An education system is a system that facilitates learning and development of knowledge in a formal setting. The level of success in benefiting students in terms of growth in knowledge and learning, nurturing talent and socialization are what gauges the efficiency of an education system. The public education system is an education system supported mostly by the government, and is open to any students, including those who cannot afford the school fees. The public education system has for a long time been criticized for not being up to standard in terms of learning and growth of knowledge.
American public school systems especially have been found to have been wanted in so many aspects. Students from public schools leave schools having learnt very little, and with more negative attitudes than positive ones towards life and towards the world they live in. Violence at school is rampant and is growing at an alarming rate. These schools are unsafe and there seem to be minimal security levels at these schools.
In the past, the government has tried to solve these problems by increasing funding and setting laws and guidelines in an effort to govern unbecoming behavior. However, this has had little effect on these schools, because these strategies could not solve the individual personal causes of the situation at hand. The students usually are the perpetrators of violence at school with cases of bullying, being a normal day-to-day occurrence at these schools. When it comes to learning, not only is the environment less conducive, but the teachers are usually not well qualified, since the qualified ones would rather work in a more organized education system (Friedman, 2004).
The need to reform the public education system has been overlooked for a long time. It does not help that there is no specific person to hold accountable for its poor running. Usually, the government is blamed, but even then the government is a broad entity. Teachers and better training have been demanded for a long time to improve the learning. The government has tried to curb violence by having police officers roaming the school halls and metal detectors all over the schools. These are all temporary solutions to these problems, but permanent solutions come from identifying the root cause and eliminating it completely.
The first step to reforming is to give authority to the individuals entrusted with students. Teachers and school authorities are expected to mould and nurture children, as they grow up, and therefore, they must be trusted enough to be allowed to discipline. The prevalent situation these days in public schools is that the students are in control and do not recognize the teachers’ authority. This obviously makes it difficult for teacher to maintain discipline and order in class rooms, where students can get away with acts of indiscipline and disrespect. Of course, this authority needs to be entrusted to individuals who will not abuse it, and clear limits set for what is and is not acceptable. There needs to be a clear guiding authority at schools that is not the students.
Discipline results from developing an attitude of respect towards authority and an intrinsic attitude of compliance to the rules. Respect, order, discipline and rules are values that are instilled and learnt over time with constant practice, and most importantly dedicated teaching, guidance and discipline. This is one way to curb violence at schools once and for all.
As regards to the issue of learning and education, it is important to look into the qualifications possessed by teachers not only knowledge wise, but in their ability to communicate, nurture and generally assist in improving their students. Funds are still important, especially in overcrowded public schools. A single teacher handling an overcrowded class is not likely to reach all students effectively. Therefore, funds are imperative in expanding these schools and increasing the number of teachers to ensure effective individual nurturing of every student.
In 2001, the No Child Left Behind Act was signed That was a move by the United States congress in response to the public’s concern over the quality and general state of education in the United States. This move was proposed by the George W. Bush administration, immediately when he took office and the bill was passed later. This act is centered on improving education standards based on the fact that setting goals that can be measured and high education standards are likely to improve individual education outcomes.
The no child left behind act has been a success in education reform. First and foremost, it has increased accountability required from teachers and schools. Schools are required to take yearly tests which are used to gauge the level of the students’ improvement. Should the schools fail to meet the required improvement standards, they face punishment, such as a decrease in school funds. This strategy has helped maintain accountability and forced many schools to improve their education standards, in order to meet the required improvement standards. However, the punishment dished out to schools that fail to meet these standards has been criticized by critics who assert that punishment further hurts the schools and does not contribute to the improvement of education standards, because figuratively kicking them, when they are down, makes it more difficult for them to get up.
Charter schools are a recent development, whereby autonomous public schools usually started by for profit companies, community organizations, parents and teachers. They usually are required by the local state’s basic curricular requirements. Apart from these requirements, they are free from other obligations imposed on public or conventional schools, and are rarely scrutinized by the government or the public. Most charter schools offer specialized education. For instance, they could offer arts specifically, or specialize on technology. Usually, they take small classes, so that every student receives special individual attention from the teacher.
However, it has been found that these schools rarely meet the state performance requirement satisfactorily. They are actually outperformed by conventional and public schools in meeting these requirements. As a result, the standard of education offered in charter schools has been questioned on several occasions.
Magnet schools were started, in order to encourage diversity. Most of them have boarding facilities, in order to enable out of state students to attend. Usually these schools are highly competitive and have high academic standards. Students usually have to pass rigorous tests and applications, in order to get into these schools. These schools have managed to maintain high education standards, because they are well-funded, and because they are highly selective. They admit students who are intelligent and performers to begin with.
There is still a lot of debate on racial segregation and its impact on education. Some scholars assert that the social and racial composition of a student body is related to educational achievement and contributes to the performance. Others, however, assert that the performance of an individual student cannot be affected by the individual they sit next to in class. In their view, all students can learn, regardless of who they study with.
It has been found that socioeconomic segregation is strongly related to racial segregation. According to a study carried out in 2001, Black people and Hispanics are more likely to be poor and will often attend high poverty schools. According to Coleman (1990), education performance is affected by other students’ characteristics. Schools, whose student body’s majority comprised of white students, showed better performance; mostly due to white students’ better educational backgrounds and their high ambitions and goals (Coleman, 1990).