What Do You Think About Education Reform?
What do you think about education reform? Those who believe in reforming the education system should do so from a community perspective. We should work with the community to design education programs that meet the needs of all students and families. It is essential to emphasize the value of a quality education, both for now and for later. Moreover, education must provide students with a variety of options for postsecondary education. It must also be affordable, because not all students can afford to go to college.
While most families would like their children to attend a top-notch school, the reality is that many people cannot afford it, so they will send their children to the nearest school. If they can afford a better school, they will. However, for those who cannot afford the tuition and transportation costs, a better school is close by. The best way to remedy this is to design a system of choice that provides equal access to a range of schools.
While unions are an important component of the education system, they should not have disproportionate influence over school choice. This conventional wisdom is based on anecdotal evidence from a few countries, and is simply not true. The power of teacher unions in public education is disproportionate. Unions need to be given a voice and be allowed to negotiate salary and conditions. But how can they do that?
Historically, the term “education reform” has been used to describe changes in educational systems. While it was initially used as a collective term, it has become a loaded term in the U.S. over the last few decades. Reformers in this country have often favored governmental and professional mechanisms over the interests of the students. And many of them have been not above demeaning those who disagree with their agenda.
High-performing education systems focus on equity and are committed to ensuring that every student achieves his or her full potential. Their goals are to lift everyone out of poverty, improve equality, and develop a multi-cultural society. They also want to foster a thriving economy with increasing numbers of good jobs. And they have a long-term vision for education that goes beyond today’s short-term goals. If we’re truly committed to education and the power of our nation to transform society, we must start by embracing this long-term vision.
While many educators believe that the value-added model of schooling is beneficial to students, the reality is that many teachers are dissatisfied. Value-added models do not capture complex factors that affect teaching and learning. So, in addition to creating a more balanced education system, we need to recognize that standardized schooling places millions of students at a disadvantage. If you’re not a teacher, how can you be effective in the classroom?
The most widely used report on education reform is A Nation at Risk by Mortimer Adler in 1982. It stated that the schools in the United States had fallen prey to a tide of mediocrity. It urged reforms to broaden the curriculum, lengthen the school day, pay teachers according to performance, and increase homework for students. The report has many recommendations and has sparked debate in the education system.