Children of all grades are being dropped off by parents, are walking in groups to school or you can find them at bus stops where a parent keeps a watchful eye until that big yellow thing on wheels shows up.
Another year of Federally managed education where school choice is a fragmented option in systems across the country while other counties are teaching CommonCore or International Baccalaureate. Other schools have failing systems with regard to meeting grade standards yet still other locations are just financially broke due to teacher unions like the Illinois system. The debate continues on homeschooling, charter schools, parochial systems, private systems of religious/church bases education centers, as to which is best for independent students and choices.
Try this video to grab your attention:
Visiting the Federal government website for education we see this:
Overview and Mission Statement
ED’s mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.
ED was created in 1980 by combining offices from several federal agencies. ED’s 4,400 employees and $68 billion budget are dedicated to:
- Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds.
- Collecting data on America’s schools and disseminating research.
- Focusing national attention on key educational issues.
- Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.
Government agencies are assigned an inspector general to audit those departments for compliance. There is no recent report from the IG except one in 2014 that reviewed financial matters, data compliance and accounting systems.
While performing financial audits is laudable, reviews must be performed on the educators themselves, the student performance and reviews of textbooks and the syllabus. Exactly who is teaching your child or grandchild, what are they teaching and how is it taught?
How many foreign students are in your local system that require countless accommodations including translators? How is the affecting pace and subject delivery?
The chatter regarding education seems to circle around the notion of ‘school choice’ but what is the definition of that term? What is the menu of choices and does that menu have any valuable affect on the students’ quality of education?
Open house is a new school year event where parents or guardians meet the teachers, walk the halls of the building for orientation and talk about the plans for the school year. Sounds wonderful unless tangible answers and compliance are realized. Oh yeah, there are all kinds of fees that need to be paid for ridiculous items including parking, school supply funds, meal tickets, technology usage, medical supplies and library systems to mention a few.
What about school safety and access to non-school related visitors? What about after school activities and class size? Is there really a teacher with certification heading the class or is there some intern or teaching assistant?
Parents and students are in a permission society when it comes to education, meaning can my student participate in an advanced curriculum or is there additional help for reading or algebra?
Schools across the country have been adapting to social pressures rather than just structure and teaching.
Pew Research posted an academic fact sheet in February of 2017 showing in part the following:
One of the biggest cross-national tests is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which every three years measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of developed and developing countries. The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science. Go here for more details.
Quality academics in all grades requires attention by parents and guardians and for that matter all property taxpayers. It is the single most important investment in the future of this great nation and cannot be hijacked by special interest groups, unions or local politicians.
Have you volunteered at the local school? Have you asked the right questions? Do you even know the principal’s name?