Why all the fighting, rhetoric and misunderstanding over Education?

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I recently read an article from a parent who was so upset with public education that she is choosing to remove her child from the public system and into the private school system. I was then guided toward a Ted Talk from a local teacher who spent 20 minutes describing to an audience of his current career. Although these are just two examples, there are many more like these that are available for the public to see. Sadly it has taken 15 years for people to speak out. Whether the people speaking out are teachers, parents and even some media outlets, they are all now just realizing that the reason for their anger is because of a well-orchestrated model for profit and competition to destroy the public acceptance of the public education system.

The Definition of Competition states the person or people with whom one is competing, especially in a commercial or sporting arena; the opposition”.
When considering the ideology of education, in 2014 the idea of competition has become prevalent. The American society is developed around the concept of winning. Often winning at all costs without consideration of the consequences or ultimately the devastation that may be left in the wake.

Within the American culture, this mindset has found success in most every environment yet is winning at all costs the best model for the future of success as the culture matures. In 2014, society is developing a new renaissance. The political landscape over the past 15 years has seen a see saw swing of ideologies, with several ideological changes occurring. Some of these changes are inevitable, others are being changed by force.

Considering competition and the idea of forcing a societal change, I have noted the field of education has come under attack. Several Education specialists arrived and shared with politicians that they could develop a model of change which can bring the United States toward the number educational country in the world. To do this, these people needed to develop a business model to show that their model was working. The problem with a business model in education is the product that is being developed. The product is not deficient, it just not fit into every box that the specialists and politicians desire of it. The product is alive, ever moving and at times, does not have the aptitude necessary for a standardized model.

In the modern environment, the corporate sector has convinced people that the public schools are all a failure. Articles flow with every teacher error yet they ignore that the alternatives to public education do not add up. The private school system is not equal to the public system. The charter system is far more private, yet is funded with public money. With this charter mentality, the school is not designed to care for all students, rather they focus on their desired population. In order to sell this model to the people, the specialists and politicians attacked the public school system. Teachers were blamed, new school grading systems were created and when all else failed, funds were withheld. Rather than grow a product to compete with the American competition, specialists and politician’s focused on developing an internal destruction of a public model, to recreate their desired tax paid private system.

So why destroy one model on the hopes of creating a new one. The reason is that other nations are providing better results than the USA and as a country the USA does not like to ever lose. As for the results of the public school destruction, it has not yet been a successful fight.
The reason is that the politicians wanted to setup a system in which every child is monitored through standardized tests. These tests would be administered and then students could be held accountable, along with their teacher. The issue that arrived – each State administered its own test an explained its own results.
The reality at the beginning was that Students were failures. Approximately 50% of students failed the tests. Remedial classes were needed since the United States does not lose. Each child would succeed, would graduate high school and be ready for the success of life.

This ideology was elitist, yet, when dealing with politicians and specialists, elite is often the expectation. In the past 15 years the American society has developed tests in each State, systems to teach remedial classes so students can pass these tests, systems to find a way for each student to graduate and in some States classes such as AP have become open to ever student as they are part of school grades.
On the surface each of these aspects is a positive direction within education, yet the goal of these additions is to survive the political change. In the 1960’s the same percentage of students were not reading at grade level as we have today in 2014.

Although the problem is systemic and I agree society needs to find a system capable of changing the reading on grade level ability, along with the math on grade level – the American model needs help from home and community. With the mindset of community, are politicians willing to invest in after school programs and community programs – rather than add funds to for-profit charter schools?

As the process of competition evolves, along comes Common Core. I agree with the primary concept of Common Core. The idea is that the foundation (standards) of education will be the same in every state. The content Standards will still be State focused, yet will also include some national standards. At the end of each year students will take a test which covers, English, Math, Science and Social Science and then the Data will be utilized to compare how each State is doing. So why the push back. The reality is that people do not want to think of themselves as failures. They also don’t want to see the reality of where their State ranks or if their students are less successful than other States. Rather than admit there is a problem, politicians and specialists operate with other groups to attack the program they created. They are now against Common Core as they realize that creating the competition won’t work in their favor. It may also backfire as foreign countries may be seen as creating a superior product.

Today, in 2014, the environment of education is doing more to harm students with their (USA) need to be the best than they are actually teaching them for the future. The ability to teach critical thinking, development understanding and or simply just the enjoyment of learning is gone. The model today is to test a student for pre-knowledge to know how much more testing is needed until the actual test which arrives 8-10 months after the process begins. Sometimes prior knowledge helps, most often it does now. Business models test products, keeping the ones that work and removing the ones that don’t. The field of education is trying to do the same now. Yet, in business the person who creates a product gets to redo their errors, whereas in teaching, politicians are asking to remove teachers who fail students, regardless of why they fail. The American system needs a proper professional direction for education.
Go ahead and allow common core to evolve and let the States Compete. Rather than use the data to force remedial classes and teachers into punitive punishment, use the information for professional development, student development and perhaps community enhancement. Allow for remedial classes to be there for students, yet guide those students to also have extra attention in school and after school.

The politicians need to let the leaders of education develop a proper model for future growth. The leaders of education need to allow professional teachers create a proper, working system. The system needs to be allowed to develop. This is the same country that developed intelligent enough people to fly to the moon, create the car, personal computer, internet and quite frankly everything amazing. Where is that education and passion for learning coming from today.

Competition is one of the greatest gifts given to the human being. It is also a system of greed, abuse and neglect if it is allowed to be that way.
Modern leaders need to deconstruct the model, decide how they want to compete, and then reconstruct the model in that way. Then they need to let it breathe for a period of time rather than continuing to attack. The system needs to find a way to exist in the system of competition that will be created.

Thank you for reading my thoughts.


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