In My Opinion
2012 Presidential Election Hot Topic: Education
The desks are filled with imagination and creativity. There are future leaders walking down the halls in the institutions that we call school. As parents, we all need to be aware that the myriad of choices and decisions that are made by our political leaders will impact the future of our nation.
The issue that resonates most with my family is how much emphasis is being placed on the education efforts of our youths.
The classrooms have become a place where lawsuits are running rampant and government involvement is out of control. Recently the government stopped traditional dances and sporting events. In America we have Unions that are using their power by protecting teachers that should not have jobs. I believe in protecting job roles and responsibilities, but making sure everyone has tenure when they do not deserve it is dangerous and irresponsible.
The important education-related issues we should all be aware of in this election include; No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, charters and school choice, teacher evaluation, funding for schools, the achievement gap, and preparing young people for college and careers.
The two parties are surprisingly close on their assessment of what needs to be done. They agree that a change is necessary for Americans to compete on a global level, but the approach to achieving the goal of providing a valuable and empowering education varies dramatically.
The Democrats seek to use the foundations that are currently in place. They wish to add more money to the system. This would allow for more educators in the classroom and more control from the Federal Government. My issue with this is that we have tried throwing money at the problem. We can’t keep good teachers in the classroom because the government has sucked up every bit of their creativity and forced them to teach to tests if they wish to keep their jobs. I left teaching because of the demands to teach to a test. I hated that I was teaching rote memorization instead of real life skills. I also hated that most of my time was spent documenting everything instead of coming up with amazing and inspiring lessons.
I admit my classes excelled despite the “system's” increasing limitations on my ability to teach. I was lucky since I had just come out of an innovative educational institution that believed in reaching and teaching the children by focusing on their skills. But many teachers I met in the schools I worked in were neither innovative nor inspiring. They were in fact tenured and able to do the minimum. The school system needs to be run like a business. You wouldn’t have employees that were not successful leading a division, and they shouldn’t be in charge of educating our future.
On the other hand, the Republican Party offers an entirely new way of forcing schools to reform to effective ways of educating students. They are offering a voucher program. You can bet that if money follows students, each school will run effectively because they will want to obtain the most money through student enrollment.
We spend more on education than practically any other nation in the world, and yet our return on investment is poor. You can see it in our low math and science scores. You can see it in the number of students that do not go on to higher education. You can see it in the number of students that do not go on to higher education. 25% percent of Americans are currently not graduating from high school after four years of entering. That means we have 25% of our children without a high school education, and how many of those 75% do go on to college? We are becoming a nation of under educated. The option to not go to college or a technical school is not optional any longer, it is a necessity if we wish to not only compete, but win in the race to create new products, services, and processes.
The best thing about this plan is it allows students the ability to attend schools outside their districts. Our family is personally thinking about moving based on the ranking of the schools in our area. We currently pay to educate our children in a private school because of what the public schools in our area fail to offer. Even though the current system and the Democratic Party support vouchers for schools in the students’ district, that still means the students living in the “rich” areas receive a better education then those who do not live in those districts. The opportunity that Romney offers would allow for disadvantaged and disabled kids to enroll in public schools outside their own districts.
We can talk all day about the cost of higher education, the truth is not enough of our children are getting there. We also have to focus some responsibility back on the parents in our society. The government and the teachers are not solely responsible for your child’s education. The students also need to take some responsibility.
Are you someone who believes in our current school system or do you want a drastic change?