What role does society and politics have in our public school system and what are its ultimate affects on the children? In the 1600’s in the New England colonies of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut, what began as a system of primarily teaching male children to read and interpret the Bible was eventually reformed to the 19th century concept of creating a national public school system which would be used as a community cornerstone to “create better citizens, unite society and prevent crime and poverty” (Thattai, n. . ). Since the inception of the education system, many strides have been made towards improvement which have included the legal system in some notable cases such as Brown v. The Board of Education and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to name a few. Both of these cases involved the educational security of our children and ensured that each child no matter their race or economics would be entitled to a fair education.
The United States school system underwent major reform and an increase in political intervention when in 2002, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act which would provide a set of standards in which to hold individual schools accountable for their performance and provide measurements for student achievement based on guidelines set forth by each state. Opponents of the Act believe that increased disparity exists in the school system due to the resulting schools which are ironically the one’s left behind.
Low performing schools due to a lack of parental support, inadequate staff and insufficient financial resources which are usually found within low income neighborhoods are abandoned by those households possessing the resources to place their children into schools which perform higher on standardized tests. (Thattai, n. d. ), reported because of Public schools heavy reliance “on local property taxes to meet the vast majority of school expenses, American schools have thus tended to reflect the educational values and financial capabilities of the communities in which they are located”.
Non compliant, low performing schools are threatened with government take-over or with-held federal funding. Impending job loss also places teachers at an unfair advantage. The teacher now more than ever truly has no control over her classroom. Recently, a new phrase has been coined based on the standardized state tests as a result of this act; “teaching to the test”. Most teachers report because their daily curriculum is primarily based on the subjects offered on the exam and the format of the exam’s questions, there is little or no room to teach anything else throughout the day.
This practice of “teaching to the test”, leaves little if any time for the arts or in some cases recess. In a 2000 online interview, (Kohl, 2000), Georgia educator Lisa Delpit stated, “schools that aren’t doing well in reading and math, they are actually taking away arts and having kids spend more time on those subjects. But there’s plenty of evidence that kids who engage in the arts do better on standardized tests anyway. Some kids who do poorly in reading have the most creativity. If you don’t include the arts, you’re going to prevent so many kids who are so talented from ever communicating”.
Administrators push to ensure their teachers are following a strict, mostly unwritten guideline on building their day solely around the standardized tests to ensure their schools either maintain or exceed their current state ranking. Since the development of the modern Public school system, recent societal changes have caused an increase in both state and federal governmental policies and procedures. Over the years, it seems an influx of violence, crime, drug and alcohol abuse has trickled into the Public school system.
Gangs and opponents have always been a part of our modern society, but the way they operate and handle disputes has drastically changed. It used to be not uncommon for a fight to break out in the school yard at the end of the school day where the looser might leave with a busted nose or bloodied lip. Nowadays, our schools have to contend with weapons intended to kill in the classroom or on the playground; there is no specific preference. Additionally, educators and those students interested in an education have to contend with drug sales and use on school grounds; both the illegal type nd the prescription handed to the student deemed learning deficient or as having a low attention span. While our Public school system has never been a perfect institution, it’s decline can be linked by some to a lack of morals taught in the home or practiced for a brief moment in the form of prayer at the top of the school day. Bergel (1988) pointed out that “America has experienced radical decline in each of the four areas which the children’s prayer touched upon: youth, family, education, national life. Perhaps, the reintroduction and inclusion of morals would help to even the playing field between the social and political influences placed upon the Public school system. References Hess, G (2006, August 14) What you really should know about the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Retrieved from http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/51874/what_you_really_should_know_about_the. html? cat=25 Sampson, S. (2006, August 2). Will the No Child Left Behind act solve problems with our education system? Associated Content.
Retrieved from http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/44099/will_the_no_child_left_behind_act_solve_pg2_pg2. html? cat=9 Williams, J. (2005). Cheating our kids: How politics and greed ruin education. United Kingdom: Palgrave MacMillian Deeptha Thattai – A history of public education in the United States Retrieved from: http://www. servintfree. net/~aidmn-ejournal/publications/2001-11/PublicEducationInTheUnitedStates. html http://www. thenation. com/doc/20000605/forum/4 School Colors: The racial politics of Public Education