The public schools system is the dominant education mode in America whereby the public sector or the government largely caters for the expenses that are required to run the system at federal, state and local levels. Apart from funding, the government through the school boards is also in charge of employment, curricula and education policies (Keliher, 6). Three major levels of education exist in the public education system of America; elementary, middle school and high school. The elementary and middle levels of education as decided by state and federal governments are compulsory in all public schools. Given that America is a super power, many expect that its education system is perfect; well funded, enough qualified teachers, superb policies and sophisticated learning technology. This paper will discuss further aspects other than reforms that have contributed to the decay of the American public health education. Based on the discussions, some suggestions on how to solve the problems will be made.
Sadly, America also experiences problems in governance, economy and others that negatively impact the public education system. Apart from the challenges, advanced technology which has taken root in the country has also been observed to have a negative effect on the American public education system. As such different people have different views about the public education system in America, Keliher (p.307) suggests in his essay “Forget the Fads-The Old Ways Work Best” that the only way to solve problems in the American education system is to go back to the traditional way where students ready to be taught sat in a classroom as the teacher utilized the chalkboard.
The two major giants are threatening the quality of education in public schools in America; these are lack of sufficient funding and a shift in equilibrium from traditional teaching methods to newer modes. Hood blames the policy makers whom he believes have been acting in vain by introducing newer aspects in their sittings instead of evaluating what was wrong with the existent strategies. Hood further argues that so long as current government policies are rigid and un-accommodative, no matter how traditional the students and teachers may remain, still there would be a problem.
In broader perspective, continuous reforms have led to the expansion of the education curricula whereby students apart from education are expected to learn good morals, good health and nutrition practices, human rights among other issues. Hence critics feel that the education system as a whole is overburdened, there is a struggle to integrate everything; social, family, political and economic aspects into one subject-education (Hood, par.8). This has led to extreme rise in the funding that the state has to channel towards the public education sector, creating a different problem; funds deficit. Given the high number of students going through the public education system (90%), the government has been under pressure to increase the education budgets, which has not been easy following various economic dips in America.
Reedy describes the same story in a different language where he points out that progressive education has been the core cause of deterioration in the public education system in America. This form of education well known as “romantic Modernism” (Reedy, 1) has ignored social and cultural fundamentals and instead embraces scientific facts including encouraging use of technology such as computers and the internet to simplify issues (Reedy, 6).
Further, the progressive education system imposes burden on learners by incorporation of other aspects such as child rights as well as bringing out issues of morals and class (Reedy, 10). As noted earlier some of these inclusions and the development of reform after another are imposing a great burden on the American educational budgets. Reedy (p.13) argument of “whatever is natural is good” is significant in understanding the rotting education system in America; there are no more instructions to students, no cultivation of reading and research habits early in life, no standard tests as compared to what existed in the classical education system. Instead students are left free to decide what to do by their own. Various commentators assert that such kind of system can never allow for quality education since there is a lot of disparity and less equality in the education offered.
It is evident that there is a problem in the American public education system as more people have been documented complaining of services offered. For instance a TV documentary-USA Today- by Toppo (par.3) posted on twitter in 2010 indicated that more than four documentaries in that summer period had been illuminating the bad services rendered by public schools especially in urban areas. Some of the documentaries include Waiting for Superman and The Lottery. The President of the National Education Association Dennis Van Roekel said that there was need to find a solution and that focusing on a few well performing public schools would be a “cop-out” (Toppo, par.4). Some of the suggestions on how to fix the problem in public education system include: policy-makers should embark on scrutinizing the existing reforms and understand what can be done to make things better other than developing fad after fad; It will be important for those designing the education curricula to incorporate a large part of traditional education systems including teaching children a world culture rather than no culture at all (Reedy, 18).
Reedy (p.19) further expresses that “going back to what worked several years ago and that which has since worked in those who maintained the non-progressive system” would be the way out. Hood emphasizes the need to restore discipline, the need to work hard and competitive nature; while cross-examining the thought that “whatever is natural is good”, he brings out the picture that feminism has relied on this phrase and as a result leading to loss of discipline and aptitude among student when female students are treated differently-more reluctantly- from their male counterparts. Those designing school programs should leave out the non-educational content such as children rights and good nutrition to be taken care of by the families so that the economic burden on the governments towards public education systems can be lifted.
In conclusion, the public education system in America needs a total overhaul right from the policies in existence, the curricula, the educators and general organization; there is need to go back to what worked centuries ago and borrow as much content as possible. It is also important to consider that the world has changed to be more globalized that before and hence a few modifications would be made, for instance if culture was a subject in the traditional system the manner in which it was taught could be altered but at the end of the day it will be a subject in schools. The same would happen to discipline; students especially females should be treated in a way that they understand the need to compete equally for quality education and to work hard to earn everything. The essence of the public educational system is to produce refined brains that can be self reliant and innovative at all times, and if the education system produces half baked minds then it is only fair to review it. This is so because it does not only affect the present generation but the also the future and most importantly affect the major issues in society.