The education system in America is failing! Ranked #35 out of 64 countries, the most recent data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) shows U.S. children falling way behind in math, science, and reading - the three core areas of study - as compared to other countries. Singapore and Hong Kong ranked highest in these areas.
Few people realize the academic institutions of our nation have been bought and paid for by special interests and a political ideology that fails to elevate our students to even a competent academic level. In essence, politicians with little to no background in early childhood development are dictating what and how our children should learn.
As evidenced by the rapid spiral downward, it is clear they know very little about education!
Take Common Core, for instance. It is a complete disaster! Started in 2008 by then Arizona Governor, Janet Napolitano (D), who went on to become Secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama, Common Core standards were implemented in 45 states in the years to follow.
In essence, the intent of Common Core was to bring all 50 states into compliance with teaching by the same standards and measurements. However, it failed by creating complex curriculum, specifically in mathematics and language arts, that most students, parents, and even teachers, fail to comprehend!
Then there is the subject of school choice.
The majority of parents LOVE the idea of having the option to send their children to any school of their choosing. After all, parents have been entrusted with the responsibility for their child's education, so they should not be forced to send their children to failing schools just because of the geographic boundaries established by their school district.
A lot of teachers and school administrators hate the idea of school choice because it will create competition in school funding.
Public schools funded by tax dollars would be forced to compete with non-profit charter schools, tuition-based private schools, and schools for the gifted or challenged. But, I for one, know how competition not only raises quality and demand for better performance and product. Teachers should have to meet specific performance standards in order to qualify for salary raises and promotions. However, in many of today's schools, teachers are not required to meet performance-based requirements in order to get a pay raise. In most cases, a pay raise is automatic and standard based on tenure and time on the job.
This contradicts the standards established in the rest of corporate America, and is often taken advantage of by those in the field of education. Studies show that teachers working for private schools and are paid based on performance, not only provide better education, but are more satisfied with their jobs than those in public schools.
The solution to solving the education crisis is not as easy as it would seem. However, here are 3 solutions I strongly believe will change the course of academic decline:
1. School Choice - making school choice an option and giving parents the power to choose the best school for their children is a great step in the right direction!
Competition in business is healthy! It creates higher quality standards, increases wages, and raises the bar for achievement.
If the schools had to compete, I bet there would be far fewer failing schools. And far fewer failing schools would mean far fewer failing students, largely in part due to the fact they would have to compete to keep children in their schools and work harder to do so.
Plus, it sets an example for the students.
Private schools tend to have higher achievement rates because they, themselves, have higher standards of excellence than most public schools. Once the door opens to competition, schools that do not perform well will be forced to close their doors. That's may cause some inconvenience for parents, but if they can't compete, I wouldn't want my child attending that school in the first place!
2. Get Rid of Common Core! There are much better solutions to helping students achieve success!
3. Add Life Application Programs! Schools teach interactive, hands-on biology and chemistry classes, art classes, and various other classes. Yet, few, if any, teach real-life application programs such as basic consumer math, economics, civics, and other programs that every single person must utilize in everyday living!
Not to mention, the schools have all but abandoned recess, fostering a rapid decline in children's interpersonal and social activity, leading to an increase in obesity and laziness.
While I certainly don't blame the schools entirely, I do believe that the school system in America can greatly improve! Parents bear a large part of the burden because so many rely upon teachers as babysitters and there are those parents who rarely invest time or effort in their children's education.
Parents need to involve themselves equally in the education of their children, and ensure the success of academic achievement by partnering with the schools, teachers, and administrators.
What are your thoughts or experiences? Comment below.