What About the Rest of Us?

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This article was written by Marty West, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and he is the advisor to the Romney campaign.  In his post, Marty West talks about Gov. Romney’s plan to restore the American education system.  He claims that Gov. Romney will make federal funding accessible to eligible children in order to allow these children to use that money to go to a different district or to a private/charter school.  This federal funding would also allow them to enroll into different types of tutoring programs or take online courses instead.

This does sound like it would be beneficial to many underprivileged children, as they could get a better chance at a higher quality education.  But it doesn’t sound like that it is really a long term solution to fixing an education system that is in need of some repair.  My concerns are that the public schools that these children are leaving will lose this desperately needed funding and the schools will become worse than before.  I’m afraid that it will progressively get worse.  The “eligible” children (however that’s defined by Gov. Romney) will leave these schools, taking their portion of federal funding to the private school.  The public school will have to cut something vital out of their budget, then more eligible children will follow suit, thus the school losing more, to where eventually only those who are not “eligible” are left to learn in a subpar school, or the school is forced to close down, leaving the remaining children to fend for their own education.  I’m worried that this may cause a domino effect of other schools to a point where either the children who can’t get into a private school or good district will be left behind, or this could lead to the end of public schooling and only private schools are left, but still receive public funding.  I feel that this reform has the potential, at least in this scenario, to create a form of discrimination against those children who are considered ineligible to go to private schools.

To me, at least, it seems that instead of privatizing education in America, why not really look at what the underlying issues in our educations system, and try to address them.  I’m not sure what all the problems might be, as there are a myriad of them, but it seems like our society could benefit as a whole if we try to work on making all public schools better.  Maybe we could look at what the successful private and public schools are doing, and model all schools after them as best as possible.  If they are successful because of money, then maybe our tax dollars would be best spent in trying to make more schools like the successful ones.  For example, if these schools have new technology or high quality resources that enhance the student’s learning, then maybe the government could offer tax break incentives to these companies if they donate a certain amount of their products to the schools; really make it worthwhile to the companies to help out in improving the schools with their products.

If it is because the schools have high quality teachers, then maybe the government could step in and help out those who are passionate about teaching get there by paying for a good chunk of their education, or pay for the teacher to go to seminars about new, innovative teaching methods or instructions.  Or maybe it is a simple as giving the teacher some autonomy in the classroom and in what they are teaching, and how they teach it.  It seems that there is no one way to fix this issue overnight, and I know it won’t happen that way either, but taking money from one to give to the other just seems to me like your trying to sweep the problem under the rug and calling it clean.


About jamesthoughtsblog

I like turtles!

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