Public (that is to say government provided) education in the US is a failure. Parents, administrators, teachers, and government are all at fault. The system is much more than just broken. It is fundamentally flawed.
Parents assumed the schools would take care of their kids and relinquished the responsibility for child rearing to the schools. Administrators consolidated schools into larger and less effective bureaucracies with burgeoning administrative costs instead of economies of scale. Colleges graduated teachers who became administrators believing that the purpose of K-12 education was college enrollment. Teachers and their unions sought benefit and wage hikes forgetting the children. Local governments, state governments and the federal government took over the entire system and inevitably the government entities perpetuated system growth, cost, and failure.
The fact that everyone’s at fault doesn’t improve the grade and doesn’t make solutions any easier. In fact it makes solutions more difficult because there are more people blind to the failure and happy to nip around the edges looking in vain for easy solutions.
The people within the system, were raised by the system, guided the system, are committed to the system, and are vested in the status quo. Most frequently more money is thrown at the system in the hopeless search for that new program that will magically solve everything. Higher taxes and bond measures are not the answer.
Resistance to real solutions promoting competition for education dollars with school choice through vouchers, private, and charter schools is intense. School choice is the answer but considering the current environment favoring reliance on government over the free market, it is difficult to see much hope for reform.
American Education: 35 Years of Mediocrity Since A Nation at Risk
Our school systems fail to prepare children to succeed as adults and are ineffective for the goal of deep and rich learning. It’s time to change that.
From National Review: By JEANNE ALLEN, April 11, 2018
It’s been 35 years. With the passage of that much time, and the human promise that it carried, the problems and deficiencies identified in 1983’s clarion call for action should have been corrected.
The call came from the National Commission on Excellence in Education (NCEE) in its report A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform. That report and its findings demonstrated the inextricable link between education and America’s economic competitiveness and national security. We were losing our edge, and our shirt, to other countries. In a growing global economy we were losing to such friends as Japan and Germany; and in the midst of the lingering Cold War we were losing as well to our fiercest competitors, namely Russia and China, which had made education, particularly in math and the sciences, national priorities.
At home, it was a different story. There was no special focus on education. We thought our schools were great. But the NCEE, a broad, bipartisan commission, had contracted with researchers, held hundreds of meetings and dozens of hearings, and assembled data about the progress of other countries relative to the U.S. And the data revealed otherwise.
There was “a rising tide of mediocrity,” A Nation at Risk told us, with educational content that “was a mile wide and an inch deep.” The report revealed, in the words of Ronald Reagan, an education system plagued by “low standards, lack of purpose, ineffective use of resources, and a failure to challenge students to push performance to the boundaries of individual ability.”
The report sparked a national outcry. President Reagan made more than 50 trips around the country to get Americans’ attention. Never had a president devoted so much time, energy, and political capital to education — which, it has become clear, is an issue on which all else rests.
Since then the nation has devoted a great deal of attention to getting education right. To little avail.
The time to change that is now. The results of the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) give us ample reason to refocus our attention and redouble efforts to make education work for all learners at all levels. NAEP, also known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” is the gold standard of assessments. It measures students on all the core subjects — not in comparison with other students, like many tests, but in comparison with what students should know and be able to do.
The most recent scores on reading, math, and writing, released this month, are dismal. Fewer than half of students are rated “proficient” in each of these subjects. The only significant change since 2015 is a one-point increase in eighth-grade reading. Otherwise we look a lot like we did in 2011.