Nation at Risk





Nation at Risk


United States saw a rampant shift in the field of education during Ronald Reagan’s political era in 1980. Education became a priority in the country with more rising debates about manifestation of inconsistent standards, which would shape a way for the country’s future. There were noted shifts in economic pertaining to growth in secondary education with globalization being a major connection between economic growth and education. America was in the state of economic lapse and other countries like German, and Japan were ranked at the highest phases of economic growth. This saw the country in the race to raise its standards and one main solution to achieve that was through putting more emphasis on the education system. Several issues like social justice and equality had to be addressed with several changes being made in the education system and labor force department. With these implementations, there was hope for US to rebuild its economy.


In 1983, the United States federal government published a report of the National Commission on Excellence in Education (NCEE) called A Nation at risk: The Imperative for Educational reform. The publication main goals were to make reforms in the education system, enhance more accountability and dig for better teachers. US education system was faced with the following challenges, high illiteracy levels, poor academic performance, a weak curriculum at all levels of education and increasing enrollments in corrective courses like military and business. The publication played a major role in changing the education system. The economy of the country also saw a major shift as people’s living standards on the increase.

Changes were also observed in economic growth level of the country. Dollar returns slightly increased in the years between 1980s and 1990s. High school dropout wages also dropped with a rate of 25 % with an increase-earning premium for college students. Reforms were made in the occupation and labor force areas. The commission made recommendation on teachers’ salaries. They had to be based on students’ performance, proficiently competitive and market-sensitive. The rise in the number of educated people led to changes in occupations. In the employment sector, manufacturing jobs were replaced by office jobs, professional technical and management positions. Wage rates also increased depending on the level of one’s education.

Schools were considered as essential tools for economic development. Evaluation policies became a common feature in American schools. In2002, Clinton signed the Educate America Act which established targets to upgrade schools in US. George Bush during the 2002 election campaigned for an increase in testing programs and accountability, which contributed to a growth of standardized tests to measure the learning progress of all students. His ideas led to the formation of a the most striving education reform in the history of  US known as “No Child Left Behind(NCLB)”.It was sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy. The main objective of this reform was to strengthen the testing system all students and public schools. Improvement of education in America also enhanced the advocating of equality and social justice issues. Discrimination and inequality issues were brought forth and social equity in all schools was encouraged.


Education and Social change perspective.

Americans have continued to hold believes in the principle of free and universal education. It is seen as a tool towards achieving national peace and unity. Education today has brought changes in many aspects of human life. With education, urbanization, industrialization and globalization have been seen as major aspects of economic growth. Schooling played a major role in the growth of industries and a shift to globalization in United States. With economic prosperity, it was clear that the country was growing toward mass changes in Industrialization, urbanization and globalization, which are referred as major social forces that helped shape the foundational elements of America’s education system.

Religion played a major role in education. Some advocated for private schooling while others supported public system. For instance, the Catholic Church under the leadership of Bishop Hughes supported the Southerners in their campaigns to make private schools common in United States. They managed to gain less followers compared to those who supported public schools. Religion also helped minority groups to access the same education system that the other social classes’ achieved. Some children relied on social capital to survive in schools. For instance, citizens in rural settlements in US contributed to the less privileged students. People felt better sharing which made them feel equal. There was no better person in social setting. Urbanization however caused a major shift from social capital to human capital. People started becoming independent, as the social relationships were lost. School became a place for individual advancement rather than community development. Cultural capital shift showed a society with non-financial social classes. The knowledge and skills held by one person represented a higher society status.


Schooling has become a major tool for economic, political, social and cultural development in the world. With strong education base, countries have been able to grow in terms of industrialization and globalization. Education has also enhanced the development of technology, which is a major facilitator of economic growth. United States serves as an example to all those countries struggling to make economic changes. With the adoption of education reforms countries can make major economic changes and facilitate major changes in any aspect of development.








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