Commentary / There is a growing concern among parents that their children are not receiving a proper education. The “No Child Left Behind Act” and the requirements have promoted unethical behavior by many schools to meet them. One can surf the Internet and find many articles of schools manipulating tests and scores to present acceptable numbers. The result is scholastic measurability based on a production line mentality that affects the students learning experience severely.
The Children of Today will be the Leaders of Tomorrow.
As presented in Education Secretary Listens to State Concerns – The Thicket at State Legislatures, there are many groups backing Obama’s offer of waivers and voicing a need for a long-overdue upgrade in the act. However, there are other concerns. The pressure to achieve the mandated goals with fewer resources or teaching tools while trying to create a positive learning environment, creates extra stress on teachers. Much of this is caused by government budget cuts.
Therefore, the Government realizes that better education is needed and to achieve this, they create a set of numbers that must be met at a certain time. However, at the same time they cut the budget, and remove resources that were available to begin with. To me, it seems like the Government is saying; education is insufficient, and you will provide better education with less than you had to start with. This may be one reason home schooling is increasing.
Demanding schools to provide an enhanced teaching curriculum that is reviewed and monitored for results is far superior. Just like a corporation, the goals are important, but the project and strategic plan are what makes it happen, not the expectations. At the turn of the 20th Century, “John Dewey” researched the problem with the curriculum and theory-practice relationship (child development versus mechanical school routine). Schools should develop new subjects and ways to meet the challenges of a changing society and be committed to student development. Many of his findings still hold true today, and society can learn from the past or continue repeating the same mistakes.
Balanced Progressive Education
The Internet has had a great impact on society. Society is becoming more informed and knowledgeable. Technology is the accepted norm for many, and schools need to incorporate this in the educational experience. On the other hand, numerous theoretical teaching style changes limit the ability of teachers to focus on the core of teaching. It must be a balanced interaction of proven traditional techniques mixed with innovative concepts. For example, in third grade, I was required to learn the “new math” theory. It was confusing to my parents and myself, and I stumbled through the class. Later, I transferred to a school that taught the “old math” and quickly grasped and developed an understanding of the concept. It seems, I was not the only one, and the new math theory was eventually dropped as a failure. Therefore, adopting a novel concept is not the answer. A school must consider the student’s education as a priority, utilizing teacher input and evaluating the effect of the proposed changes. Society needs to take an active role and ensure that the scholastic curriculum balances traditional with progressive ideas to achieve maximum results.