The American public education system was founded on the radical notion that all members of society should have equal access to education. Also crucial was the notion that a basic common education was essential for a true democracy. This revolutionary system is now in indisputable trouble. Many worry about America’s ability to compete with foreign countries while others address the growing dichotomy between the quality of education in different economic areas. Recent rural shootings have only exasperated the problem, and caused many parents to entirely abandon the public system for a private alternative.
A flurry of solutions has been suggested, ranging from school uniforms to government grants. Unfortunately, many of these solutions are merely superficial. Uniforms, Internet access, and new buildings will do little to help overcrowded classrooms, overworked teachers, and disinterested students. The most obvious answer seems to lie in government grants to remedy buildings and supplies and standardized testing to confirm the quality of every education.
However, the problems inherent in the American school system are too complex to be solved purely by money. Without interested parties watching the consumption of money, resources are consumed unwisely. A new arm of the executive branch should not be formed to act as a school watchdog, at the least it seems this would unnecessarily complicate things. Instead, the solution lies in the activity of parents in the school carefully observing the condition of the building, classrooms, and teachers. Parents should be directly involved in the school and should provide the initial stimulus.Only afterwards should the govern...
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...portance of a quality education. However, according to the democratic principle, their children should be able to receive the same small classes, up to date textbooks and motivated teachers as offered by private schools.
Change will not be easy to enact, and I believe it must begin at the national level. I know the suggestions of governmental discouragement of private grammar and secondary schools seem radical, but it is only the beginning of one solution. The American public education system was founded to give every citizen of America the beginnings of an education, and to enable them to make the choices necessary to support a democratic government. Today we are faced with a system of radical differences in the quality of education, and this dichotomy can only be overcome by raising the level of interest and personal responsibility in the public school system.
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