The Economics of Education Crisis and Reform

The Economics of Education Crisis and Reform
In the contemporary world, research has indicated that the U.S is among the regions in the world that has the most effective education systems. This is particularly due to the providence of quality not only to the learners but to the country, as well. The U.S education system is highly sophisticated and structured in such a way that special care is given to the education need relevant to the student community. Strict laws and legislation has been implemented by the federal government with the sole aim of ensuring that, regardless of their financial conditions, every person benefits with basic knowledge. Once a learner completes the post-secondary education, a person has the choice to pursue the graduate, doctorate, as well as, the post-doctorate studies. According to Singal (2001), the education system in the U.S is also exemplary in nurturing students` extra-curriculum activitieswhile still providing them with a curriculum, which is highly competitive in nature. Singal (2001) further claims that the U.S education system is a function of U.S Department of Education.
However, these positive attributions of the U.S Education system have been downgraded by the prevailing education crisis. In 2013, Press T.V reported that the U.S Education system is ever more segregated by income, race and wealth. A vast number of students from communities faced with abject poverty are having their lives being not only unjustly but also irredeemably blighted by an education system, which consign the students to the teachers that are considered to be the lowest performers, consigned to run-down education facilities and the academic expectation, as well as opportunities placed on them are considerably lower that what has been placed on other students (Ulich,2007). The prevalence of this crisishas necessitated reforms. These education reforms have resulted into the idea of educational alternatives. These alternative schools can be described as school settings, which have been designed and geared towards those students who have been heavily hit by the prevailing crisis. Such an intervention initiated by the federal government through reforms is particularly essential. In other words, the need for social, as well as, cohesion acts as a justification for government intervention.
Since its onset, the education in America has been detrimental to the American society particularly considering the economic side. From the estimates of the Alliance for Excellent Education indicated that if 1.3 million K-12 learners who dropped out of school in 2010 had graduated, the U.S economy would have experienced an increase of $337 billion in wages considering the lifetime of these students. Owing to the dropouts in 2011, the U.S economy lost over $300 billion in potential earnings. If this yearly trend continues, the U.S will have to forego more than $3 trillion in the next decade. This should be a great concern. As Singal (2001) asserts, the contemporary U.S is a technology driven society and education is considered to be the main currency. For example, it has been predicted that by the year 2018, at least 60% of jobs in the American economy will require more educated individuals. However, the current projections have indicated that the U.S economy will fall far short of meeting this demand if the prevalent education crisis in America continues into the future.
Further, the present economy is more global in its nature. In the past, competition for jobs was just an issue among the American citizens. However, due to globalization, the American citizens are now competing for the same jobs with people from across the entire world. Markers have continued their rapid growth trends since the past quarter century thus creating a booming world economy and also resulted into an international competition. Based on the recently publicized data, it has been established that American students are typically falling short of their counterparts from other countries in the world. The discriminatory nature of the current U.S Education System has been attributed as the major gearing factor towards this condition. In the past thirty years, research identified that the U.S was among the few countries in the world leading in attainment in education. However, today, the U.S has been lowly placed at 18th position out of 26 industrialized nations in proportion of students who complete and graduate from high school education. The number of students who attain higher education degrees in the U.S has stagnated. The U.S is now placed at 14[th] position out of 26 industrialized countries in proportion of students who graduated with college degrees. In addition to this, compared to their international counterparts, the American students lag behind massively considering student achievement(Ulich,2007).
Besides these, the education crisis in America promotes the rise of crime within the American society.With its discriminative nature, more and more students are dropping out of school. With no capacity to get well paying and sustainable jobs, the minority group is motivated to commit crimes as another way of sustaining themselves. Also, in a study conducted by Mitchell and Salsbury (2002), it was established that kids who are deprived of better education are more likely to live out in the streets, joining thug groups or even doing drugs. In addition, the study found out those individuals who do not have good education in schools have a tendency of getting in trouble with laws in any given country. This is the situation in America. Most of the inmates in American prisons are those who do not attain or are not subjected to better education. These are a clear indication that not only has discriminative American Education system been detrimental to the economy of the country but it has also led to the diminishing placement of the American society in terms of education in comparison with other industrialized countries.
To stop these misdemeanors arising out of the current education system in the U.S, it is necessary that a viable economic policy be established. Researchers have embarked on studies with an aim of identifying a working solution. While several have been proposed, it has been perceived that School Choice and Vouchers is the most desirable and appropriate solution to the education crisis(Bodemer, 1996). The economic theory suggests that such an economic policy would result into an improved productivity. Integrating school voucher programs in the American education system would be particularly essential as it would allow the parents to make important choices on which school to send their children to. Given a voucher program, the parents to students in public school institutions would be empowered to select an alternative school to send their children to.
As economists claim, under such a program, the parents would be presented with vouchers, which are redeemable at participating schools. The redeeming attributes of these vouchers is essential as it enables funding the education cost of a learner. The Education Department of the U.S would provide the voucher with the value of each voucher not only fixed but also typically based on the percentage of the per-child public school attendance cost. According to Bodemer (1996), a fully participating program would place the parents with the ability to redeem the issued voucher at any public or even private schooling institution choosing to participate in the program. Where a voucher is redeemable at a public schooling institution, there will be no further tuition payment that will be burdened on the parent. However, different from a public institution, there would be further tuition payments that will be required on the part of the parent ofthe voucher is redeemable in a privately owned school.
Considering the federal levels, the 1995`s Low-Income School Choice Demonstration Act provides the parents with poor income backgrounds with financial assistance. As a result, these families are able to select or make a decision on which public or private schooling institution that their children will attend(Ladd, 2002). The main aim of the voucher program is to enable the U.S congress to establish the effects that school choice has on participating schools, as well as, students. The proposed education system reform education legislation is constituted of a bill, which establishes at least 10 school choice programs across the U.S. These schools would provide the parents from low income earning families with an educational certificate for the cost of enrolling their children in a choice schooling institution. According to Singal (2001), the educational certificate would quote an amount adequate to provide these parents with the maximum extent of choice considering their school selection. However, it must be noted that the amount quoted on the issued certificate can in no instance exceed the current local, per-student, public school`s expenditure.Different from the federal level, there are several proposals for school choice, as well as, fully participating voucher programs at the state level.
Indeed, as an economic policy, school voucher program is a rational solution to the ongoing education crisis in America. However, there have been several criticisms regarding the effectiveness of this program. One of the bodies that have dominantly been on the in opposing side isNational Education Association. Indeed, as Bodemer (1996) reported, these opposing groups have set aside a huge amount of resources with an aim of lobbying against the proposal. To counter these objections, school choice advocates have emerged and openly expressed their perceptions. They have publicly announced that the introduction of voucher programs will help breakaway the monopoly component of the current diminishing education system in America. They further assert that the proposed economic policy would lead to a situation where a competitive environment will be created. Following the emergence of this competition, there would be a better education for both private as well as public school students. Furthermore, competition has been acknowledged as the core of the U.S economy and has also been attributed as the sole reason why consumers receive better and improved products and services, lower prices, as well as, a choice for products and services(Ladd, 2002).
The American education system is much in need of reform and the legislature is convinced that the proposed economic policy will offer the most appropriate solution. Considering the current education system, Ladd (2002) has persistently claimed that it is characterized by quasi-monopoly and captive consumer. Particularly, parents in the low income earning category usually have an almost negligible choice as to where their children can get education. Regardless of the level of education provided, the U.S public school system is almost guaranteed of the attendance of school aged children. As Ladd (2002) asserts, the administrators in public schools, especially those being attended by marginalized groups, have no market incentives to entice them offer better quality of their education programs.
These administrators are aware of the fact that irrespective of the rates of graduation and test scores, marginalized children have no option other than enrolling in these marginalized schools. In addition to this, the administrators are not coy of publicizing the fact that the per-pupil state funding will continue its discriminative trends and it is not tied to school performance. Discriminative nature of the education system in America has led to inadequate competition. In turn, this lack of competition has led to a situation where the American education system has been in decline. However, with such an economic policy, potential of children will be realized and schools will become competitive. At the moment, those students that are privileged in life are subjected to good schools while those from minority groups are consigned to inferior schools. Obviously, there is large potential in the students from minority groups but with them attending the inferior institutions their potential can not be realized. With such trends, there is no way the American Education system can be competitive.
However, if the proposed economic policy is implemented, competition will surface. Competition is of particular importance for the American economy. Take an instance where American organizations rely on a guaranteed customer base with characterized by a guaranteed cash flow. In such a competitive market, a real concern is fear of loosing customers, as well as, the associated cash flow. In the American economy, a majority ofcorporations, whether international of locally based, tend to evaluate their product line, productivity, customer satisfaction, as well as, corporate efficiency in a continuous manner with an aim of remaining viable and also competitive. In a similar manner, the education system in America is required to be competitive. This would force it to be more efficient, provide better education to its entire population and improve services so as to remain viable.
The proposed education policy will be of particular essentiality, especially taking the parents from low income earners category into account, since it will provide them with the opportunity to send their children to schools in which they believe will offer the best education possible rather than be consigned to inferior schools. As it is today, wealthier parents have the choice of school choices to take their children to. This implies that with the introduction of the proposed policy, equity will be achieved since even the low income earning families will be provided with the same opportunity.
As such, they will have the same power as wealthier parents as to choice. Besides promoting equity on school choice, the proposed program will also help families from the minority groups but having the drive and high expectations on their children. Such an empowerment initiated by the proposed economic policy to low income earning families is enough to motivate the American education system to not only respond but also reform. Otherwise, the education system will continued worsening of the prevalent education crisis.
In addition, imposition of this program will improve the perceptions of the American business executives on the current school system graduates. According to Singal (2001), the American business executives grade the American at C-. More than never, the American businesses today spend staggering amounts in providing training to graduates of the American education system and this has been to the dismay of the business executives. The rising training cost is viewed as a great threat to competition in the American economy. However, the proposed economic policy can greatly help in transforming these perceptions among the business owners. The new economic policy will make the American education system become more accountable. In addition, the proposed policy will help the education system deal not only with managerial but also structural design flaws responsible of poor performance. With this, the financial outlay required for training will significantly reduce and as a result, competition will improve and this will be beneficial to the aggregate economy of the U.S.
While the proposed economic policy has been labeled as having a positive, some negative implications of the implementation have been depicted. It has been claimed that the proposed economic policy will lead to further education crisis. As such, it will lead to re-segregation of the school system owing to the fact that only families from majority families will benefit from the vouchers implying that no problem will have been solved. However, Mitchell and Salsbury (2002)say that this implication is specifically designated by critics with an aim of rendering the policy inadequate. Mitchell and Salsbury (2002) claims that there are two baseson whichthis claim can be dismissed. Foremost, the proposers of such an implication have an underlying assumption that the American education system cannot reform and the current education crisis will continue to persist. However, suppose the American school system respond by way of reducing waste and opting to increase its efficiency, as well as, productivity in marginalized schools.
Converse to the critical views, the remaining students would still receive education comparable to their majority counterparts. Furthermore, there would be no occurrence of the claimed non-minorities flight.In light of the structure of the proposed economic policy, the re-segregation impacts are only specious. The providence of tuition vouchers to families within the low income category provides the minorities with a choice that they did not have previously.
From this analysis, it is evident that while America has among the most efficient and effective education offerings, the prevalent education crisis whereby the minority groups are confined to inferior school institution is increasingly diminishing the positive attribution accorded to the American Education System. The education crisis has had a detrimental impact on the American society. For instance, it has been forecasted that future jobs will require higher education standards. However, with the current diminutive concern of the minority groups comprised of individuals with high potential,
America might not meet these objectives and the economy would experience further degrades. Also, it has been identified that the current crop of American education system graduates are not competitive enough and this makes employers opt for foreign workforces. This is particularly detrimental to the economy of the U.S, which if this trend continues, will be constituted of more foreign workforces rather than local workers. To alleviate the crisis, it is necessary to establish an economic reform. The proposed economic policy is voucher program that will promote choice of schools. With this, the minority groups will have the same choice of schools and will no longer be consigned to inferior schools. The major impact of this is promotion of equity in the society.
Bodemer, J. A. (1996). School Choice through Vouchers: Drawing Constitutional Lemon-Aid from the Lemon Test. St. John`s Law Review, 2(70), 273-311.
Ladd, H. (2002). School Vouchers: A Critical View. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16(4), Retrieved from
Mitchell, B. M. &Salsbury, R. E. (2002).Unequal opportunity: a crisis in America`s schools? Piscataway, N. J: Transaction Publishers.
Singal,D. J. (2001).The Other Crisis in American Education. American Journal of Psychology, 268(5), 59-74.
Ulich, R. (2007). Crisis and Hope in American Education. New York, N.Y: Bergin & Garvey.