United States and Taiwan Education System Reform – Education Essay
In both United States, and Taiwan, education accounts a large portion of public government expenditure and gross domestic product. In Taiwan, the education spending was 19.76 percent of government spending and 4.6 percent of
gross domestic product in 2002. Table 1 and table 2 show the public expenditures on education as a percentage of total public expenditure or of GDP in U.S., and Taiwan.
The government investment in education is important, because the education is the way that ensures the national global comparativeness, and nation performance. The investment in education does not mean throwing as much money as government can. Government should invest money in education wisely, which means the government should spend money on education in term to improve its weaknesses.
Charter school was an innovative education practice that was brought up to the education reform in U.S., where government can spend its education expenditure wisely. Overall, the charter school program is beneficial to the education system in United States. Learning the charter school in U.S. could bring some knowledge to education reform in Taiwan.
Background of Charter Schools as School Choice in U.S. Education Reform
The education expenditure is primarily a State and local responsibility in the United States. This structure of education finance in U.S. reflects the predominant State and local role, where States and communities can establish schools and colleges, develop all courses, and determine requirements for enrollment and graduation. For the school year 2004 to 2005, of an estimated 909 billion dollars being spent nationwide on education at all levels, and about 90 percent came from State, local, and other private sources. Even the Federal contribution to nation education expenditure only counts a small portion; it still plays a role in the education system. The Federal role in education as a kind of emergency response system, which means it fills gaps in State and local support for education when critical national needs arise.
As the analysis states in the introduction that U.S. has spent an increased portion of government expenditure in education from year to year in the past decade. This increased portion did not accompany with an increased education performance. Some researches have showed that student’s education achievement in U.S. was placed at the bottom compared to other OECD countries and non-OECD countries. Table 3 and tables 4 show the education achievements in different academic area by country. Also, the research had showed that student global comparativeness in U.S. was place in bottom third in an international study. Under this spending more and lower performance situation, school choice was created as an education reform. School choice is part of the strategy to give every child an excellent education with wisely spending money on education. Somehow school choice can be defined as empowering parents to select the educational environment they feel is best for their children, and in other words, school choice is parental choice. Also, school choice program is primarily comprised of tools that allow students to attend any public schools within or outside of their local school district. Hence, a lot of tools had developed in the charter school program to achieve those goals, and one of them is the charter school.
Charter schools, initiated in 1992 and was firstly introduced by Minnesota State, have played an immerse role in U.S. education reform. As of October 2005, there had been authorized in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and nearly 3,600 charter schools are operating across the United States, serving close to one million students in these locations. Charter school is the new pioneering work under the U.S. education system, and it is the product under the education reform that emphasizes on deregulation and flexibility. Charter schools are independent public schools, privately management and publicly government funded, designed to encourage innovative education practice, and provide choices for parents and greater accountability for results. Charter schools, which have no difference from public schools, can not deny admission of any student as long as seats are available. Charter schools allow parents, community leaders, educational entrepreneurs, and others the flexibility to innovate and provide students with increased educational options within the public system. Under this phenomenon, charter schools are freed from many state statutory and regulatory requirements of public schools, and state legislations give charter schools a high degree of autonomy over the system of charter school. In exchange for this increased autonomy, charter schools are held accountable for improving students’ academic achievement. In other words, the objective of charter schools is to replace rules-based governance with performance-based accountability. Again, charter school is primarily funded by State and local, where teachers, parents, community groups or private organizations want to apply a charter school should write the proposal that includes the organization and management of the school and standards, assessments and curriculums to state education department. Once get approved and granted, they receive up to 3 to 5 years of assistance, in period that the charter schools have to achieve the terms of their charter.
Under several years operating, there are a growing number of people find interesting, and researches show positives confirmation of charter school program. First one is that researchers found charter school could help State meet budget challenges. Charter school program is one of the education reforms that could save money and provide improved education service. Due to the flexibility of the charter schools, schools can be established at any existing capital units, like factories, offices, and grocery stores. The usage of the existing capital as charter school, can save the expense of building additional school spaces, though reduce the spending on charter school plans. According to recent surveys of the nation’s charter schools, the average per pupil cost is $4,507, which is significantly less than the $7,000 average in traditional public schools, and charters are forced to use that money to underwrite facilities costs not included in traditional public schools’ operating budgets. From the study of school finance in Dayton, the research showed that the ten charter schools included in this analysis received $7,510 per pupil in 2001 to 2002 while the Dayton public school system received $10,802, not counting capital funds for the construction and renovation of building, funds now showering down in vast sums upon the system, though not on charter schools.
Another positive affirmation for charter school is that the existing of charter schools can induce the competition with public schools. From my point of view, the competition situation is based on the greater achievements of charter school which will attract more students to enroll, and the money flows away from public schools. Decreasing enrollments in public schools is accompanied with losing funds. Thus most likely, public schools will respond to competition from charter schools by raising their pupil’s achievement. In the form of competition, public schools will improve its productivity and quality, and this improvement benefits to students. Small class size is another positive factor of charter school. Research had showed that public schools usually have higher student to teacher ratio compared with charter schools. Table 5 shows the students to teachers ratio for charter schools and public schools. From the table, the outcome is that class sizes at charter schools were likely to be smaller when compared to other public schools at schools that served younger students. Charter schools that served high-school students tended to have class sizes that were the same or larger than other public schools. Overall, the lower students to teachers ratio is a positive factor of students to academic achievement.
Education Reform Proposal in Taiwan
Charter school is an innovative education practice, which has some significant specialties. First, charter school’s role in the education reform is independent public school, which qualified with pubic school characters as equitable and low tuition fee, and qualified with private school character as emphasized on management outcomes. Second, charter school works under great autonomy, and flexibilities that are accountable with education. Third, the competition induced by the charter school motivates public schools on improving its productivity and quality. The education spending on charter school is lower compared to public school.