Sunday, March 28, 2010

3/29/10- Public Education

Many problems surround the multiple issues associated with our country's public education system. Ever since President Bush passed the No Child Left Behind act, it seems as if public education reform has been becoming more and more of a recognizable issue. Kids all over the U.S. go to school in order to become "literate, critical minded individuals who understand the lessons of the past and the tools of the present" (online source). I believe the biggest issue with public education is the way that the system places labels on everyone and catagorizes students according to how intelligent he or she is. When someone recieves the label of a "gifted student," he or she may try to live up to the standard they are expected to achieve, however, unfortunately the same remains true on the opposite end of the spectrum. If someone is labeled as "special education" or "IRR," those students may live down to their lowest potential due to all that isn't expected of them. These labels now are serving as self-fulfilling prophecies, or in other words, kids may only become as smart as you label them or as they believe they should be. This is a terrible thing for the public education system to do, and when the system becomes inflated with all this categorizing and distinguishing between students, the result can only be negative. Instead of this labeling non-sense, it would be much more effective to help students learn in a way which meets their demands instead of a strict, rigid teaching system that is static for all students. Also, another tactic that I believe would make a world of difference in the public education system is the to remove the word "smart." This may sound confusing at first, but when pondered, it makes total sense. When a student does really well on a quiz or test, a teacher or parent or whoever may say, "Gee Billy, you sure are smart." This leads to Billy thinking that he naturally has what it takes to make good grades, and contains this one special ability of being "smart." Now, Billy doesn't work as hard because he thinks he should make good grades on everything because he is smart. This is when I believe we, as a society, should avoid telling kids at a young age that they are smart, and instead say, "Gee Billy, you sure did work hard for that grade." This would influence Billy in a more positive way and get him to continue to work hard. If all kids had a pre-conceived notion that they were just smart, none of them would work hard because they would think they can already do anything. If genuinely smart kids were continually reinforced to work hard, who knows how many Einsteins we could create. The public school system is in desperate need to illiminate labels and categories and teach students in a more creative way without providing these detrimental self-fullfilling prophecies. This is my opinion on what is wrong with public schools today and how it should be fixed.

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