America’s Great Failing – Education
What has America done to Education? America has in the past 50 years told our kids that competition, hard work, performance, and dedication to a goal was damaging to the mental and social well-being of society. But, we also had an elite who was satisfied in that their role in society and this was somehow theirs without obligation to the Nation.
What we have is a country of 50 states with numerous counties and even more school districts being run as a patchwork quilt. Some school districts are politically motivated, some are religiously motivated, and some are just not motivated. The school districts are handling kids from many backgrounds, various educational levels, with funding problems, community problems, and too much leadership without accountability. School superintendents and school boards are either non-accountable or politically motivated by the perceived community standards and not educational standards.
An American Department of Education independent of the political appointments,machinations, and bickering must be established with a minimum of bureaucracy. Educators not theorists must listen to the teachers and educators at all levels to develop a program that strengthens not dumbs down our students and citizens of the future.
Can a U. S. Department of Education work for the U.S. ? Yes it can. But it takes leadership, patience, and a minimum of interference from the petty politics of the locals. Congress, especially the House must be limited in its scope and influence because though it may represent the people it represents too many factions.
The Department of Education must lead with education reforms and leadership that will sustain all of the states for the long haul. It must do so without violating the tenants of the US Constitution, but be true to the values of science, mathematics, history, language, and problem-solving skills. Teachers need to have the flexibility to establish tests in the curriculum that will measure that standard at its level or higher. States and school boards will not have the flexibility to lower expectations, or modify the standard. The standards would first be implemented at the 3rd grade and measured at every grade thereafter. The student would be brought along meeting the criteria of the standard. At each grade level an expectation of accomplishment must be expected. Graduation or failure. All class levels will have standards to be met in each subject area. Curriculum at the school level must be built around critical – thinking and problem – solving.
Funding for education must be equitable with additional resources available serving the needy students of society. There must be an investment in teachers, ongoing professional training, and paying teachers competitively and comparably. More hands on mental thinking needs to be incorporated into the basics of learning by teachers.
Our education system requires a coherent plan that crosses all 50 states, it must have the national will to marshal the resources to establish and meet long-term goals.
Benchmarks in education are important and they don’t take 20 years to implement. The states should be establishing benchmarks or standards that make sense across the board. The standards established at local level must complement the national standard for science, mathematics, history, language, and critical-thinking so that a student in one state can move to another without either being a year ahead or a year behind. Punitive testing or the over reliance of testing does more harm than good. Tests must measure the accuracy of the knowledge of the student. Teachers who prepare and set up proper measurements should be able to do their own testing. Students as well as (parents) must be held accountable for the in the class room. Teachers with the coordination of counselors should have the last word on promotion. Experimentation in standards is not an option for charter schools, academy’s, or other forms of education. Education is a necessity for all not just for the college bound or skilled. The multiple expermentations in various schools and should be at a minimum unless there are strictly defined criteria and standards.
Waivers and elimination of graduation requirements are unacceptable. In seven states they have eliminated finals at colleges and in many states they have looked at or implemented alternated high school diplomas. that is unacceptable. The United states cannot compete world wide let alone internally within our own borders with poorly educated populace.
In New York City nearly two-thirds of on time high school students weren’t ready for college, as reported in the Wall Street journal, dated October 25th 2011. The statistics across the country indicate that 60% of high school graduates are not college ready and need remedial work. In 2009 Arizona graduated less than 60% of their students. Colleges and community colleges must establish strict expectations of graduates and establish not only communication with the community, but expect high schools meet the standards of first year college students. It is not acceptable for colleges to be aloof. They must demand high school excellence.
As a nation and with the examples above this nation is in dire straits. Education must be a high priority. And for those who have dropped out, the WIA or Workforce Investment Act must be funded and real standards put in place to encourage to further higher education. Students must be held accountable for their attendance, discipline, and academics.
We are no longer the leader in education. We are in the middle of the pack. We must take this challenge and return to the future. Our children are our future, they will respond to expectations, rules, hard work, and honest evaluations with a maximum of critical – thinking.
- 40% of U.S. High School Graduates Unfit For College or Work (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
- Most Grads Not Ready For College http://online.wsj.com/article
- http://www.elabs3.com/functions/message_view.html?mid=2336901&mlid=243669&siteid=669292&uid=7608134b9d&hq_e=el&hq_m=2336901&hq_l=1&hq_v=7608134b9d Improving College Readiness Through Coherent State Policy
- Blog: Huff Post Have We Gotten it Wrong on School by Jack Jennings President and CEO, Center on Education Policy