high dropout rate. Teaching methods of the institutions deeply influence the performance of the students. Chris Thompson notes, Tracking students became a self-fulfilling prophecy, perpetuating and calcifying first-year academic disparities. The term tracking means monitoring students performances through remedial classes. Although remedial classes assist students in learning the subjects, the psychology impact on the students made their performances even worst. Chris Thompson explains, Once students were assigned a track, their fates were sealed. The side effect of attending remedial classes appears when the classes do not promote better grades. Indeed, remedial classes heighten students consciousness about their own weakness and helplessness. Mike Rose also agrees teaching method at schools affect students academic performance. Mike Rose responds, But mostly, the teachers had no idea of how to engage the imaginations of us kids who were scuttling along at the bottom of the pond. (Rose 177) Insufficient of qualified teachers drastically reduces the quality of education. Students who are on the edge of dropping out will eventually quit school if there is no earlyintervention by the school officials.
Recent welfare reform further jeopardizes the already propelled mass education. In the October issue of Policy Insights by New Mexico Commission on Higher Education, Lillian Montoya-Rael argues that competition for limited resources jeopardize quality programming and accountability in higher education. (Montoya-Rael 2) Welfare reform drastically attacks the magnitude of higher education since colleges and universities will face several challenges in order to meet the recent welfare reform. On the State-level policy concerns, since federal law allows welfare recipients (students) to save money for college, the states may include these assets in determining eligibility for continued welfare benefits. As a result, students may receive less financial assistance than they have expected and may choose to quit school in order to work more hours to support themselves and their families. Eventhough the cost of attending colleges and universities is cheaper compares with the rest of the world; the index of living is supreme in which many students are living within the poverty line.
On the campus-level concerns, due to the relocation of resources, welfare reform increases competition among public, private, and proprietary sectors. Recent pay back on the government bonds eliminates possible funding in many sectors, especially in education. Besides jeopardizing the quality and accountability in higher education, it also impacts student services policies. For example, health services provided by the health center at school or student career center may also be affected after the reform of the welfare program. All of these will push more students into poverty line and out of campuses.
Although the rewards of earning a college degree is foreseeable to the students, due to the complex nature of the social and economic settings of American society, many of them find out the educational system fails on them. According to Lillian Montoya-Rael, the potential social and economic impacts on the academia are extensive and require campuses and higher education coordinators to work with the governing boards to exert an effective solution to solve the existing problems. (Montoya-Rael 2). Aggressive measures like stricter college admission requirements and immigration laws (for example, only professions or the financial advanced can land in USA) would drastically decrease the number of institutional enrollments and more important, lowering the public dependence on social welfare assistance. These solutions may be too arrogant for the public, but before it is too late, Americans should think about whether the words equality and opportunities have been abused by the society for too long. With fewer deficits, the government can provide more funding to improve the infrastructures at schools and ultimately, increase the quality and accountability of America education.