Failing Public Schools
A hundred years ago most learning happened at home. Parents taught their children or a private tutor did the teaching. Necessity and ideas for an organized educational system appeared. Public schools started all around. This new educational system started to grow up and developed to the highest level of education as high schools, colleges, universities. For a long time the public educational system has been the only alternative of education. It really has worked very well, even though there have been lot of problems. Recently we have started to hear about failing public schools. What does this mean?
Failing refers to the scores on standardized Reading and Mathematics tests. In other terms it means “did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). What is happening in the educational system that is not working the same as it was working before?!
Our children in public schools are directly related and dependent on their teacher. It is really important how prepared and capable the teacher is to teach them. Weak knowledge of subjects from the teacher leads to weak teaching and unprepared students. Our teachers learn to teach math, but they don’t know how to do math itself. How can one explains that elementary school students are told to use calculators, and without it they cannot do exercises. The same thing happen in literacy where most teachers are not very good at writing themselves. They were taught not following the old rules about composition and English usage. So it is no wonder why so few young Americans cannot write a paragraph. They are attracted by the surface, but don’t know the base. Teachers have lost real knowledge as the goal of education. These teachers are also unprepared to deal with the behavior problems that children have today, or they do not care about it.
School Program and Standardized Tests
Other reasons related to failing public schools are school programs and standardized
tests. A lot of difficult concepts are presented to the students without their being ready
by their knowledge and age to understand them. The only thing they can do is just
memorize it and then forget it.
In addition to that, standardized tests are flawed as a method of measuring academic
achievement. Standardized tests don’t measure students’ knowledge but their ability to
take a specific type of test.
Tests are re-normed when a certain percentage of the takers get a high or low score.
This leads them to be subjective and not a good method of measuring success over
Reductions in School Funding
From year to year the school budget has decreased. As a consequence of this many
schools have cut their educational programs and services that they provide to their
students. These cuts often occur at the expense of the educational quality of the
institution and are harmful to students. These often prevent students from receiving a
well –rounded education and leads to behavioral problems (bored kids left unattended
after school while parents are at work).
Students are forced to share resources - such as computers or textbooks - and their facilities fall into a state of disrepair. Schools without proper funding are
statistically less likely to provide a quality education than schools which have sufficient
Today it would be more exact to say that there are two systems of public education. The first of them is based in the developed and wealthier urban areas. This system is not failing.
The second system of public education is in poorer urban and rural areas. Too many of students in those schools are dropping out before high school graduation and are left unprepared to go on a higher education, and unprepared for the world of work. This system is indeed in crisis. If we are talking about this new economy and people have to be highly skilled, well educated to work with computers and so on, a substantial portion of America is left behind unless schools in urban areas get better. Talking about poverty is important to mention that families that live in poverty are less likely to encourage and help their children advance in school.
Break –ups in Family
Another reason for failing public school is break- ups in family. This does not have to do directly with school responsibility, but is important for the whole society. Parents do not take responsibility for their children. Social problems have a strong influence on children and do not let them focus on their schoolwork. Children need help and encouragement to do well in school. First we need to redeem our social ills to prevent failing public schools. One way to do that is to return to tried and true family values. Because failing in public schools, lots of families are trying to find other solutions for the education of their children like home schooling, or charter school. They are afraid for their children from the behavioral problems that students have in public schools. Public schools would not fail if all these that have been mentioned were. We all really have to be concerned about these problems, because it has to do with future of our children and nation.