Cuba High Successful Education in a Communist Research Paper

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Cuba High

Successful Education in a Communist Regime: A Comparison of Cuban and United States' High Schools

Few issues are more important when it comes to individual and national success in the modern era than education. It is in the fields of science and technology that new wealth and opportunities are being created in the developed world, and there is no competitiveness without an adequate knowledge in these areas. Many individuals can succeed outside these specific areas, of course, but if whole societies and nations are to prosper then they must ensure the quality of their educational programs so that successive generations have the wherewithal to sustain growth and economic progress. In order to be truly effective and efficient, this education cannot be counted on to take place only in institutions of higher education during adulthood, but rather must begin at an early age and extend through adolescence.

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In addition to the economic and social dependence on adequate educational programs for modern countries in the developed world, there is also the intrinsic value in education that it is generally agreed all individuals benefit from. A broad-based and thorough education in areas of language, mathematics, literature, the sciences, and the arts is considered a necessity for a truly functioning member of most cultures in the developed world, and even though not all students excel equally in each of these areas it is through education and development that individuals find the ways that they can best contribute to their communities. In this regard, high school education that provides a true foundation for critical learning is of paramount importance.

Research Paper on Cuba High Successful Education in a Communist Assignment

This emphasis on education and the cultural as well as direct economical importance that it carries with it is not limited to any one culture or country, but rather is notable in most if not all countries in the developed world (as well as many countries in the developing world, despite an extensive or necessarily equitable infrastructure to supply this education). Education not approached in the same manner in all countries, of course, and both the mode of instruction and the exact nature of the material covered in educational programs can vary widely. Language programs are one area of obvious difference across national borders, but perspectives on history and the pace and specifics of mathematic and scientific education can vary, as well. Given the increased globalization and internationalization of business, these differences in education have been cited as problems in allowing for the full transportation of educational credentials and knowledge levels across national borders.

There are actually a great many similarities between educational programs even in countries with seemingly disparate cultures and societies, however, despite the fact that this is often unrecognized by official as well as scholarly channels. The public education program generally and the high school programs specifically in Cuba, for example, has long been heralded in the international community at large as beacons for other nations of the Western Hemisphere, yet Cuban diplomas are not recognized by the United States and certain other allies. Despite having one of the most literate populations in the entire world and a successful education program by a host of other measures, there is an apparent mistrust of Cuban education.

An examination of the facts makes it clear that this mistrust is a much more a matter of politics than it is of education. A rational and objective comparison of the high school programs in Cuba and in the United States clearly demonstrates the high degree of similarity and correlation that exists between the two in a variety of facets, including the quality of education provided and the variability of provided educational opportunities. This paper will show, through an examination of current research into the area as well as statistics and descriptions obtained and maintained through and by international third-party observers, that the Cuban educational system generally and the high school program specifically are highly comparable to the educations offered by schools in the United States. The differences in these school systems will also be noted, but it will clearly be seen that these are outweighed by the similarities, and that there is no legitimate reason for Cuban diplomas not to be accepted internationally.

US/Cuban Relations: A Brief History

The historical relationship between the United States and Cuba, and indeed between Cuba and much of the world, is both more complex than it might initially seem and yet relatively simple in its effects today. This history is responsible for the political climate in and surrounding Cuba, and thus is directly and solely responsible for the lack of full transportation of diplomas and credentials received in Cuba in the United States and in other countries abroad. A brief exploration of Cuba's history in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and its relationship to the United States will help place this educational issue in its proper political context.

The Spanish-American War that took place as the nineteenth century was drawing to a close marked the beginning of significant United States/Cuban relations. The U.S. was ceded all territories held by Spain as per the terms of the treaty that ended the war in 1898; this included Cuba as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, and other territories (Suddath 2009). While Puerto Rico and Guam remain territories of the United States to this day, Cuba was granted near-immediate independence, with a few important caveats: the United States was allowed to intercede in Cuba's government if necessary, and it was granted a permanent lease on the naval base established at Guantanamo Bay (Suddath 2009; Franklin 1997). This naval base is still in existence and operation despite the open hostility that exists between Cuba and the United States, though it has been more a source of tension in terms of overall international relations for the United States, rather than simply affecting its relationship with Cuba (Suddath 2009).

Over the next six decades, Cuba wand the United States were important trading partners, and the much smaller island nation was especially dependent on U.S. investment and business in order to grow into an economically modern and prosperous country (Franklin 1997). Several rebellions against the Cuban government were attempted, and were fairly easily quashed by military aid provided by the United States, until the U.S. backed a bid by Fidel Castro and his overthrow of President General Fulgencio Batista in 1958 and 1959 (Franklin 1997; Elliston 1999). Castro's communist tendencies were becoming increasingly clear as he settled in to power, and at the height of the Cold War this did not sit well with his U.S. allies.

It was from this point on that the two neighboring nations found themselves at a deadlock, and the situation between the two nations has remained virtually unchanged since 1960. This does not mean that the situation has been stagnant, however -- Kennedy's embargo on Cuba, first issues in 1962, still stands firm, but this shift in the relationship has caused major effects in Cuba over the half-century of the embargo's existence (Suddath 2009). Given the dependency of Cuba on American-made products as well as on American business for investing in Cuba's growth and purchasing Cuban products, it is hardly surprising that the country experienced a major economic and social change following the institution of this embargo (Suddath 2009; Franklin 2007). Food consumption dropped right alongside the drop in consumption of non-essential goods, and the economy in Cuba all but ground to a halt for an extensive period following the embargo (Franklin 1997).

The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 is one of the definitive moments in this adversarial history. On the heels of several CIA-backed attempts on Fidel Castro's life, including the infamous Bay of Pigs operation, Castro agreed to let the Soviet Union build missile bases on Cuba -- within easy and incredibly rapid striking distance of the east coast of the United States (Franklin 1997). When Kennedy and the nation learned of this, an incredibly tense stand-off between the U.S. And the U.S.S.R. commenced, and even after it was resolved the people and government of the United States retained a deep mistrust of Cuba, and the feeling was quite mutual (Suddath 2009; Franklin 1997). This was only the beginning, however.

Over the following decades, the United States has maintained its embargo on Cuba and has also engaged in many activities meant to weaken or directly overthrow the Castro regime (Franklin 1997; Ellison 1999). From propaganda radio broadcasts dubbed the "Voice of America" sent from towers in Florida to listeners all over Cuba -- which later evolved into television broadcasts ending barely a decade ago -- to showing a large degree of tolerance for Cuban refugees, the United States has a very uniquely adversarial relationship with this near neighbor (Ellison 1999). It is against this backdrop that the educational programs in Cuba have been determined to be insufficient to meet the standards in the United States, and this lack of recognition by the U.S. has other international implications, as well. When it is objective present reality rather than the subjective… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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