Education reform has been an issue of discussion within the United States since the system began. Public education today is in dire need of reform. Students find themselves in overcrowded classrooms, less teacher interaction, with inadequate learning material. From city schools to suburban schools, from the east coast to west coast, reform needs to take shape. School reform could be achieved by committing more money to schools in need, allowing high school graduates to take a break from furthering their education, and involving the school districts in collaboration with parents, to evaluate and demise a course of action to make their schools better. The government has enacted different reform measures in order to push start the education system into becoming successful. The NCLB Act has incorporated that every child deserves to be educated. “October 2011, Senator Tom Harkin, whom is the head of Senate education committee, released a draft of the NCLB Act, which would abolish the provisions of the law that used standardized test scores in reading and math to label tens of thousands of public schools as failing” (Dillon 4). While this act has made little headway in reform, it has been a step towards the right direction. Even though students are receiving education, they still are not getting the adequate education in order to succeed. The government has been giving money to programs on the verge of reforming the education system.
The federal government has implemented new ways in support against the fight wherein, better education can be achieved. The creation of charter schools is one way in the fight towards reform. Charter schools provide a way to encourage learning through smaller classes, teacher performance based pay to ensure quality education, and better materials. Sam Dillon in his article, "No Child Left Behind Act,” shows one step the government has taken towards reform.
“On Sept. 13, 2011 — in an important first step to improve a provision of the No Child law and in a rare display of bipartisanship — the House approved a bill supporting the expansion of charter schools, the initial part of a legislative package planned by Republicans to carry out a piecemeal rewrite of the law. The bill tweaks an existing federal grant program that provides start-up money for new charter schools — currently about $250 million— and adds some quality control provisions” (Dillon 32). Since supplying federal monies to this type of schooling, charter schools are a valuable asset to school districts everywhere.
A study conducted by Chester E. Finn, Jr., in "Charter Schools in Action", labels charter schools as 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, 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 (Finn 214).
"Students and parents like their charter schools. 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" (Finn 216). "Families and teachers are turning to charter schools for educational reasons" (Finn 216). Factors stated by parents and teachers included smaller class size, the schools' educational philosophy, committed parents, and...
Cited: Dillon, Sam. "No Child Left Behind Act News - The New York Times." Times Topics - The New York Times. 13 Oct. 2011. Web. 13 Oct. 2011. .
Finn, Chester E., Bruno V. Manno, and Gregg Vanourek. Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2001. Print.
Medina, Jennifer. "‘Parent Trigger’ Law to Reform Schools Faces Challenges." Editorial. New York Times 23 Sept. 2011, U.S Edition ed., Education sec.: A11. 23 Sept. 2011. Web. 15 Oct. 2011. .
Noguera, Pedro. "A new vision for school reform. (Cover story)." Nation 290.23 (2010): 11-14. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 9 Oct. 2011.
Springer, John. "Obama: Money without Reform Wonâ€™t Fix Schools - Parenting - Education Nation - TODAY.com." TODAY.com: Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, Al Roker, Natalie Morales - TODAY Show Video, News, Recipes, Health, Pets. The Associated Press, 27 Sept. 2010. Web. 12 Oct. 2011. .
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