How Confusing did our Education System Get?

Confusing Directions Stock Illustrations – 113 Confusing Directions Stock  Illustrations, Vectors & Clipart - Dreamstime

Response to “How did Schools get to the Current State of Confusion or Dysfunction” #schools #education #community #inclusion

Response to Jean Norris a leader in education question:

Education has sequenced through history with the challenge of solving a nations of ills. We have come a long way from the reading writing and arithmetic provisions in our schools. The transparent vision is easy to see how this has happened:

(agriculture to industrial, great depression, World War II, Post World War II, Sputnik, Vietnam, Civil Rights, technology, economy, national and world competition, justice, equality) and there are more.

Our forefathers of the Constitution were aware of the importance of education and were careful to outline how that accountability and responsibility would work. Their approach was a honest attempt to keep any influence out of the federal government. Life then was a much simpler world when it came to education. Today our school Superintendents and College Presidents are easily in comparison to CEO’s. Their role has expanded with far more than reading, writing and arithmetic. Communities, businesses, governments (local, state and national) and citizens now all have a stake in the education arena. What is the reason for such interest in education in any country?

1. Literacy = Prosperity

2. Knowledge = Problem Solving

3. Professional = Specialize

4. Career = dedicated skills / business

5. Spirituality = Faith-based growth

6. Civic Responsibility = For the better of the all

7. Law and Order = Protection

8. Human Growth & Development = Health, Mental Exercise, Physical Exercise

9. Personal Growth = Self Satisfaction for reaching a goal

By reviewing all of the potential benefits of education we see the American freedom custom showing its face for all Americans individually. The choices of education have been until recently somewhat governed by families, individuals and business. Anyone could look at the outcomes of schools and match their interest with the schools known success. The forefathers simplicity of education offering would work with this freedom idea but in today’s world this could be questionable. Americans had a choice to attend a state school or college that would be paid for by tax dollars or subsidized by state legislatures. Private schools could still proceeded with a funding base for schools on tuition based support. Federal government didn’t engage into determining the education system derived in each state. The responsibility of the accountability of meeting educational needs was a State responsibility.

My carer has been part of non-profit, profit, k-12, higher education and career education. This experience has provided me with a clear view of what started the confusion. After fifty plus years working in education I have had the pleasure of being an educator and viewing the time-line of education history.

When the federal government felt the need to become more engaged involved with accreditation, funding, rules, laws, outcomes, and the philosophy of what education would be regulated brought to the forefront of politicians. The State system was not perfect but it allowed for better strategic plans for individual communities and schools. The start of confusion began with Presidents Carters institution of the Department of Education. The mission for President Carter with the U.S. Department of Education was:

President Carter

The department’s mission is to encourage educational excellence by ensuring equality for everyone in terms of accessing education. The department also helps to provide proper education for vulnerable members of the public including the homeless and runaway youths within the U.S. The department celebrates its 42nd  birthday this year and it has helped to shape modern America. It doesn’t seem apt to change dramatically any time soon, so we may be celebrating its centenary eventually. 

This reformation was opposed by many within the Republican Party who viewed the department as unconstitutional. The Republicans argued that the Constitution doesn’t mention education and deemed the department unnecessary; with some even saying it should be illegal. However, the department remained operational and gradually grew in stature and influence over the next 30 years, and as of 2016, its annual budget is around $73 Billion.

Even with some opposition the institution was created. As a young educator at the time the philosophy sounded admirable. As time has gone on like anything in the Federal government it was an institution with good intentions that has grown to be a juggernaut for schools, colleges, and states doing what they were prescribed to do.

Over the years we have seen many different types of finger pointing as to why we have not kept up to the derived original path of education in America. To some degree they are all probably right. The education process to be academically free must not be constrained by political appointed oversight. Each educational organization has had to become a constituent to a political scheme for better funding for schools and students. From here you see funding budgets and the division of who and what received the funding. Making funding competitive provides for the opportunity for the big school organizations to discredit the smaller schools and to allow them to increase their promotions. Politics has no place in the education structures of schools or colleges accept for the (The department’s mission is to encourage educational excellence by ensuring equality for everyone in terms of accessing education. The department also helps to provide proper education for vulnerable members of the public including the homeless and runaway youths within the U.S. ) Anyone who is truly interested in wanting to know where the dysfunction and confusion comes from you would need to follow the money. The political motivated funds are big from the federal entities., (research grants that politicians gain insight to information for investments, recognizing accreditation agencies by political motivated and appointed boards, special interest groups lobbying Senators and Representatives, formally instituting student federal loans governed by congress with benefits in interest paid back to federal government, abusing the rights of citizens to choose the school or college of their choice by big brother abuse, and scapegoating institutions to gain votes) are just a few.

Issues that need attention:

Student tuition loans: Pricing out the opportunity for middle class America to attend college unless with a loan you will pay back for the rest of you life.

State Public School Equity: State to state cost per student expense should be based on an appropriate equity. This would take into account cost of living in each community. The equity funds are for support and not the strings attached for regulations.

Reduce segregation in schools: by freedom of choice. Parents and students should not be restricted by a neighborhood.

Measure outcome growth and not standardized test which have high potential of prejudice

Measure achievement by goals and not grades

Recognize all forms of education institutions for public, private, higher education, career schools, jr. colleges with similar outcome achievement goal expectations.

Looking at the right here and now presents some huge challenges. Education in America has not been a result of overnight changes but political motivation has gradually taken a front row seat as to why we are where we are today. Decisions that are politically motivated tend to be unjust, without equity, punitive, special interest, and financially motivated.

This is why when we vote and listen to our leaders there needs to be a consortium of people who understand the need for freedom of choice and schools. Harboring favoritism does not work for all.

Gary R. Carlson

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