Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Pitfalls of Bush’s Educational Plan

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”A public school whose students dont test well

Would lose some funds unless its score improves.

If cutting funds wont help the kids advance,

We could prohibit lunch, or take their shoes.”

Cheap custom writing service can write essays on The Pitfalls of Bush’s Educational Plan


During the past years education has played a great role in American politics. This is due to the fact that the performance of primary and secondary school students is far away from other countries in most of the subjects. Although a small improvement has occurred in test scores during the last 5 years, this slight increase has also urged demands for reforms in order to achieve a higher level of public education. In contrast with other countries, the United States has a decentralized educational system. This means that the government’s role is to complement the state and local educational programs. A proper education reform would involve at least two steps. Firstly, all involvement should be ended in the issue by the federal government. The second change must be done at the state level, to improve the circumstances of local educational facilities and establish the same rights and opportunities for every student. President Bush’s education bill deals with only the first point, and goes in exactly the wrong direction.

The federal government calls for an annual national test to determine what kids learn. The test is called the National Assessment of Education Progress. It measures overall scores within schools, not scores of individual students. The weakest among the students dictate the pace and method, so this system limits the performance of good students in order to raise the scores of the worst students. It also states that measuring by testing is the only way to know whether all children are learning. In his article, Karp states that certainly this is the case because there is information that says that standardized tests are not appropriate and there are other ways to measure children such as portfolios “Linking federal funds and sanctions to test scores will also turn more tests from diagnostic tools into high stakes exams. As happened in Texas, such policies will encourage narrowly-targeted test coaching and curriculum pollution.” Schools must inspire children to be creative, responsible citizens. Test scores arent the only measure of success.

Bush’s plan deals with the idea of vouchers. If the schools fail again and again, the students are permitted to take the equivalent of the federal subsidy and use it at private schools. From now on, the federal government will be giving direct aid to private schools via individual students. On the one hand this will allow the federal government to encroach in the affairs of private schools, skipping state laws and the independence that parents demand of these schools. On the other hand, taking away money from poorly performing schools will cause inequality. States that dont show improved test scores will risk a reduction in federal funds. Schools whose students perform poorly will lose resources instead of receiving badly needed funding for things that would actually improve both learning and test scores. A better plan would be to give money to these schools so that they can improve their education and all children have an equal opportunity to learn. By taking money away, they are hurting these children, not helping them.

The centerpieces of the Bush’s educational program are annual state-wide mandatory testing and the idea of founding schools depending on these test results. Apparently, these sanctions will raise the inequalities between the poor and the wealthier students. Instead of trying to standardize the educational system more attention should be paid to educational infrastructures, such as smaller classroom sizes, better equipment, greater variety of school programmes and qualified teachers.

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