Substantial educational change will never occur until we as a country decide that enough is enough and make a commitment to change, no matter what it takes. When America realizes all children deserve a stellar education regardless of who their parents are, their socioeconomic status or where they happen to live, we will be able to reform our education system. Americans have to stop treating minority students in underperforming urban environments like collateral damage. The disheartening reality is that America has billions of dollars to fight a two-front war, but cannot or will not properly educate its children. If a hostile country attacked the U. S., it would take less than 24 hours for American troops to be mobilized into battle. However, we seem unable to mobilize a sea of educated teachers and administrators to wage war against academic mediocrity, which is a bigger threat to our national security than Iran or North Korea.
Over the last century, many reform movements have come and gone, but in the end, it seems, there have been no substantial changes. Some might even believe the American educational system is now worse off than ever. From Bush’s NCLB to Obama’s Race to the Top, presidents have shown an inability to tackle the real issues of education reform. Reform is primarily used as campaign rhetoric, and when it comes time to take real action, the politicians simply unveil a grandiose plan with all the bells and whistles amounting to a dog and pony show.
America’s schools were originally intended to ensure that all citizens were literate. The founding purpose for American schools has long been obsolete, and Americans must have the courage to realize that in order for us to remain a world power, we must institute change. The risks have never been greater: the future of our country and its children is at stake.
Education reform is possible, but it depends on what the nation is willing to do to achieve its educational goals. Will America develop and pass effective educational legislation aimed at creating viable solutions to the problem at hand? Or will America continue to develop legislation, such as No Child Left Behind, that operates under the fallacy that 100% of our students will be proficient in their core subjects by 2014? The bar for education should be set higher, but there has to be exceptions and differentiated goals in order to effectively accommodate all the differences among teachers, students, administrators, and school cultures.
Tagline- Matthew Lynch is an Assistant professor of Education at Widener University. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.