Problems With Public School Today Education Essay

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One of the biggest problems with public school today is that academic performance is declining, particularly in urban areas and among disadvantaged populations. It is well known that education in the US has fallen behind many other countries internationally. We are behind most other countries in both science and math education. The Ayn Rand Institute puts it best, saying, American education is in ruins. In addition to the educational problems, the decline of the family involvement has been such that one now sees public service announcements reminding parents that they need to be the main influence in their kids' lives. Although this problem bears disproportionately on the economically disadvantaged, who have no parents at home because all available adults must work to make ends meat.

There seems to be a positive correlation between family income and educational achievement. The U. S. Census Bureau states that in 1996 23.7% of white high school graduates went on to complete at least four years of college education, compared to 13.5% for blacks and only 9.3% for Hispanics. So, the percentage of white high school graduates that go on to complete four or more years of college is more than twice the figure for the combined percentage for blacks and Hispanics (11.4%)! With statistics like these, it's no wonder why the rich seem to get richer and the poor remain stuck in the gutter generation after generation.

The effects of poverty are detrimental to students' achievement and life prospects. For example, children and youth from low-income families are often older than others in their grade level, move more slowly through the educational system, are more likely to drop out, and are less likely to find work. Children in poverty are also more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems and are less likely than others to be "highly engaged" in school. These detrimental effects of living in poverty are further compounded for families that also are raising children with a disability. Furthermore, parents in low-income families are less likely to help their children complete homework assignments.(Morrison.2007).

Historically, Americans have viewed education as an answer to many social ills; but a national poll found that 47 percent of Americans would give the nation's public schools a grade of C for the quality of their work, and 19 percent would grade the schools as D or F. When asked about the schools in their own community, slightly less than half graded the schools as A or B, 35 percent gave a grade of C, and 11 percent assigned grades of D or F (Polling Report 2007).

(Lauer,2007).

Families are in a continual state of change as a result of social issues and changing times. Even the definition of what a family is varies as society changes. Families now include arrangements other than that of the traditional nuclear family:

• Single-parent families, headed by mothers or fathers

• Stepfamilies, including individuals related by either marriage or adoption

• Heterosexual, gay, or lesbian partners living together with children

• Extended families, which may include grandparents, uncles, aunts, other relatives, and individuals not related by kinship.

As families change, so do the roles of parents, family members, and others. More parents work and have less time for their children and family affairs, working parents combine the roles of parents and employees, the number of hats that parents wear increases as families change.(Morrison,2007).

The effects of poverty are detrimental to students' achievement and life prospects. For example, children and youth from low-income families are often older than others in their grade level, move more slowly through the educational system, are more likely to drop out, and are less likely to find work. Children in poverty are also more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems and are less likely than others to be "highly engaged" in school. These detrimental effects of living in poverty are further compounded for families that also are raising children with a disability. Furthermore, parents in low-income families are less likely to help their children complete homework assignments.(Morrison.2007).

Historically, Americans have viewed education as an answer to many social ills; but a national poll found that 47 percent of Americans would give the nation's public schools a grade of C for the quality of their work, and 19 percent would grade the schools as D or F. When asked about the schools in their own community, slightly less than half graded the schools as A or B, 35 percent gave a grade of C, and 11 percent assigned grades of D or F (Polling Report 2007).

(Lauer,2007).

The crisis in American schools takes three major forms. First, student academic performance is declining, particularly in urban areas and among traditionally disadvantaged student populations. Second, discipline and moral behavior is quickly becoming non-existent. Third, the per-student expenditure is inflated beyond what is necessary. The first problem with public school today is that academic performance is declining, particularly in urban areas and among disadvantaged populations. 

In the 1980s, America's education crisis received widespread publicity.  Several reports were done on the impact of this education crisis on the workforce.  These reports, especially those by the Hudson Institute and David Kearns, indicated massive shortcomings in education that left high-school graduates unable to effectively function in an increasingly technological and service-oriented economy (Tyson 1990).  Beyond the area of skills-based education, public schools are sadly lacking in liberal arts education.  It is well known that education in the US has fallen behind many other countries internationally.  We are behind most other countries in both science and math education (Morrone 2000, U.S. EPA 1996).  More specifically, the US ranks 18th out of 21 countries in math as a result of the dominance of progressive education techniques replacing traditional learning (Bernstein 2000).  Even here in college, where the students represented are among the top in the nation, problems with objective math prevail.  The Ayn Rand Institute (2000) puts it best, saying, American education is in ruins. Students cannot read, write, add or think?. Parents who can afford to, send their children to private schools, in the desperate hope of finding sane teaching? More than ever, employers are left to pick up the pieces, training school graduates in the basic skills necessary for working life.

These problems are exacerbated for African-Americans. According to the Economist (2003), Blacks who are disproportionately concentrated in inner-city areas) are getting a lousy deal from the public-school system. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, America's equivalent of a national report card, reveals that the average black 17-year-old is four years behind his white counterpart in math and reading and five years behind in science. Black students are three times more likely than whites to be shunted off into dead-end special educational classes.

In addition to educational problems, the much-heralded social engineers that seek to impose Progressive norms on America's students have unfortunately succeeded.  The rising self-esteem movement that seeks to avoid blame has clearly left its mark on our public education system.  The retrogression toward anarchy occurred on the watch of Progressive education, which seeks to socialize students above actually providing knowledge.  It is no wonder that an educational philosophy centered around never finding fault with another and seeking consensus before reason would lead to both educational failure of massive proportion and an increase in violent behavior due to the inability of students to reason together (Woiceshyn 2000).  We can hardly claim we weren't warned.  John Locke, the most influential philosopher in the minds of our founders, indicated he could easily do without public education.  Locke's fears regarding civic education about have been borne out in contemporary America, as young people are increasingly left to shift for themselves.  The decline of the family has been such that one now sees public service announcements reminding parents that they need to be the main influence in their kids' lives (Schaub 2002).?  Again, this problem bears disproportionately on the economically disadvantaged, who have no parents at home because all available adults must work to make ends meet.  Predictably, black males are the most disadvantaged of all, as indicated by their higher rates of incarceration (Mauer 1990) and suspension from school.

Conclusion

One thing we can say with certainty about the educational landscape today is that parents, families, and communities are as much a part of the educational process as are children, teachers, and staff. At no other time in U.S. educational history has support for family and community involvement in schools and programs been so high. All concerned view the involvement of families and communities as critical for individual student success, as well as for the success of the American dream of providing all children with an education that will meet their needs and enable them to be productive members of society.(Morrison.2007)

Teachers are born, not made and with training and practice teachers are transformed from strong ones into gifted ones. I personally do not believe there is a single formula for classroom success. In order to be an effective teacher one needs to employ structural strategies to address the range of students learning needs. I also believe that, part of being successful in today's classroom is having relationships with the students that are based on maintaining appropriate roles, which suggests clarity in behavioral expectation and consistency in response to disciplinary situations.

Communication and classroom management are vital to the success of teaching, having a sense of humor; knowledge and caring are also needed for today's teachers. In general teachers success=student success.

School tracking is the process of separating students into leveled course selections according to academic ability. But the matching of students to different tracks tends to bring with it racial, ethnic and social-class overtones from the very beginning. Jeannie Oakes found that race more than ability determined which students were placed in which tracks, and that the lower tracked students had fewer learning opportunities and teachers expected little from them and offered fewer constructive comments.

The first public school in America was established by Puritan settlers in 1635. The school was publicly funded and the first classes were held in the home of the school's master. What is so fascinating is that 5 of the 56 signers of the US Constitution attended Boston Latin: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Treat Paine, and William Hooper. The basis to create a public school system was initially formed by. Jefferson.

 In the 1600s, the dominant belief on educating the children was due to religious reasons.  However, with the arrival of people from many countries and belonging to different faiths led to a weakening of the concept. People rejected the English only school and opposed the clergy imposing their religious views through public education. By the middle of the eighteenth century, private schooling had become the norm. Jefferson believed that education should be under the control of the government, free from religious biases, and available to all people irrespective of their status in society. Until the 1840s the education system was highly localized and available only to wealthy people. Reformers like Horace Mann and Henry Barnard who wanted all children to gain the benefits of education opposed this. As a result of their efforts, free public education at the elementary level was available for all American children by the end of the 19th century. 

 Education has not always been free and available to everyone. Many people had to die in order to provide minorities as well as the poor the opportunity to attend equal schools. The first blacks arrived as slaves in the colonies in 1619 and were initially taught by the missionaries to convert them to Christianity. In spite of individual efforts, the education of blacks remained very low until Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. The literacy rate that was around 5% in the 1860s rose to 40% in 1890 and by 1910 it was at 70%.  During the 1950s segregation by race in public and private schools was still common in the United States. In 1954 the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional and by 1980 the federal courts succeeded in eliminating the system of legalized segregation in southern schools. 

Is the education system better off today? We all know that the advancement in technology and learning methods has brought about a lot of change for the better in the public education. However, Schools are facing other social problems such violence, drugs, alcohol, smoking, and sex-related issues.

 

Low tracks suffered from more classroom management problems, and focused more on social rather than academic matters. Tracking does not result in the equal and equitable distribution of effective schooling among all students. Instead, it allocates the most valuable school experiences to students who already have the greatest academic, economic, and social advantages.

I tend to lean toward the conservative and traditional way teaching, therefore, I fine the Teacher-Centered Philosophy approach is more in-line with my thinking. For the Perennialist, reality is a world of reason and would favor a curriculum of subjects and doctrine, taught through highly disciplined drill and behavior control.

 Kids come to school with lots of knowledge and lots of interests. However, the job of the school is to teach them what they do not know and teach these things in a systematic and organized way. The students are there to learn what they do not know, thus, the environment should be task oriented and disciplined. It is not to fill their minds with isolated fragments of information but to fill them with systematic knowledge. They need to learn, and as they get older, they need human insights and skills that come from the disciplines.

 

Najlaa

Reference: Sadker, David M.. Teachers Schools and Society: A Brief Introduction to Education, 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill/Course

As a teacher, you will be called to follow your ethical compass to protect the physical and emotional well-being of your students and to guide students' own ethical development. (Sadker 2008, pg. 271). Teachers must take a position on moral issues and help students understand right from wrong. But they also have to be aware of their first impressions and be sure they have all the relevant facts. If one does not have them, get them.

 

In the classroom teachers may not use racist or sexist humor or exchange grades for money or sexual favors. They need to think before acting, respect and be sensitive to cultural differences. For example, think twice before telling a joke (any joke!) that might offend other races or cultures. Teachers have always been considered role models for their students and whatever they say and do will have a great impact on them.

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