The future success of our nation rests on the shoulders of today’s youth
As students in today’s public school system, our youth, are at the mercy of a bureaucratic system.
On matters of crisis, the greatest threat to the rights and liberties we enjoy today is the failure of our public school system to provide quality education. It is our duty, as citizens of this great nation, to place the highest priority on the education of our children.
On September 27, 1938 during American Education Week Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education. ((Citation: Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Message for American Education Week.,” September 27, 1938. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=15545.))
“The U.S. is on track to create 55 million new job openings by 2020, but will face a shortage of five million workers with the education or training to fill these positions, according to a new report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.”, “ Based on the current levels of educational attainment, all but three states (New Hampshire, Utah and Wisconsin) are projected to have a shortage of workers with the required level of education”.
Lu, Adrienne. (June 26, 2013). Study: Shortage of Educated Workers Looms. The PEW Charitable Trusts. http://www.pewstates.org/projects/stateline/headlines/study-shortage-of-educated-workers-looms-85899486294
History of bureaucracy in American education
The Department of Education was established in 1867 with the purpose of collecting information about existing schools that could be used to establish ‘effective school systems’. Succeeding legislation such as the Second Morril Act in 1890(responsibility for administering support for the original system of land-grant colleges and universities); the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 (vocational education); the George-Barden Act of 1946 (focusing on agricultural, industrial, and home economics training for high school students); The Lanham Act in 1941(eased the burden on communities affected by the presence of military and other Federal installations by making payments to school districts); the National Defense Education Act in 1958 ( the improvement of science, mathematics, and foreign language instruction in elementary and secondary schools, graduate fellowships, foreign language and area studies, and vocational-technical training)(( U.S. Department of Education, 2013); In 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act launched a comprehensive set of programs, including the Title I program of Federal aid to disadvantaged children to address the problems of poor urban and rural areas”; and the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002 which stipulates that all states must achieve 100% proficiency by the 2013-2014 school year (U.S. Department of Education, 2002)
U. S. Department of Education. July 24, 2002. Key Policy Letters Signed by the Education Secretary or Deputy Secretary. ED.gov.
U.S. Department of Education. 2013. Federal role in education. ED.gov. http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/role.html?src=ln
What if welfare recipients were required to volunteer in local schools?
American public education is currently governed by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) which was a re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) (New America, 2013). ESEA and NCLB have been overdue for re-authorization since 2007 (Strauss, 2013) leaving schools in a state of limbo. NCLB dictates that students must be tested annually but the great debate in education at this time springs from the belief that the standards and assessments set by NCLB detract from school’s ability to provide a quality education to its students.
New America Foundation. (July 1, 2013). No Child Left Behind Overview. Federal Educaton Budget Project. Retreived September 20, 2013 from http://febp.newamerica.net/background-analysis/no-child-left-behind-overview/print
Strauss, V. (September 21, 2013). Why Arne Duncan is threatening to withhold funds for poor kids. The Washington Post[Online]. Retreived September 21, 2013 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/09/21/why-arne-duncan-is-threatening-to-withhold-funds-for-poor-kids/
In September of 2011 President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan began allowing states to request waivers from the NCLB that allow flexibility to the state to innovate new approaches to meet the ‘100% Proficiency by 2014’ mandate (New America, 2013).
From coast to coast, states began applying for waivers. Some states have realized tremendous progress while others have not. Two school districts in particular, one on the East coast and one on the West coast, have distinguished themselves by the strides they have made to improve the performance of their students. The Boston Public School system in Boston, Massachusetts and a section of Los Angeles Unified schools grouped as the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (the Partnership) are forging ahead with continuous progress. An NCLB measurement, AYP or Annual Yearly Progress, is the key variable used to gauge the progress of all schools. The National Center for Education Statistics provides the most current facts and figures specific to school performance in relation to AYP. Massachusetts state has a score of fifty-one percent of students at or above proficient whereas California state has a score of twenty-five. Within California however, hope has risen with the Partnership. For the school year 2011-2012 the Partnership reported a graduation rate of 66.5% and Boston Public reported 65.9%. The per pupil expenditure at Boston Public was $447 (Mass.gov,2012),
According to a recent article from the National Education Access Network, “K-12 per-pupil funding in most states is lower now than it was in 2008”.
In a press release from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities the magnitude of budget cuts was summarized, “Thirty-six states have cut funding by more than 20 percent, with eleven states cutting funding by more than one-third. Two states — Arizona and New Hampshire — have cut their higher education spending in half.” (National Education Access Network, 2013)
“Many states and school districts have undertaken important school reform initiatives to prepare children better for the future, but deep funding cuts hamper their ability to implement many of these reforms. At a time when producing workers with high-level technical and analytical skills is increasingly important to a country’s prosperity, large cuts in funding for basic education threaten to undermine the nation’s economic future.” (National Education Access Network, 2013)
National Education Access Network. September 18, 2013. Budget cuts since recession are still hurting schools in most states. News From the Access Network.
Three primary theories persist; Theory 1: Standards and School Accountability; Theory 2: Highly Qualified Teacher; Theory 3: Personalized Learning, within which there are three variations: Variation 1: School Choice; Variation 2: Small Classes and Variation 3: No Excuses. (Redd, 2013)
Redd, Brandt. Theories of Education Reform. Brandt Redd on Education, Technology, Energy and Trust. Of That.