Education has changed drastically over the last 15 years. After the No Child Left Behind was put into effect by President George Bush the standards for schooling have been changed. The No Child Left Behind was a law that was made to make sure schools were meeting the guidelines of “proficiency”. Once this law was made many schools started to fall behind because they could not reach this so-called goal. Now lets look at it why this No Child Left Behind hasn’t been able to actually raise the standards of American Schooling. Although NCLB was put into effect to change American Schooling it actually has brought down many schools and children.
No Child Left Behind was a great promise to our public school system. It stated that all children, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender, creed, color, or disability will have equal access to an education. Except one problem was how could NCLB really promise these things, when American schooling has not been able to make these changes in 10 years. According to “Many Children Left Behind” written by Deborah Meier, an educational reformer who writes about the issues of education, “NCLB had the right to do the right thing for our children by increasing funding for school that serve the poor; ensuring that every child would be taught by high qualified teachers; and holding schools that take federal funds accountable for raising achievement of every student by disaggregating their achievement data“ (Meier).With these rights that NCLB they thought they could make the standards of schooling go up but little did they know it was only going to go down. This funding was going to certain schools ahead of others, and also it was going to bring the economy down with it. NCLB was a law put into place to make education better, but the more and more it tries to bring up the standards of schooling the more schools fall behind.
Another main guideline of the NCLB was that it was to make schools meet the guidelines of being proficient. NCLB just didn’t exactly define proficiency as a whole, they left up to the states to define these guidelines. NCLB stated that if a school couldn’t reach their proficiency mark then they would have so long to bring up the grades or else that school would be shut down, or even taken over by the government to fix this problem. This was only a short fuse that would anger many schools, because you can’t just expect a school to bring up its standards in a few years when the students aren’t really going to try on these tests. My middle school made us take these tests and really nobody took this test seriously. Nobody cared if they pass this test because it didn’t affect their grade it only affects the teachers. So basically the schools were left with two decisions; give the students the answers so that they could pass the test, or they would just have to fail and not meet the proficiency guidelines and get in trouble for that by the state. In a recent news article published on March 30th, 2011 in the USA Today Education website, it talked about how a D.C. public school system was accused of tampering with the standardized tests. The answer sheets were said to be locked up in a safe room but now that it is being questioned. It talked about how the investigation on this school will continue to see if the school is guilty of cheating on the standardized tests. Here is a link to this story from USA Today. So to protect the schools most teachers would find ways to give the answers on this test without anyone finding out just so they could protect their jobs.
Mark Kaetsu writes an article No Child Left Behind which he writes, “Results have been disheartening; in California, a mere 30% have reached “reading proficiency”” (Kaetsu). Neill Monty who is an educational expert who writes for the National Journal about education, wrote about how schools matter and he brought up the study done by the National Center for Education Statistics: “The average 8-grade reading score remains below the level of achievement shown in 2002” (Monty). Also in this same study it pointed out that the African-American race is only making a gain of 1.5-2 points per year range. With this increases per year, the average African-American will not quite reach proficient in 20 years(Monty). Obviously with this slow increase these standard of proficient are out of reach for some students. NCLB seems that is only leaving students behind when it is there to help children not to be left behind. These standards need to be changed to help with these failing schools and students. When a student fails under these tests then the schools fails and is shut down, so why punish the schools that obviously need the most help in this situation. NCLB needs to change its ways a little more and help the students and schools that need it most, they don’t need to praise the schools that are reaching the goals. NCLB was put into place to raise the standards of American Education, but obviously the standards of American Education is only getting lowered over the years. There should not be a specific guideline to become proficient because not all children are the same when it comes to taking tests or learning.
No Child Left Behind was great law to start but as results show it is only leaving children behind that need the most help. Schools are having a hard time reaching these proficiency standards on this test they have to take. Students don’t truly care if their school is a failing school, it doesn’t bother a student to fail a test that doesn’t affect them. So there should be a test that affects the students and teachers as a whole. This way the students would feel the need to take the test seriously and then the results that were found would be accurate to determine what schools were doing the actual teaching of the set curriculum instead of just teaching to the test. So now just think about it, if your child was in a failing school would you want them to shut down that school just based on one test? NCLB was made to help children but all in all is it really helping children? By the results founded it’s not helping the ones that need help the most.
Kaetsu, Mark. “No Child Left Behind.” A Journal of Academic Writing. Hohonu, 2004. Web. 3 April, 2011.
Meier, Deborah. Many Children Left Behind: How the No Child Left Behind Act is Damaging Our Children and Our Schools. Boston: Wilsted & Taylor Publishing Services, 2004. Google Books. Web. 3 April 2011.
Neill, Monty. “NAEP and NCLB.” Schools Matter. Blogger.com, 4 Oct. 2007. Web. 3 April 2011.
By Angela Collier
The following is a true story:
In 2010, advertisements starring famous athletes started airing for a product called: PowerBalance. PowerBalance is claimed by its manufacturers and vendors to “use holographic technology” to “work with your body’s natural energy field”. It is hologram therapy, a subset of energy medicine, which is a form of alternative medicine. Power Balance wristbands cost $29.95 each. Power Balance sold over a million units in the United States alone.
Obviously, Power Balance is complete bullshit. There is no ‘natural energy field’ in your body. The band is made of silicon. There’s no technology in it, how could it possibly affect anything in your body? Especially your balance?!? Who would fall for this?
Millions of scientifically illiterate Americans were taken advantage of by someone who thought words like ‘holographic technology’ and ‘energy field’ would help him peddle his ‘science’ in America. And it worked. And this it the problem.
What is scientific literacy?
In the National Science Education Standards, the content standards define scientific literacy.
Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions. Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately. (National Science Education Standards, page 22, http://www.literacynet.org/science/scientificliteracy.html )
Do you remember your own kindergarten days? Did you go a full day or half day? I went to kindergarten for a full day and I believe it helped me get farther with my education. I can remember sitting in the class and doing activities and making friends that stayed with me all through school. Kindergarten would have to be one of the best memories of my life. All parents want to hear their child say that, right? When I went to school a full day I feel as if it prepared me for the real learning. I was excited to be going where my big brother and sister went. Kindergarten is where I learned to read, write, and make friends. I got to ride the bus home with my brother and sister, which made my self-esteem a lot better. Full day kindergarten should be one of the main issues in education reform. Full day kindergarten should be made a have to in every school system because it would benefit the child.
Full day kindergarten is a good idea because later in life students benefit in the academic world. Based on an article by Dianne Rothenberg who’s from the College of Education Early Childhood and Parenting Collaborative did surveys and experiments in many different schools and she says that students who go a full day of kindergarten exhibited more independent learning, classroom involvement, and productivity in work with peers and effectiveness in their later school years. This is saying is that when a child goes a full day of kindergarten they learn how to become a “student” and the rules of the school, which really only prepares them for the real years of schools.
Full day kindergarten means that the teacher can teach more in-depth to the students and pay more individual attention. Full day kindergarten helps a child develop social skills, which include conflict strategies. (Rothenberg) Being a mother I know every young child needs to learn certain skills that cannot be taught from inside the home. When the child is introduced to kindergarten he/she starts to make friends and learns what sharing is. The magic of kindergarten is that it opens children’s eyes and gives them hands on experience. The facts are I can play with my son as much as possible but when it comes to other children he’s going to act different around them.
Many parents would have the questions of what their child is being taught when they’re at school all day as a kindergartener. According to Patricia Clark in her book Recent Research on All-day Kindergarten, “The curriculum for full day kindergarten is that most of the day is spent in small groups doing teacher directed activities. She also states that teacher say, “they feel less rushed into doing the work with a full day and can get to know each child needs.” (Clark) Knowing that this is a statement from a real teacher makes me feel better about sending my child to a full day kindergarten in a few years. When a teacher wants to be able to teach a young student it makes the whole school system stronger.
There is an experimental study to find if there is truly a difference between full day kindergarten and half day kindergarten, this study was run by Thomas C. Holmes and Barbara M. McConnell. This study took 326 students who went a full day of kindergarten and 311 that went half of a day. They were doing test to see if the overall scores went up in visual recognition, sound recognition, vocabulary, and language expression, math concepts and applications. The results showed that the biggest difference was the scores in the math concepts and applications. Researchers also determined that girls scored higher than boys in full day and half day. Also shown was that boys in full day kindergarten scored much higher in math concepts than boys that were only in a half a day kindergarten. (Thoms C. Homles ,Barbara M. McConnell) You can read this experiment yourself at http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED369540&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED369540 to see the evidence. Full day kindergarten is benefits every child, in different ways.
However, many people still believe that half-day kindergarten is what young child really need. After reading another blog post that is for Half day kindergarten it pointed one of the only reasons you could support half a day. Children need more home time. The post says that you can’t replace your parents and the stuff you learn at home. (Sarahk)
Not many people can argue with the evidence that was just shown. Full day kindergarten would be very beneficial and help your child the most. No parent wants to let their five year old go to school but when their doing school that’s going to benefit them later in life. How can you argue? We all want what’s best for our children, which is the future. Full day kindergarten will get the generation off to a good start.
Clark, Patricia. Recent Research on All-Day Kindergarten. 06 2001. 03 04 2011 <web>.
Rothenberg, Dianne. Full-Day Kindergarten Programs. ERIC Digest. . 05 1995. 03 04 2011 <web>.
Sarahk. HalfDayKindergarten.Org. 02 2011. 11 04 2011 <Web.>.
Thoms C. Homles, Barbara M. McConnell. Full-day Versus Half-day Kindergarten: An Experimental Study.
. 04 1990. 04 04 2011 <web>.
Individually your life is about preference, is it not? However, when it comes to where money goes for education and your preference as an individual is not taken into account. Statistically more money is put into STEM than the humanities such as arts and music each year. Much of this scaling back has to do with the fact that it’s seen as an inefficient career, because it’s very hard to make a great living as an artist or even a musician.
The government has decided to cut back on many of the humanities majors instead fueling the STEM classes because students are more likely to see a higher financial return. While this is true you have to wonder, what are we as people losing as a result?
If we don’t learn about the arts or our history or what separates our culture from another then we have no basis for common knowledge or practical knowledge. However, it now seems like there is much less concern from us as students in the Humanities fields and even if there is the majority of the time the concern does not outweigh the concern for a financially safe future.
It was once said by James Truslow Adams that there are two educations, “One should teach us how to make a living and the how to live.” I think that this holds true we may not want to pursue a career in the humanities fields but education of these things is a necessity and has been for countless years. It is crucial and vital to our understanding of the world. You can’t fathom how a religion of a culture acts without learning about their history and their beliefs. You can’t speak another language without it first being taught to you.
However, I do think one thing is important. You can create art whether it be a painting, a drawing, or something musical without someone to teach you. This is where we truly find out the humans ability to be creative. With or without the knowledge of music or other types of art you can create art, but someone who is trained will most of the time be much more refined and detail oriented than someone who has not. Many times it seems as if someone who is not trained learns to be more spacial and inventive. Not saying that I prefer people who are less trained because that is not the case but I must admit they come up with ideas that may not have been thought of by somebody who has been shown their whole life what is right and what should be done. I really enjoy when someone with training can resemble the perspective of someone who has no formal background and can really open your eyes with a moment of sheer brilliance that hasn’t been thought of and doesn’t look or sound regurgitated.
In regards to Adams’ statement about two education I believe that in our present economic climate he is quite right, but I don’t think that you can undermine the humanities, something that has existed long before this idea of STEM. Much of our learning in university studies comes from pictures and artwork that interpret history. In many of our textbooks there are visual medias to help illustrate what has happened in the past and to give us an idea of how things were. How can you undermine the importance of humanities when its cohesiveness with STEM is clearly evident. Just take a look around in the field of technology our first telescope may have been primitive but think of the craft that would go into making such a device. Computers don’t build themselves. People with knowledge in math and their technological background apply it to art and construct it. You cannot say that one of these things is more important than the other they should be equally viewed. They can be just as important at different times and for that reason they should both be recognized at any level of education. Just because one can be more profitable and possibly more prolific does not mean we should disregard the other. If we’re concerned about the economy truly, then we should not be trying to do away with humanities education because it provides jobs just as the technological, engineering, and science programs do.
If we don’t embrace the humanities and we push them away then we will be leaving out a crucial part of learning and may leave behind something that is more important than meets the eye. Each should be taught and the individual should decide which is a better fit for them and pursue a career in that field, rather than choosing something they won’t enjoy just because of the financial benefits.
What comes to mind when you hear the term innovation? Do you think of art, philosophy, English, or any humanities at all? Or do you think of science, technology, mathematics, and the competition between countries it produces to be the best? When I hear innovation I tend to think of the sciences and technology. Is this because I was taught in school that the future of our country depends on technology? Would one be wrong to assume that innovation in the humanities is just as relevant to our continued success as a society in the future as it is in the present? I don’t believe so. So why is the link between innovation and science to prevalent in our minds?
Before any of these questions can be answered you may need to think about why they are even being asked. One could debate my statement and say that humanities aren’t helping us as a society today, but would this question of which is more important need be asked if they weren’t even moderately equal of importance to our education? The reason we ask questions is because we can’t find an answer ourselves. If this debate of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) vs. humanities had a clear winner I wouldn’t be considering this as a topic of concern for education reform. The fact that these two types of education concentration are being argued and debated assumes the fact that the topics are equal on some levels, showing that one is clearly not any better than the other.
It is very clear what the government and our current president think about this debate. Obama and the Department of Education have put great emphasis on STEM education. One can only assume that it is to keep with foreign competitors. Although I can see why this would be a desired achievement, I don’t understand why it’s ok to disregard all other education. American education in the past tends to be that of the humanities. We have somewhat of a reputation to teach the liberal arts, so why let it dwindle? The word humanities itself should be enough for you to see its importance. The base of the word is “human”; the humanities are simply the study of human conditions through analytical and critical thought. To deny the humanities is to, in a certain sense; deny that we are human beings. And for what? To prove that we are more intelligent than another country? Denying instincts to prove intelligence? Is being number one really worth neglecting the characteristic that separates us from the animals, or disregarding something our country is well known for doing? I don’t see in any logical way how it could be.
The perception of these topics changed drastically over the years. The images we have of kings and many other important figures in history have come from paintings. Portraits of kings were painted just as pictures are taken today; actors and plays were the entertainment, and literature was highly celebrated. King Louis XIV of France even went as far as paying and protecting certain artists and writers.
Attention was also paid to scientists at this and around this time, however not quite as positively. Galileo Galilee who is considered “The Father of Modern Science” was placed on house arrest for supporting views of a heliocentric universe, which in the Catholic Church’s eyes went against the scripture. How can something that was so celebrated, a mere reflection of true human nature be placed second to a machine, the most inhuman specimen?
Most universities are putting emphasis on STEM education. Almost any program list at a college has more science related degrees available than all other categories combined. Universities tend to be very career centered. Very few, if any, go to college for the sake of education. Most go for “job training”. Many people go to college, get certain degrees and certifications with the intention of entering a specific field, or even specific position. With this situation, and more STEM degrees offered, one could easily put the pieces together and assume that current educational institutions encourage STEM related degrees, possibly for their developmental and/or economical reasons. But once again, does this make the humanities an inferior school of thought? Not by any means.
It is all a mere matter of opinion, there is no right and no wrong, and it is well beyond black and white. Anyone who cares about a well rounded education would agree. We should not allow either ideology to surpass one another. They should be taught together in the right proportions. The idea of using one to aid the other one is also definitely a potential solution. We could utilize our advancements in technology to help teach and even understand the liberal arts. This type of solution would place these two on an even and respectable level. Schools of thought coexisting would be the ideal solution to please everyone. Neither is, nor ever will be “better” or more important than the other. Every idea on the superiority is all solely based on opinions. No matter the amount of tests, studies, or surveys will ever convince everyone, therefore no absolute answer will ever be given. My solution; stop arguing which is more important, and teach them both equally…
When I first started school as a little girl, the only forms of technology that we had in school were computers and televisions. The teachers may have had cell phones, but they were not used during school hours. Also, not every country in the world had the technology that we did. Now days it seems like technology has pretty much taken over the world and most people don’t think they could live without it. Many school systems, especially in the United States, now use many forms of technology such as: laptops, cell phones, iPods, clickers, etc. Using technology such as this in schools can have many wonderful advantages, but it can also have many disadvantages too.
One form of technology that is used around the world today, especially in schools, is laptops. Laptops are a wonderful piece of technology to have. They are small, and easy to carry, so you can take them almost anywhere you go. According to abc news, many schools across the country are replacing textbooks with laptops because the internet is easier to use and the information on the internet is constantly updated. But are they really a good tool for kids to use during school hours? Teachers want students to be able to use them in the classroom so that they can look up information for solving problems or writing a paper. But the students may want to use them for other things, like getting on facebook or Twitter and talking to friends when the teacher is not looking. So, laptops may be wonderful things to have when a person is on-the-go, but they are not really appropriate for students to use during school.
Another form of technology that is being used in many schools today is cell phones. Cell phones, just like laptops, are wonderful things to have and they can be very helpful in many situations. For example, if someone is in a car accident, if they have service, they can use their cell phone to call home and/or call emergency services. But schools now days are trying to make it to where students can use their cell phones during class so they can text questions to the teacher if they don’t want to ask the question in front of the whole class. The problem with this is that, instead of texting the teacher questions, the students could be texting other students and not pay attention to what the teacher is saying. So, even though cell phones could be a good way to try to save students from embarrassment, students may not use the given opportunity for what it is supposed to be used for.
Another way that schools across the country are allowing students to use technology during school is by using iPods. According to the New York Times, iPods can be used for more than just listening to music. They can also be used, for example, to teach students that are trying to learn the English language. But it also says that some students have been caught using them to try to cheat on tests by loading the answers to the test onto their iPod. Also, if the iPod is the one teaching the students, then why is the teacher there? So, just like every other form of technology in school, iPods may be intended for good, but the students can use them for bad.
A new form of technology that is being used in many colleges around the country, such as Morehead, is something called clickers, or “student response systems.” Student response systems are systems in which, when the teacher puts a question on the board, the student answers the question by pushing a button on their “clicker” or keypad. When the student pushes the button, their answer is then submitted into the computer. These systems are very good because the students can enter their answers anonymously. The problem with these systems, though, is that they are very expensive. So, with the clickers, the problem is not that the students will cheat, it is that they are very expensive so they can cost the university a lot of money.
So, as you can see, there are many wonderful benefits to having certain technology in schools. But that does not mean that the students are going to take advantage of these benefits. I’m not trying to say that all students are bad, but it is almost guaranteed that some of them will use opportunities such as these to do things like cheat on a test or help a friend cheat on a test. Also, technology is changing rapidly everyday. So now the question becomes whether or not the states can afford to keep providing schools with new technology all the time considering how expensive it is now days.
The American school system has many problems. Schools are underfunded to the point where paper usage is regulated to extremes. The large number of teachers needed for every school requires the hiring of subpar teachers to be able to get classes to the largest manageable size. Some children are abused at home which, according to the governor of Georgia’s fact sheet on child abuse, makes them twenty-five times as likely to repeat a grade. Rural schools have less access to technology than urban ones. These problems could be fixed with a radical shift in public schools. Replace these schools with public boarding schools.
How I envision this idea of boarding schools is that not every county gets a boarding school. Each school should support a multiple county area ideally including a city. This cuts down on several things. There are fewer separate districts since there is only one school covering what would have been multiple school districts. This is less money to be spent on multiple administrators for smaller areas where there may be only two schools. By combining these school districts the money that each district received can be pooled together for one or two boarding schools rather than separated between twenty. There would be fewer teachers but the cutback here is not as drastic as one would think. This allows schools to have higher standards when hiring teachers and school administrators as well.
By having two or so large boarding schools sharing a much larger amount of funding it would allow each school able to provide more classes and subjects than smaller schools in rural areas were able to provide. This creates a more equal learning environment for students giving more students a better chance in their education. By basing these schools in mainly urban counties would allow schools easier and cheaper access to current technology. According to Anne Duncan at the National Rural Education summit one third of students in the United States are in rural areas and half of our schools are rural. With such a large number of students whose school districts that can’t offer a diverse and varied education may miss their true passion or calling in life or may struggle with technology later in their careers.
Children who are abused have been found to struggle in school. By having children go to boarding schools it helps solve the problem with child abuse by getting them out of bad situations at home and into a safer environment. Some students who live in poverty are not able to have regular meals at home due to financial issues. A study from the national KIDS COUNT Program found that depending by state 12% to 24% of students’ families have trouble affording food. Studies have shown that students that are not well nourished do not perform as well at school compared to those that are. By attending boarding school they would be able to have three meals a day. According to tabs.org, boarding school students are more independent and 78% of boarding school graduates say they were prepared for college life as compared to 23% of normal public school students. The transfer to college and needing to be independent is what causes many students to drop out of college. If the trend is correct then if we institute the public boarding school plan then college retention rates would drastically improve.
One problem with this idea is that these boarding schools would have to be built as every school cannot serve every student. This would cost a huge amount of money. The answer to this is actually quite simple. When we only need one or two schools total then what do we do with the other eighteen to thirty schools? The land could be sold for a large amount of money to help expand the future campus and help pay for it. Another criticism of this idea is from parents who do not want their child to go away at such a young age. The answer to this is mostly based around the fact that while it is a boarding school the students are not too far away from their parents. Parents would only be about thirty minutes to an hour at most away from their children. Busses would be able to send children home to their parents on weekends and parents would be allowed to visit.
I believe that public boarding schools are an answer to several problems in today’s education system. The idea isn’t perfect but I think it is a step in the right direction for our education system.