The Biggest Hit In Educational System Was No Child Left
The world is constantly changing; better or for worse, it is difficult to deny that. One of the things that seems to have not changed a lot though is the education system, even with wildly better technology at our disposal. 'What are some things that technology can do that a teacher cannot?' you may ask, well education has always had a style of one fits all since you were not able to be a one on one teacher for all students, much less personalize the lesson plans for them all. These are problems that on the surface seem difficult to obtain but with enough support from the public, can be achieved. Of course, just as with any problem that has a large amount of change possible, there are problems that could possibly arise and those factors mean that a compromise might need to be met to be a one on one teacher for all students, much less personalize the lesson plans for them all. The problems in the classrooms though center around the constant variable that affects all problems with schools, the government. There are three ways to truly help students learn and prepare for the future; the first is to improve or discard unnecessary laws and Acts that ultimately hurt education, the second is to improve the variables that schools account for since students might not have a similar home life or might not have as many things to stimulate them, and finally to fix the areas that the education system itself focuses on using money towards.
Discussion of the Problem
The biggest hit in recent history to the educational system was the No Child Left Behind Act, in which the focus in schools went from teaching students to improve their grades and filling gaps in their own education into getting students ready for standardized testing. In an article from the National Education Association teachers expressed their discomfort with the Act, one of the statements came from a high school teacher and it states 'Ultimately, kids that do not perform well on standardized tests come from low-income homes or in live poverty'('Educators share how No Child Left Behind has affected their classroom' February 20th 2015). Students have often been shown to test poorer when their home life is not going well or they lack sufficient resources causing these students to be left behind in the long run. Another statement came from Ashley B, saying that her students love for learning is being quickly taken after an absurd amount of testing getting ready for yet another bigger test, “I have seen my students drained by the weekly testing used to ‘prepare’ them for the state tests. Their love of learning that all children are born with is being diminished by the drills and worksheets used to get them ready for the big test ('Educators share how No Child Left Behind affected their Classroom' February 20th 2015). No Child Left Behind has not only affected students to stop wanting to learn and quickly grow tired of school, but teachers are also taking quite a hit in their ability to teach students since they constantly have to worry about being seen as 'ineffective' and then get fired. One of the best ways to move forward with personalized learning is being redacting the Act in favor of one that focuses on keeping kids engaged with the material, along with the teacher not having to worry about implanting new ways of learning in the class.
The Every Student Succeeds Act was passed to try to replace NCLB but it posed a few similar problems to that Act; nonetheless it is a step in the right direction. In Social Rejection and the Theory of the Mind it discusses what factors can go into a adolescents mind when they are in a state of distress or anxiety. The study found that social rejection doesn't cause any long term effect in most children unless the anxiety and stress is constant, but showed that in the short time that this distress was apparent, they showed lower grades and overall less participation in class. A lot of this pressure comes from outside factors such as home, friends, and ironically, school. The research also concludes that this stage of social fears stops when a person reaches late adolescence (15-17) when they start developing more mature awareness of other people's feelings and perspectives. It's essentially guaranteed that at some point, a student will have a noticeable shift in priorities from school and family into more self centered things such as games or some immature hobbies. Essentially, sometimes the government and education are not the biggest causes of student disengagement, but it is simply just neurological patterns changing because of hormonal changes.
The education system has been constantly getting more and more to keep everything on track, therefore funding for education has risen 137 percent in the last 25 years, yet funding still seems to be lacking for one main reason,we are spending that money in areas that aren't needed, such as giving an IPad to every student because that will supposedly improve morale and give students interest in learning since their using technology. This way of thinking has been shown as false time and time again though, because children don't want to do math problems on an IPad, they want to play games on an IPad, essentially making those IPads lessen the students interest in learning since now they are thinking of all the dinner things they could do. Schools need to put more money into projects and field trips that both engage the student and force them to learn in a new way. Salaries are the leading cause for people choosing not to become a teacher at a public school, but instead teach at private schools and colleges. States need to fix what they invest their money into when it comes to the need for education and students.
A lot has been done to try to move forward in the studies of personalized learning to benefit children. The main problem with the system has been minorly fixed with the previously mentioned Every Student Succeeds Act that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act, but there are still critical components in the political system that have yet to be fixed before the bigger picture is shown. Essentially any model for education production has to link student achievement to school resources and demographic factors. There have been various studies done on the efficiency of schools based on the comparison between the amount of income it is given and what it is used for, and the proficiency of students. “Previous research on education scale economies is extensive (see Fox, 1981; Callan andSanterre, 1990; Duncombe, Miner and Ruggiero, 1995; Duncombe, Ruggiero, and Yinder, 1996; and Andrews, Duncombe, and Yinger, 2002 for a sample of the work done is this area)” (Dodson 2). The people mentioned in this quote all provided studies and evidence in order to further the motive that the way schools use their income significantly affects the students proficiency in the eventual future.
A new study on Texas schools was made to try to show a clear example of poor neighborhoods having a clear disadvantage in terms of opportunities, quality of the faculty, and the overall grade of the lower income school. “Eight percent of the schools with more than 80% of low-income students received an F from the Texas Education Agency, according to the state ratings released Aug. 15. No schools with 20% or fewer low-income students received an F. Meanwhile, 80% of wealthiest schools received an A and 10% of the poorest schools received an A”(Chang). This quote tells us that schools with children that are better financially endowed are nearly guaranteed to have a step ahead of children with poorer families, meaning that the government both on a national and local basis is heavily in favor of a specific group with this specific group being the rich. The best solution to the problem was proposed earlier this year but never got out of more conservative parts of Texas. The board proposed to the State Senate that they account for more than just letter grades when focusing on how to assess the schools such as by also evaluating students on their participation in extracurricular activities and if they had been enrolled in pre-school before.
This bill could have had major benefit when trying to figure out which schools could use more funding since there is an obvious gap in funding when it comes to teacher pay, cost of education per student, and the overall opportunities that a higher budget allows students. In the study done by Julie Chang “Do Texas School Ratings Measure Campus Success or Student Poverty” she was able to calculate that that of the 117 schoools district schools analyzed in Austin Texas, of these schools only 17 of them were well integrated with a relatively even percentage of well endowed students and low income students. This leads to students learning easier and having a higher chance of being able to be taught at a level that is suitable. The other 97 schools though are on average, being occupied by 84 percent of either side, leading into a clear gap of chances and opportunities for all students.
Though there are several things that fixing the school wage cap/gap on both national and local scale would fix by simply passing a few bills that fix the problems that were not fixed with the Every Students Succeeds Act. Some of the underlying issues that politicians and the future education system would have to deal with is a pretty basic argument of where the money would have to come from in the case that the entire education system was to get properly funded, or where the cuts would be made in the same education system that is trying to be fixed. “While debate will continue as to the effectiveness of the new legislation, one fact is clear; state and local governments must fund these new responsibilities while balancing tight budgets and facing greater demand for education services. The current state budget crises are creating a further obstacle to improving and funding public education”(Dodson 3). This quote talks about the government (both local and national) being forced to pay for these programs and systems while still being forced to balance very tight and difficult to move around budgets.
The education system noticed its clear mistakes after the No Child Left Behind Act was passed and the latest system that was put in place, the Every Student Succeeds Act, attempted to fix the main problems that were being constantly campaigned against. Another problem with the proposed solution is that even though yes, the integration of higher and lower income families can lead to social rejection and a less satisfactory experience for the students. In “Chronic Childhood Peer Rejection is Associated with Heightened Neural Responses to Social Exclusion During Adolescence” it has a quote to sum up the majority of the problem, “A potential mechanism through which a rejected status among peers leads to mental health problems is a heightened emotional and neural reactivity to negative treatment that accompanies a rejected status (e.g., being ignored, harassed, excluded) (Crone, Will, Lier, Guroglu)”. This quote is saying that if a group of children experience emotional trauma such as being ignored and excluded in their environment, then the children could be affected mentally in a negative way, and could in turn, also make any potential exclusion in the future have a heightened reactivity and emotional incapability. Though there are benefits to adding and/or moving funds, and having more balanced out schools, there are definitely reasons not to go with it.