What You Thought You Needed
One of the new topics that many Americans have been concerned with lately is the new education reform. With President Obama’s “Race to the Top” act being put in place, people have become hesitant to act accordingly to the new guidelines. The new reform states that we must stop dumbing down academic standards and assessments, close the data gap, boost the quality of teachers and principals, and turn around lower performing schools (Duncan 1). This means that we need to completely revamp the way we are going about teaching and educating our students.
As a student that has recently graduated from a top fifty high school in the nation, I have experienced the best and worst of public education. There are many things that I would like to see change but then again there were many things that I saw that I feel should remain the same. As far as the teachers and their performance, we shouldn’t focus on how well they can teach to the test but how well they can teach the actual subject. We need to focus on the student’s actual ability to retain the subject’s knowledge; not what is going to be on the standardized test that is administered at the end of the year. This can be done by not concentrating so much on what is going to be on the test but what really matters in the subject. For example, don’t teach how to write on demand but teach how to write correctly and engage the students in class.
Another main concern of mine is that students shouldn’t be put in class according to age but to their ability. With things like they are now, students are grouped according to their age which makes the standards lower due to the broad range of intelligence. What we could do is not have the students grouped by age but on how well they perform in each subject. Maybe one person is better in math than English so there for they would be in a higher level math class with some older students. There would have to be some standards as to how low the range would go according to age; but in the long run, it would help students who plan on going to college perhaps choose their major a lot easier.
Maybe we need to step back and look at how we are going about teaching our students. The way students look at school has been changed from a place to learn to a social event. This could be one of the main causes as to why schools grades/ scores are going down. Students don’t care about school anymore; they only see it as a place to hang out with their friends for seven hours of the day. What it is we can do to change this can amount from a lot of things, such as having the students tell faculty what they want to learn about and somehow relating that to the curriculum. If we want to see test grades rise and attendance go back up, then we need to have the kids wanting to come to school. This brings up another big topic which is standardized test. Do we rely too heavily on standardized test scores to show how well our students are doing in school? A part of me thinks that they are good in some ways such as determining scholarships and things of that nature but they cannot determine a student’s full actual knowledge. There is no way possible in doing this without going back and looking at the student’s grades and in class test scores and assessing how well they did in class compared to other students.
In conclusion, our whole view on education is somewhat twisted and out of whack. We need to take a look at the way we approach teaching and educating our students and ask ourselves, “What can be done to make the students want to come to school and learn?” It can’t be just one or two things we do to change, but quite possibly reform the whole way we educate and teach.