|The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports|
|United States of America|
As the United States continues to improve its own educational system, it remains deeply committed to engagement in international education and to sharing its experiences with others and learning from theirs. The following activities, essential to improving education over the next 15 years, offer opportunities for collaboration with other countries as the nations of the world work together toward the goal of increased opportunities for education for all.
Increase educational quality.
The emphasis should be on outcomes, that is, what pupils have learned, and learning must include a range of knowledge and skills for the emerging global, information-based economy. Continuing assessment is an effective means of enhancing quality.
Increase access to formal schooling and other forms of education.
Educational access remains a critical problem for much of the developing world. For the United States, persistence in secondary school, rather than access, is a continuing problem among certain populations. Opportunities for learning beyond classroom walls should supplement classroom programs to make educational access a reality for all children and adults.
Strengthen the skills of new and experienced teachers.
Improved systems to train new teachers as well as enhanced opportunities for continuing professional development for those already in classrooms will result in increased educational access and quality. Certain models with which the United States has had experiencefor example, regional development centers for upgrading teachers, teacher mentor programs, and international higher education partnershipsoffer possibilities for exploration overseas.
Explore the strengths of various educational technologies and enhance access to them.
New educational technologies offer a means for accessing and organizing knowledge and expanding human potential. Lifelong learning and learning outside the classroom demand easy access to the Internet, to other means of distance learning, and to community resource centers for those without home computers. Learning within the classroom demands effective use of traditional teaching technologies and exploration of the strengths and limitations of new ones.
Increase international comparisons and assessments.
Educational outcomes should meet both national and international standards. TIMSS and similar surveys draw attention to achievement levels internationally and stimulate competition among nations, which can result in increased educational quality.
Pursue an agenda of continuous learning from early childhood on.
Cradle-to-grave learning is becoming the norm. A full-scale program of early childhood activities, formal classroom teaching, workplace educational opportunities, distance learning, and community educational activities must be readily available to all.J.P. Comings, C. Smith, and C.K. Shrestha, 1995, Adult Literacy Programs: Design, Implementation and Evaluation, ABEL Project, Academy for Educational Development, p. 47.
UNESCO, 1995, p. 7.
W. Haddad, p. 7.
Informal interview (by Kate Pearson) with Gulbadan Habibi, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF, 11/15/99.
UN Division for Social Policy and Development, 1999, The United Nations and Disabled Persons: The First 50 Years.
M.T. Tatto, July 1993, Policies for Teachers Working in the Periphery: An International Review of the Literature, p. 61.
A. Hartwell and E. Vargas-Baron, 1998, Learning for All: Policy Dialogue for Achieving Educational Quality, International working Group on Education, p.4.
USAID, Agency Performance Report 1998, pp. 72-73.
K. DeYoung, "Generosity Shrinks in an Age of Prosperity," The Washington Post, November 25, 1999, p. A1.
InterAction, Why Help the Developing World? n.d., n.p.
Ibid., n.d., n.p.
InterAction, Get Connected, n.d., n.p.
Merrill Lynch, p. 8.
T.L. Friedman, "Next, Its E-ducation," New York Times, November 17, 1999, p. A29.
W. Haddad, pp. 14-15.