For the past two decade, the American educational system has been scrutinized and dissected in every which way. Whether it is from politicians, educational experts, or even teachers themselves, the painstaking research and trial-by-error policies for the new educational standards have continued to impact our youth’s education in both positive and negative ways. One thing we need to internalize is that every effort made by the stated above is simply meant to find a possible solution in bridging the educational gap within our nation. With the enormity of this task, I cannot help but analyze the entire process holistically and break down the overall positives and negatives that this new system is having on our nation.
Let’s start off with the positives. Since the enactment of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by United States President Lyndon Johnson and his ‘War on Poverty,’ education reform became national headlines. The act itself was an extensive statue that funded primary and secondary education. It also emphasized equal access to education, educational accountability, and education teaching standards. In addition, the bill itself aimed to shorten the achievement gap between students by providing each child with a fair and equal opportunity for an exceptional education. While for years this act became standard within the education sector, it still overlooked the educational inequity that was prevalent all across the nation, especially within under-privileged and under-represented areas. From there on, the rest was history. Bills such as George Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act or Obama’s Every Student Succeeds Act have become necessary game changers in shaping and influencing education today. Though they have their flaws, they do highlight the problems with failing schools and teacher accountability.
So what went wrong with our education system to be in such disarray? How has the gap existed if all of these policies and financial funding continue to fuel into various schools year after year?
The simple reason, as I have pointed out, is that this is an enormous task to handle. When it comes to education, the entity itself is a living and breathing thing. It has various components within it and is constantly adapting and altering each and every year. Because of this, teachers, the main soldiers within the fight for educational equity, are faced with the massive responsibility to acclimate their style of teaching for the betterment of the school’s goal. This at times overlooks the individual student where educators are forced to teach ‘for the test’ than to teach ‘for education.’ In addition, the pressured standards and high expectations have forced the education sector to change dramatically where what teaching was ten years ago is completely different from what teaching is today. These inevitable changes have of course pushed many teachers to the brink where they eventually leave the field for good. That negative chain of events not only loses a teacher, but also loses the consistency within a school’s culture and a student’s learning.
While these negative ramifications have been growing, we also need to be realistic about the field. Education, especially when teaching, is not an easy task. It is hard work that does not get the amount of recognition that it deserves. For us to truly make an impact on the education sector and finally bridge the gap and give each child an excellent set of education, we must look in developing and cultivating our teachers morally and financially. Only then will we finally see the change that we want within our children’s lives.