Although there are many significant problems with the American education system, America is still one of the best education systems worldwide. However, America is not at the top, but can be easily. The best way to do this is to not have politics in schools.
In 2001, George W. Bush decided that the federal government should be more involved in schools. It is interesting that world leaders “think” they know what is better for schools when they know nothing or very little about individual students, classroom needs, classroom management, poverty levels, teaching strategies, and so on.
Sure, the federal government can play a role, but only when a school is in dire need of help and that the school asks for help. The irony here is that once the federal government gained more power over education, the schools that didn’t need help were helped much more than schools that did need help. This came with the integration of the act called No Child Left Behind, signed by Bush. Although this act is failed policy, twelve years later, it still exists.
What is No Child Left Behind?
To make it short, No Child Left Behind sets higher goals for achieving better results on standardized tests and that all children across the United States should be at grade level for math and reading by 2014. Well, this is impossible. There are special needs students, physically handicapped students, and mentally challenged students. How are they supposed to equal on grade level with those students with no special needs?
When teachers create lesson plans, they have to attain a goal at a certain percentage. No teacher ever puts 100% because we all know no matter how well you teach, there are just too many variables to consider, and it cannot be attained. No Child Left Behind may have been set with good intentions, but it is failed policy and needs to be repealed and politics in schools need to be left behind.
Another problem with No Child Left Behind is that it can affect teacher jobs. In 2008 and 2009, many teachers lost their jobs due to “budget cuts.” These cuts were supposedly due to bad economy, but I am skeptical. Also, these cuts were largely due to teachers having a certain percentage of students not performing well on the state’s standardized test. As a result, administrators and teachers started helping students cheat on these tests. This was the only way for teachers to keep their jobs.
In many cases, administrators forced teachers to help students cheat on these tests or they were told they will not have a job the following year. Teacher jobs have been scarce since 2008 and many former and great teachers have given up teaching because of the politics in schools. If you get politics out of schools and return to where teachers and parents can work together as a community organization, education would be better. Schools could compete against each other in a fun way, not ways to where results of failed policy ruin people’s lives.