|Posted on October 28, 2014 at 5:05 PM|
Public Education and Educational Reform and Pseudo-reform
Public education has become the scapegoat for many of our society's problems. To be sure there are problems in public education that need to be addressed. That should be no surprise to anyone considering how large the educational system is and must be. Some of the current educational reform is legitimate, justified, research-based, and when properly implemented results in positive improvements in instruction and teaching practice. Much of what is identified as educational reform is in truth created with a very different intent than improving education. This pseudo-reform is the result of political and ideological agendas that do not have the best interests of an egalitarian public educational system behind them. For some the pseudo-reforms are driven by a desire to promote specific religious beliefs. For others the intent is to destroy public education in order to replace it with privatized education. The most egregious faction pushing for privatized education are those who do so with the intent of making it a profitable business venture.
I believe that our country's character was founded and built on the strength of a free public education system. Over the decades it has gradually become more equally available to all within our society. We have not reached true equality yet, but we continue to make gains toward that end.
The problem with incorporating religion into the public school system is obvious. Which religion would be the foundation for a general public educational system?
The biggest problem with privatized education replacing public education is that it would quickly devolve into a social caste system. I have no problem with parochial and private schools as long as public funds are not diverted to pay for them. It is my opinion based in my experience that for at least 50 years public schools in the state of Washington have not been adequately funded. Resources from the state have dwindled while expectations and mandates have increased at an alarming rate. It is also my experience that educators (meaning all work within our public school system) have generally made every effort to do the best they can to educate their students. My opinion seems justified by the fact that the state Supreme Court has found the state to be in violation of article 9 of the state Constitution, which says that it is the paramount duty of the state to amply provide for the education of all children residing within its borders.
I will have much more to say on this matter in future entries.