So as I read through this week’s readings and looked at the various charts outlining the different policies OECD countries have in place and the specific area it is targeting (whether it is funding or early childhood education, etc.), I noticed the lack of presence the U.S. had. This is not surprising since most policy reforms happen on the state level because that is how the U.S is structure. While there are national-level policy reforms in place, it is ultimately up to the states to decide how they interpret and implement these policies. In the Education Policy course I took last semester, we examined the various policy trends of the U.S. and the various opinions of both sides of the spectrum in what each side supports and believes. We discussed and learned about how policy in discussion can differ greatly from when it is actually passed and implemented (sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a not-so-good way). The various barriers to get through and government bodies to get buy-in from can partially explain why it is a long and arduous process to implement education policy reform in the U.S. and why it never seems to end up how policymakers first pictured it.
This is not the same many of the other OECD countries mentioned in the readings. In an Atlantic article, it mentioned that Asian countries, in particular, have a clear outline of when a student should know what topics in what subjects and have assessments and evaluations in place to ensure that the student reaches it. The article also mentions how the policies are formed with the idea that all students can be high-achievers and there are policies in place to make sure that if a student falls behind, they are intervened and provided extra help to keep things from getting to a point where things are irreparable. The article also points out that the U.S. typically expects less from certain groups of students of certain backgrounds, because the argument is that those particular students should not be put to the same standards as others. While I don’t think that schools should expect less from a student because of her/his background, I also don’t agree with how the U.S. implements the policy of same standards for everyone, which is probably why the Common Core and No Child Left Behind has received so much criticism.
The Atlantic article also mentions how the Asian countries discussed purposely allocated extra resources for students who need extra help and have programs in place to help students catch up to their peers, while this may be the case, but having taught in Hong Kong, the article seems to overpraise the programs in place. On the surface, the programs and policies seem to envision the ideal, but implementation and action again falls short. Although I do agree that the pay for teachers is definitely not affected by the location of the school in Hong Kong, which is not the case in the U.S. and causes an issue because it deters good teachers from going to schools with disadvantaged students, who need them the most, since those schools typically cannot offer the same pay rate as other schools.