Private Schools Will Not Fix the American Education System
The American public education system was founded on the radical notion that all members of society should have equal access to education. Also crucial was the notion that a basic common education was essential for a true democracy. This revolutionary system is now in indisputable trouble. Many worry about America’s ability to compete with foreign countries while others address the growing dichotomy between the quality of education in different economic areas. Recent rural shootings have only exasperated the problem, and caused many parents to entirely abandon the public system for a private alternative.
A flurry of solutions has been suggested, ranging from school uniforms to government grants. Unfortunately, many of these solutions are merely superficial. Uniforms, Internet access, and new buildings will do little to help overcrowded classrooms, overworked teachers, and disinterested students. The most obvious answer seems to lie in government grants to remedy buildings and supplies and standardized testing to confirm the quality of every education.
However, the problems inherent in the American school system are too complex to be solved purely by money. Without interested parties watching the consumption of money, resources are consumed unwisely. A new arm of the executive branch should not be formed to act as a school watchdog, at the least it seems this would unnecessarily complicate things. Instead, the solution lies in the activity of parents in the school carefully observing the condition of the building, classrooms, and teachers. Parents should be directly involved in the school and should provide the initial stimulus.Only afterwards should the government get involved.
Standardized testing has often been seen as a fair method of assuring every school in America is giving students an equal education. While a good idea in theory, I fear it could lead to a school curriculum that is focused solely on improving test scores to attract new students. Again, although the government should be available for assistance, the standard for measurement of students should come from the affected children and their parents.
The division between the test scores of American and Asian high school students has recently become a matter of many debates in many circles. Often the conclusion is that the American system is not fulfilling its role of making competent citizens, and that America will soon be unable to compete in the global economic market. Before I discuss the differences between Western and Eastern attitudes towards education that feed this test score split, I will review an important factor that is often overlooked in these statistics. The school systems of Japan and Korea do not attempt to educate the entire population of the country. Instead, only the most successful grammar school students are chosen to go on to higher education. In contrast, America makes education...