After having watched Linda Darling-Hammond’s video on Competing Internationally it becomes clear that America’s current crisis goes beyond politics and economics. Education (and educational assessments) is currently undergoing a crisis as well given the fact that every year the United States loses ground to other countries around the world (most of them in Europe and Asia). Linda Darling-Hammond states that today countries such as Finland, Japan, and Singapore consistently over perform in Mathematics, Science, and Reading Comprehension; the United States, on the other hand, consistently underperforms (going down in international rankings every year).
In my opinion the root cause of this educational crisis lies in the fact that the United States’ system of education is designed in a way that guarantees no student will be left behind, but not in a way that foments project based learning, high order thinking, and performance skills. Assessments are superficial at best; they simply require memorization and they are given in multiple choice formats quite frequently. Students are therefore not encouraged to take an analytical approach to learning. Instead, they are told exactly what they need to memorize for a test that they can easily complete. Furthermore, education curriculums in the United States do not contemplate the possibility of potentiating in-depth learning. Every year students must cover a wide series of subjects, but none are covered sufficiently in-depth so that students can truly assimilate the skills and learn.
Any country that seeks to compete in today’s integrated world economy must invest heavily in education. Today, the United States is less competitive on the educational front; this prevents the country from fully overcoming its current socioeconomic context. The only way in which the country can overcome the crisis brought about by the housing market meltdown in 2008 is education, as this will produce the skilled labor that the economy needs to continue growing and developing in the long run.