The Ineffectiveness Of Education Reform Essay

544 words - 2 pages

On January 8, 2002 President Bush signed into law the Leave No Child Behind Act, which significantly changes how public schools receive federal funding. This bipartisan-supported attempt at reform, the first of this magnitude since the Elementary-Secondary Education Act of 1965, shows a dedicated concern to improving education. However, it is not plausible a punishment/rewards system will positively improve schools on a large scale as a nationwide policy should.

President Bush’s apparent prioritizing of schools is the positive stance for the federal government to take on this issue, especially at a time when domestic concerns could be overshadowed by global tensions and war activities. At first glance, one may be reassured by the current trend in spending on education: $22.1 billion for 2002, up 27% from last year, and 49% from 2000. Consider education’s place in the federal budget for the 2000 fiscal year (from Dept. of Education and www.census.gov), when it was a mere .7% ($11.27 billion), microscopic in comparison to Defense at 14.5% ($238 billion), Medicare/Medicaid at 20.4% ($335 billion), and Social Security at 27.1% ($444 billion) of the federal government’s total expenditures of $1.64 trillion. This education policy was conceived at a time of prosperity, so whether the government continues to increase spending remains to be seen.

The new legislation focuses on a pertinent aspect of education, raising standards for students, but determining funding by test scores does not guarantee widespread results. This new policy relies on the threat tactic of schools improving for fear of federal funding being reduced; if a school does not meet the new standards, how will reducing funding improve it? The government will continue funding school districts which are already capable of invoking sufficient test scores,...

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