Learning and knowledge are highly prized in all societies, especially in the United States, where there is a strong perception that educated people will be able to have access to more opportunities and a better life status. It has been discussed and studied that the choices people made while attending high school, especially whether to pursue higher education or not, are likely to have a lasting effect on their life style.
According to DiNitto (2011), education policies have been, since after the 1950’s, a point of battle for some politicians or a point of engagement for others, supposedly trying to provide the best policies and reforms in education for children and the future of the country. Some of these attempts have been almost hurtful to our country, like the famous NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND (NCLB)program where education is just measured by performance on a proficiency test. NCLB does not really look at the students or teachers as a whole person, but only measures them without taking into consideration other aspects that could be affecting their performance at school. In some instances, this jeopardizes their future after being labeled as a person that scored under their proficiency level. This can be true for either the student or the teacher.
Based on the New York Times article written by C.M. Blow (2012), countries like China and India are investing in education for future workers instead of continuing to just punish teachers for the low scoring of their students unlike in the United States. Blow referred to the last report from the Center for American Progress and the Center for the Next Generation comparing United States, Chinese and Indian investments for future generations and found the results are quite scary:
The teacher student relationship is very important for children. Children spend approximately 5 to 7 hours a day with a teacher . We ask ourselves what is considered a good teacher? All of us have gone through schooling, and if fortunate had a favorite teacher. A positive relationship between the student and the teacher is difficult to establish, but can be found for both individuals. The ...
Half of children in the United States get no early childhood education and we have no national strategy to increase enrollment. More than a quarter of children have a chronic health condition, such as obesity or asthma, threatening their capacity to learn. More than 22 percent of U.S. children lived in poverty in 2010, up from about 17 percent in 2007. More than half of U.S. post-secondary students drop out without receiving a degree. (Blow, 2012)
The report also shows that by 2017, India will graduate 20 million people from high school, which will be over five times more than in the United States. According to the last White House Report, in August, the economy has lost probably more than 300,000 local education jobs which lead us to think that the education system is being starved from a lack of investment while our children are hungry to learn (Blow, 2012).
It is important to seek a balanced national budget and reduce the deficit, but cutting investments on the education of children is something that should not be done.
We can’t deny that education, especially early education, is in a crisis in our country. Unfortunately many things happen when new policies or new ideas emerge trying to create a reform that will invest in our children who will be the future workers in this country. Based on this and the video we watched during class regarding the Harlem kids, I found a great New York Times article written by M.M. Grynbaum. He writes about the new proposal from Bill de Blasio, the New York City Public Advocate. Mr. de Blasio argues that improvements in early childhood education are very critical as a way to improve the city’s long term economy and its middle class. He believes that rebuilding the middle class and providing children with the education they need to move forward will boost the future of their city. His plan talks about raising taxes but not for the middle or lower class. He is asking people who work hard and have done well in this society to contribute a little more to make this happen.
In early Childhood Education; teaching a child to read and write at early ages can have positive results when showing them educational videos and programs. Early Childhood Education is a field that will never lose significance. It sheds light on the best parenting styles and other significant issues related to raising children. It also gives us a glimpse of how young children perceive the world ...
Blasio’s idea relates to the Harlem kids because he is going to support those 4 and 5 year old who don’t receive early childhood education while their parents are at work. His proposal also provides after-school activities for students in 6th through 8th grade. Of course, his proposal is risky because he is asking people who are wealthy to give their share to make this happen but he also understands that these are people who know and understand that the education”status quo” is unacceptable. This plan was just presented to the city of New York at the beginning of October and they are now waiting to see what the next course of action will be.
I would like now to touch a little bit on what President Obama is trying to accomplish – moving forward in education and trying to improve current policies. A New York Times article published at the beginning of October by M. Rich reviews some of the criticism the Obama administration is receiving for providing waivers to states. These are states that know they won’t be able to meet the standards under No Child Left Behind due to minimal improvement on their scores or proficiency levels. Obama’s administration has pushed for more rigorous standards for public schools and also for requirements where states and districts will not just evaluate the schools by an individual teacher’s test scores but by their ability to improve the students’ scores. The administration has moved forward with two new programs: Race to the Top grants to 19 states and waivers to 33 states. The qualified states receiving waivers are relieved from meeting the NCLB target for making all students proficient in reading and math by 2014. Although the government is allowing these states to have the waivers, it is also asking them to set rigorous college-career-ready standards and is allowing the states to create their own proposal for how and how quickly they will meet the standards. They believe that every state and every district should not be treated the same and would allow states to accommodate differences between students rather than just limiting them to unattainable goals.
It is obvious that education has been a battle, continues to be a battle and will be a battle. Politicians will always use education and reforms to it as a way to get people to follow them. Unfortunately, the children are always in the middle. The children are the ones affected directly by the new reforms and will continue to be judged only by their scores and proficiency levels and not according to their holistic capacities and a realistic idea of their economic and family situation.
I am writing with regard to the state education, suggesting ways to improve it. Our country is far from the ideal system, but we have made a significant progress comparing with some other countries. Certainly, people still need reform in this area. To begin with, I am of the opinion that it would be better if physical training will be only an optional subject. Some students are not good at sports, ...
DiNitto, D. M. (2011).
Social Welfare Politics and Public Policy (7th ed.) Chapter 9.
Blow, C. M. (2012, August 25).
Starving the future. The New York Times, pp. 19.
Grynbaum, M. M. (2012, October 5).
Higher taxes in de Blasio’s schools push. The New York Times, p. 21.
Rich, M. (2012, October 6).
Loopholes seen at schools in Obama get – tough policy. The New York Times, p. 10.