There are no specifications for public education in the Constitution of the United States of America. However, public education reform is among the most discussed topics in the country (Alison 23). It has become a matter of concern to those whom it directly affects and also those who are not directly affected by this concept. This is appropriate as it may. It is important that the issue of public education is spoken of at large to shed light on some of the disparities that have been greatly ignored time over time (Alison 23). One of the targets of this discussion is the American Public School system. The public school institution is among the largest schools in the United States of America. It bears a great deal of responsibility. It is in charge of the education of almost 80% of the American kids (Alison 23). The culmination of these two factors clearly shows that the expanse of this institution is theoretically and almost practically limitless (Alison 23). It is okay to say that every American would encounter the public school institution in one way or another in their life (Alison 23). It is evident that even the decision not to attend a public school is based on what the public school is or is not; therefore we see that it affects everyone who has the will to pursue education as a basic necessity in theirs or their childs life.
The vastness of this institution has thus made it an incessant hot topic of the American discourse. There is an array of opinions that has been given that seeks to be the solution to the problems that riddle the system (Gay 280). However, as we mentioned earlier since the constitution does not mention in precision the ideas that should uniformly govern the organization of the public institution it remains a subject to critique. All in all, with time the public school system has experienced some reforms and has changed with time to become the system it is today (Gay 280). These reforms have been based on the current events, public opinion, the economy, and global relations. Regardless of these few reforms that have been experienced in the public school institution over the years, problems still exist within the institution, and much controversy lies within the solutions that have been proposed. These will be shown in this article.
The latest reforms in the public institution have taken place in the 21st century. These reforms, like all other proposed reforms in the other centuries have been put in place with an aim to counter all the problems that have arisen in the public schools in relation to the current events, the economy, public opinion and global relations (Gay 280). They have managed to solve some of the problems that have been seen. However, these problems have not fully been eradicated.
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policy is that which has greatly affected the operations of the public school institution in the 21st century (Gay 280). Both the purpose and the function of this institution now greatly depend upon this policy. This policy has only been in effect for a few years; however, it possesses a large chunk of legislation. The policy was created in 2001 and signed on January 8, 2002, as authorized by the United States Department of Education (Gay 280). The policy seeks to ensure that there is equality of education opportunity for all students who are enrolled in any public school all over the country. The inequality that is highly expressed in this policy is that which arises from factors such as poverty (Gay 280). The main difference between this policy and other policies from different centuries is that this one seeks equal educational opportunity while the rest simply sought equal opportunity (Gay 280).
The policy of accountability and no child left behind requires that schools handle their standards. Accountability should be evident and clear through standardized testing (Goetz 74).Individual states implement These standardized tests. States have to test annually students in grade 3-8 in the areas of reading and math, and they should be tested again in both subjects in high school. Moreover, students must now be tested in science at least once every three years (Goetz 74). NCLB requires that students are tested against the standards set by the National Assessment and Education Process (Goetz 74). This way accountability is maintained and the No Child Left Behind policy ensures that the accountability process goes hand in hand with equal educational opportunities to all the students.
Public schools are required to hire highly qualified teachers.It is evident that the teacher quality has a great effect on how much the children learn (Moe 173). The quality of the teacher has stood out over the race, socio-economic status, or classroom size in determining the level of success of any student (Moe 173). For this reason, NCLB ensures that for a teacher to be employed in a public school institution they have to have a Bachelors Degree as well as a state certification of expertise in the subjects they intend to teach (Moe 173).
Having highly qualified teachers is not enough (Moe 173). The NCLB policy ensures that all teachers use research-based methods of instruction. It means that the scientific programs that are being used in teaching must be proven to be effective. It suggests that teachers should not only use journals and texts but should also carry put some of their research in the classroom (Moe 173). This way quality content is given to the students (Moe 173).
Choice and no child left behind gives parents the freedom to transfer their kids to other schools they feel are passing more. It is not always possible because most highly achieving schools are usually full. For this reason, we see that NCLB has created charter schools that are publicly owned but privately run to which parents can transfer their kids (Goetz 74). Vouchers are also awarded to parents, and they can use them, to transfer students to other private schools or any other schools.
Like any other policy that has previously been incorporated, the NO Child Left Behind policy has received praise and criticism (Goetz 74). It is very admirable that the NCLB policy aims at achieving equal educational opportunity (Goetz 74). The criticism of this policy mainly lies on the funding for these initiatives and the system that is input for ensuring accountability. The opposition to this policy thus feels like the project is flawed and cannot achieve its intended purpose. The argument that faces this policy is that schools already have the funds to ensure quality education for their students but do not have the funds to create their own standards that are set by the NCLB policy for all schools in the state (Goetz 74). They argue that the schools do not have the additional funds that the policy requires them to have. The critics also believe that extra funds are incurred from the increased testing that NCLB policy implements.
Aside from funding, critics also feel that the policies accountability system is flawed. It is seen that accountability in the NCLB policy is dependent on the standardized testing of reading math and science in the school (Piche 57). This thus means that more time will be spent learning the tested areas that will lead to diversion from the curriculum. Standardized tests are also criticized because they test a limited amount of students skills and abilities (Piche 57). Standardized tests also do not acknowledge interpersonal or kinesthetic intelligence as an important element of intelligence (Piche 57).Regardless of the improvement of tests results since the policy was put in place, it does not mean that students are learning.
For years, the functions and purposes of the Public school institution have evolved (Piche 57). Each century has had a policy that has left an imprint on the public education system in the United States of America (Piche 57). The most define purpose that has been uplifted over the years is the role of education in alleviating social problems thus improving society. Today, this purpose has manifested itself in the No Child Left Behind policy in the form of equal educational opportunity (Piche 57). However, flaws have still made it logistically impossible to implement to its full capability. Fixing the problems that have come with this policy will not remedy ball the problems that come with the public education system. It is, however, a start (Piche 57).
Alison, Clare. Preset and Past: Essays for Teachers in the History of Education. New York: p. Lang. 1995. Print
Gay, Gregory. The rhetoric and Royalty of NCLB. Race Ethnicity and Education, 10(3), 279-291, Retrieved April 5, 2009, From ERIC database. 2007. Print
Goetz, Motriez. Implementing the No Child Left Behind Act: Challenges for the states. Goetz Journal of Education, 80(2), 73-89. Retrieved April 16, 2009, From ERIC database. 2005. Print
Moe, Tom. A highly qualified teacher in every classroom, In J.E Chubb (Ed.). Within our Reach (pp. 173 - 199). Lanham Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2005. Print
Piche, Disken. Basically a good model: Education Next. 7 (A). 57-59. Retrieved November 13, 2007, from ERIC database. 2007. Print
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