Yesterday I had to finish an assignment summarizing current education policy in the United States. Here was my final summary and analysis that I’d like to share…
Summary & Assessment:
1) synthesize and analyze –how would you characterize the trends in education policy
from 2001 (passage of NCLB) to today (incoming Trump Administration)?
a. The NCLB gave the federal government more control through funding by requiring schools to be accountable through standards, testing, accommodations, as measured by their AYP. If schools didn’t meet AYP or the standards written through their flexibility, then the government would provide interventions, requiring the schools to offer tutoring and supplemental services.
b. Obama brought the Race to the Top, which gave schools points based on turnaround, reform and innovation. Schools with the most points would earn additional federal grant money.
c. Race to the Top brought on standards, leading to the controversial Common Core Standards Initiative. The standards led to more high-stakes testing than already existed. States were encouraged to adopt the standards to “raise the bar” for the students in their state. Standards of any kind are always controversial due to being too regulatory or not including enough.
d. In the last moment, Obama signed in ESSA, to be enacted into play in schools in the 2017-2018 school year. The plan mostly aligns with the Trump administration’s proposals, however, the law could be adjusted or modified before coming to a school near you.
e. Currently, Trump and recently confirmed DeVos’s plans are to reduce federal regulation by doing funding through a block grant on a “supplement-not-supplant” system. Additional funding would come from a $20 billion voucher program, in which parents would have choice for their students to attend a school that they feel is more appropriate to meet their child’s needs.
2) respond and react –what is your opinion of current education policy?
a. The current education policy under NCLB gives the federal government so much control that students are failing, laws are not being enforced, and our schools are falling behind other countries (http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/21/opinions/america-invest- again-in- education-
levy/index.html). The amount of money currently allotted to public schools is not enough to educate students properly, especially not to the level that is required by law. Failing schools are not receiving as much help as is necessary to fully reform. Many schools, according to the third PBS Story of American Education, are overcrowded and underfunded, lacking the proper resources to provide highly-qualified teachers and adequate supplies for teaching. The upcoming ESSA and Trump administration policy, as others previously referenced said, has potential.
3) predict and prognosticate: What recommendations do you have for the new president in terms of education policy?
a. The upcoming policies proposed have potential in that we are trying something different than what we are doing now. Obviously proven through much research, what we are currently doing is not working to the capacity we had hoped, so change alone is better than nothing. Providing states and local governments with more control may provide us with a long-term solution that all states could adopt at a later date, although it is just as probable that states may be better off locally regulated, using the money in a way that best meets the needs of the citizens of that state. Vouchers and privatizing schools is very controversial. I like the idea of providing students with options to go to the schools that may best serve them, however, the issue arises when we have to decide what happens to funding for public schools for the “average” child. Trump and DeVos speak highly of parents pushing students to schools of their
choice, but many parents are not present, do not have time, or do not have the money to send their child to an alternative school, even with funding. A better solution in the long term would be to provide various types of schools across the state, so that an actually equitable school could be available to all children, including resources, teachers, and specialized programs. This solution may not be plausible, but I would hope that vouchers could be an option AND that
public schools could receive proportionate funding to reach a certain standard of professional development, resources, and evidence-based curriculum that could bring a quality education to every student, no matter where they live across the nation. Realistically, schools that were insufficient would be closed and private schools would be opened for all so that schools could be proportionately crowded and funded for basic needs and highly-qualified
teachers and administrators.
Thanks for reading the blog today! :)
I'm a teacher, I have a baton twirling team, and I'm chasing the good life.
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