Public Education, as it is today, is in dire need of reform. Children find themselves in overcrowded classrooms, fearful of violence, unconnected to their teachers, and without adequate learning materials. From city school to suburban school, New York to California, changes need to be made. In the past several years, we have explored every conceivable approach to improving education: new curricula, scholarships, vocational supplements, magnets, fast tracks, slow tracks, team teaching, school-within-a-school, and every variation of all the above and more. Nothing has worked to our satisfaction. (Lewis, 203) Although, various claims have been brought up and new programming has been tested, such as Charter Schools and the Voucher Program, none of these proposals are actual solutions to the problems at hand.
Charter schools, as defined by Chester E. Finn, Jr. , et al. in “The New School”, are a hybrid between public schools and the most highly prized features of private schools (for example: self-governing, able to hire whomever it likes, control over curriculum).
These charter schools are available to all who wish to attend, are paid for by tax dollars, and all actions are held accountable to state and local authorities for good performance as well as decent behavior. These alternative schools are authorized to run for a specific period of time, usually about five years, and are able to get their charter renewed, if successful, after the allotted time. Finn and his associates spent two years visiting sixty schools in fourteen states and assessing the accomplishments of each program. (214) Their study found: “Charter students and parents both report clear educational improvement. Among children who performed ‘poorly’ in their previous school (as judged by their parents), for example, nearly half are now doing ‘excellent’ or ‘above average’ work.” (216) “Students and parents like their charter schools.
The main reason why education in general can be considered to be a market failure is because it is a merit good. These are goods that which the government feels people will under-consume and therefore will subsidise it or provide it for free. Education is one such thing. The government provides lots of public schools so parents can afford to send their child to school at low prices. If the ...
Three-fifths of the kids say their teachers are better. Half are more interested in their schoolwork. Three-fifths say the charter school is safer and has better discipline than the school their child would otherwise be attending. Four out of five plan to keep their child in the charter school as long as it’s available.” (216) “Families and teachers are turning to charter schools for educational reasons.” (216) Factors stated by parents and teachers included: smaller class size, the schools’ educational philosophy, committed parents, and better teachers. (216) “Satisfaction levels are highest when it comes to educational matters (curriculum, teaching, etc. ) and lowest in peripheral areas (food, sports, etc.
) indicating that charters are successfully deploying their limited resources on the basics.” (216) “The teachers prize the professional opportunities the find in charter schools.”Fewer than 3 per cent would rather teach elsewhere.” (216) Although Finn found charter schools to be successful in the majority of instances, he does point out that “a few are places we wouldn’t send our own kids, one or two were a little weird.” (216) An opponent of the voucher system, Phyllis Vine, points out that charter schools have become moneymaking business propositions for some. Two such men, Bill DeLo ache and John Eason, the founders of Alternative Public Schools, Inc. (A. P. S.
), were quoted referring to themselves as “citizens with a hobby” (221) as well as “a couple of guys looking for a school.” (221) Such men enter into the Charter School program venturing to make some money in the newest “for-profit” enterprise. One must question how sincere such businessmen can be about the children’s education. Another proposed answer to problems in the Public School System is the Voucher Program. Vouchers that allow parents and children the financial support for a greater range of choice in where their children receive their education. Kevin Walthers expresses his support of the voucher movement “as means for strengthening professionalism and raising academic standards” (Noll, 192) in his essay “Saying Yes to Vouchers: Perception, Choice, and the Educational Response.” Walthers states: While some question the professionalism of educators, others fear a lack of appropriate academic standards for students. Adults remember ‘ how tough it was when I was in school,’ but growing evidence supports the public’s position that school, while getting easier, ignores the increasing knowledge base needed to compete in a high tech marketplace.
Violence in Schools is Directly Related to Parenting Violence in schools is a growing problem in the United States today. This effects not only the students, but also their families, the surrounding community and the nation as a whole. There could be many possible causes of students lashing out against their peers. One reason could be their parenting or family life. This is the reason that I have ...
Parents and taxpayers see falling test scores, inclusion, affective learning, self-esteem training, and values clarification lessons as proof that schools are not teaching as much material as the used to. Furthermore, they believe the material being taught is not as difficult as it should be. (196) He later goes on to point out that “by implementing a true choice plan, educators would elevate the stature of their field, allow for specialized, relevant academic standards, and intimately involve parents in the education of their children.” (199) Similar to charter schools this idea is workable, but once again, it does not make it an answer. Opponents take the position that such a program would turn public schools into a distinct unit of the poor that will lead to further racial, socioeconomic class, and religious isolation. (Noll, 193) John F. Lewis rebukes vouchers in his essay “Saying No to Vouchers: What is the Prices of Democracy?” .
He states: One cannot argue that the independent school, unfettered by any of the rules and laws that control public schools, backed by literate parents who are determined to see their children succeed and funded with public dollars, ought to succeed.” (208) Any problematic children they face, such as those who are not interested or won’t learn, can be sent back to the public schools who must take them. Such alternative programs have higher success rates simply because they do not have to deal with everything public schools must deal with. “In point of fact, ‘school choice’ is a strategy that does not deal with the problems facing our schools, but in fact runs from them.” (Lewis, 202) Vouchers are believed to encourage schools not chosen by students and parents to improve or get out. On the contrary, we are not giving these needy schools the means for improvement and furthermore are helping no one by closing these schools. What then do voucher supporters propose be done with all the children without a school? There is a long list of problems with public schools which includes everything from insufficient supplies to inescapable violence.
Education has always been an intense topic of discussion among many cultures and different groups of people. For many years it was believed that without formal structured education, academic success couldn’t be achieved. Today that idea has been challenged and proved invalid by homeschooling, online classes and alternative learning of all sorts. In the article,”School is Bad for Children,” ...
Although problems may vary from one school to the next, the need for improvement lies imbedded in the core of each. Analysis of the public education system has created alternatives such as charter schools and the voucher system, however, there is yet to be the creation of a solution to the problem. The easy thing is to pull children out of the schools and put them in a so-called better environment. Nevertheless, there will always remain students left behind with the same problems. If anything, these alternatives are sustaining if not adding to such problems by draining funds that could be used for improving the Public School System. (Troy, 182) The task at hand is a grueling one, but one that cannot be overlooked.
The children of today are the future of tomorrow and it is our responsibility now to make sure they are as prepared as possible to take on the future. The problems that exist today in the Public School System will not be fixed overnight, nor can they be fixed by taking children out of the program. Rather, all those involved must work together and be committed to restore Public Education. Work Cited Finn, Jr. , Chester E. “The New School” in James Wm.
Noll. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Educational Issues. 11 th ed. Guilford: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 2001. Lewis, John F. “Saying No to Vouchers: What Is the Price of Democracy?” in James Wm.
The current educational set up is based on a curriculum that is centered on adults and their feelings towards educating their young’s or the younger generation. Most often, their sentiments, aspirations and aims do not coincide with what the younger generation wants or feels like doing by creating or providing a curriculum which, though sometimes child centered, muzzle with the individual freedom ...
Noll. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Educational Issues. 11 th ed. Guilford: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 2001. Noll, James Wm. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Educational Issues.
11 th ed. Guilford: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 2001. Troy, Forrest J. “The Myth of Our Failed Education System” in James Wm. Noll. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Educational Issues.
11 th ed. Guilford: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 2001. Vine, Phyllis. “To Market, To Market… : The School Buisness Sells Kids Short” in James Wm. Noll.
Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Educational Issues. 11 th ed. Guilford: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 2001. Walthers, Kevin. “Saying Yes to Vouchers: Perception, Choice, and the Educational Response” in James Wm. Noll.
Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Educational Issues. 11 th ed. Guilford: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 2001.