California’s K-12 Education System

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The current state of California’s K-12 education system has been affected by the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2001 as well as by the current economic crisis in California. Such circumstances have created many pros and cons about our current educational system, and it urges us to take actions to improve the current system in order to better prepare our students for their futures.

First of all, one of the positive things about our current educational system is that students will nail down their basic academic skills in reading, writing, and math computation. Such basic skills are definitely critical prerequisite skills for their advanced learning along their long journeys in a school system. Another positive thing is that students with special needs and limited English skills are getting more attention than ever. Even though the California economic crisis and budget cuts are affecting the quality and quantity of educational services schools provide in general, services to support students with disabilities and limited English skills have become more meaningful and individualized in order to raise over-all STAR tests scores of schools.

On the other hand, needless to say, the adverse impact of such situation is tremendous. Since they have to focus on teaching content areas and basic skills that are in the testing, teachers are forced to narrow down curriculum, using “cookie-cutter” lesson plans. This is also due to the lack of instructional time caused by the hideous budget cuts. Additionally, this situation cuts down on library time, technology lessons, P.E., GATE programs, etc. As a result, students are not given opportunities to develop their skills in creativity, technology, collaboration, and communication.

Facing this reality of our current educational system, it is recommended that schools and teachers reexamine their curriculum beyond the boundary of test requirements and start developing lesson plans of project-based learning that...
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