Since the 17th century, American public schools have provided its children with a wonderful opportunity of receiving a free education that ensures a general understanding of various subjects such as mathematics and literature giving generation after generation the foundation of knowledge. Public schools have made several positive leaps since its begging from teaching only males students to teaching all genders, as well as becoming desegregated in 1969. Public schools provide a peace of mind for parents who desire the best for their children because they provide state certified teachers, free transportation, extra-curricular and after school programs, and are accountable to the state (web). Most notably, public high schools prepare students for life after school and provides a foundation for further education; however, behind all the wonderful aspects of public schools there are certain disadvantages that can hinder the academic progress of a student.
Parents as well as students should be aware of these disadvantages that include: underfunded schools may not have certain materials or may have to cut some programs and too much emphasis on standardized test that creates a lot of stress on students and hinders their learning environment. Considering such disadvantages, parents and students may wonder “how can we solve this dilemma?” Nationalizing public school funding and giving less class and standardized test in order to allow students to focus on learning the curriculum are both steps and proposals that have the potential to settle the troublesome disadvantages of public schools. Different schools in different regions and states receive a wide range of funding which creates a conflict where some schools are underfunded while other are prosperous.
The schools that are underfunded may not acquire certain materials that are essential for the course which hurt the process of learning for many students. Some schools are so underfunded that they result to eliminating certain courses or programs. Nearly half of the funding for public schools in the United States are provided though local taxes, generating large differences in funding between wealthy and impoverished communities. There have been efforts make public school funding more equitable yet have only provoked controversy. Some people, such as Eric Hanushek, argue that although different schools receive different amount of funding, the amount of money spent is not “systematically related to student achievement,” therefore the wide range of public school funding is not an issue. On the other hand, people such as reviewers Rob Greenwald, Larry Hedges, and Richard Laine believer that “school resources are systematically related to student achievement,” and therefore school funding is educationally important.
Although public schools in the Unites States are funded from federal, state and local sources, the funds from local property taxes generates large funding differences. A logical proposal to solve this problem would to nationalize public school funding therefore every public school depending on its level ( elementary, middle/junior, high, academy, etc.) would receive the same amount of funding which would eliminate the differences of funding for different regions. Some parents may argue that their local property taxes are higher than others and so it should go towards the funding for their child’s public school funding; however, if school funding is nationalized and standardized then each school regardless the location would receive enough funding to secure an adequate education for all children. Also, funds from local property taxes could be used to better individual communities such as building parks or community buildings as well as providing better roads instead of funding public schools.
Federal taxes may rise due to nationalizing public school funding however it is for a good cause which is providing all students of America with an equal opportunity to a great education; however this proposal will be difficult to enact because it requires to federal approval and may take time to become a law. Many petitions will have to be made along with thousands of signatures so there would be a lot of support required to enact nationalizing public school funding yet if accomplished it would set a strong foundation for knowledge throughout the nation. With the creation of the No Child Left Behind act endorsed by president Bush, there has been a increasing emphasis on standardized testing for public schools that has ultimately hindered the learning environment by narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, and reducing the love of learning which helps drive students out of school specifically high school students.
In several classes, the curriculum is taught based on the maximum potential for students to pass standardized test. This has created a sort of teach to pass instead of teach to learn class routine amongst several teachers. Consequently, several students miss out on valuable information due to the narrowed curriculum by eliminating lessons not needed to pass a certain standardized test. The pressure put of students nowadays ,especially in high schools, can be extremely overwhelming and be a driving factor for several dropouts. Of course students do not decided to dropout of school solely on the large emphasis on standardized testing yet it is difficult to argue that it does not put a lot of stress on students who are already struggling to pass. The alarming emphasis on high-stakes standardized testing has become apparent to students,parents, as well as legislation and so there have been events that occurred with the purpose to lessen the emphasis of testing.
For example, the Senate Education Committee passed a bill that “eliminated the use of scores on standardized …test,” that would determine if tens of thousands of schools were to be considered failing or not. Although this is a remarkable step to lessening the power set by standardized test scores it does not solve the problem of the collateral damage in public schools caused by too much testing. Indeed, tests are important to determine if a student is learning and not simply sitting in class daydreaming of irrelevant things; furthermore, students should worry about test and strive to make good grades on them. The problem with testing is not its existence but its intensity and worthiness. In the average class, test scores are worth much more compared to class work and homework. This places a huge stress on students to past test therefore they focus only on test scores instead of learning the material and applying what they have learned to real life situations.
Standardized test are important in determining the progress of individual students and schools and therefore should not be eliminated however states should set a minimum of high-stake standardized test. For example there should be a maximum of one end of instruction test for important subjects and extra test that are not directly relevant to the curriculum such as benchmark tests should be eliminated. The specifics of such a policy should be left to be determined by the states due to the difficulty to enforce it as a federal policy. To make a state law that put a minimum on standardized test would require some time, petitions, and convincing for certain people but the final accomplishment would bring less stress to students and promote a better learning environment. State school boards should also divide the percentage of value of homework, classwork, participation grades, as well as class test equally.
This would allow student to focus on the important of turning in homework, participating in class, and test equally as opposed to stressing when a test is coming for it could considerably harm their grade in the class. Lessening the emphasis of test both standardized and class test would allow students to focus on the material being taught as well as allow teachers to improve the curriculum to provide the best possible educational for their students. Students can greatly benefit from the previous feasible proposals if they were to be enforced. By passing a federal law that endorses a nationalized federal funding of public schools as opposed to leaving half of public school funding to local property taxes, all American public schools would receive an equal amount of funding to use for the arts, after school programs, academic technology, or school renovations that all promote a heather and more engaging learning environment for all students.
Although the process to get a bill that would enforce a fully federal funding of all public school passed by congress would take time and a lot of effort, it would provide equality for all public schools regardless of reputation or location giving students an equal opportunity. Placing a minimum on the amount of standardized test required by public schools within each state as well as making the value of class tests towards a students overall grade equal to homework and classwork would lessen the stress brought on my too much emphasis on testing which would allow students to focus on their eduction instead of simply passing the test.
Such a policy would require several petitions and time to figure out what tests are more essential and which test could be eliminated; however, it would greatly reduce the stress of school making it more pleasing and allow teachers to provide the best possible education to their students. These policies can help improve the American public school system by allowing each student to take advantage of a learning based eduction that provides the knowledge needed to succeed and make a positive impact on our ever changing world.
Courtney from Study Moose
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