Politics in Public Education: The Legislative Agenda – Education Future

Public education in America has encountered many challenges, particularly in the last three decades. Declining test scores, declining graduation rates, poor results for high school graduates once entering college unprepared, and the clear lack of life-long learning skills are just symptoms of the underlying problems and issues with K-12 education.The decline of direct parental involvement, poor university education school preparation for teachers, misdirected and inconsistent standardized testing efforts, and the lack of any teacher testing and annual monitoring of teacher progress have all contributed to the problems in public education, and alarming lack of results and preparation of our children. However, underlying the symptoms and the causes that I have cited is the compromising of the true mission and goals we all expect to be unwavering. That is to say, those given the sacred responsibility of educating our students have compromised the very mission of education, and the achievement of the goals and objectives that we have counted upon to be the foundation of our future and our children’s future. This is not an accusation, a supposition, or an opinion. This is a fact. I have seen it and documented it first hand in my own state, and have verified similar encounters and compromises by the educational elite, administrators, and most directly the two largest teacher unions in the United States. It is at a minimum, appalling, and potentially criminal.What I am attempting to describe are the political compromises made by the teacher unions, with complicity by some administrators and ratification by local school boards, reducing the quality of education and the integrity of the teaching experience, solely for the benefit of power and money. The recipients of the increased power, funding, and funds into their own coffers to be utilized for purposes other than education, are the national teacher unions, their respective state affiliates, and their colleagues.When union domination, and the marginalization of parents occur, our children are the losers. They are no longer the priority. They are no longer the most important participants in the educational experience as they should be, and must be, if we’re to achieve those lofty goals, and make our children the best prepared in the world. No matter what changes we make to public education, no matter how we improve standardized testing, measuring results, educating and preparing our teachers, and funding education, if we don’t take the politics out of education, and the implementation of good education policy in our government, we are doomed to fail. Yes, unions have a right to exist, and yes our teachers should be treated well, and be paid well. However, with regard to public education, we’re not talking about a typical working environment. The priority must be the students, or the proposition of public education on its’ very face, is false. Why do many private schools, parochial schools, and most “home-schoolers” often do significantly better than their public school counterparts, with much less funding? Their encouragement of parental involvement in education policy, and their children’s day-to-day education experience, as well as the absence of political pressure being exacted by the teacher unions, is a major factor.Having direct, first hand knowledge of the referenced compromises and tactics by the education elite and teacher unions, I have seen how the entire political agenda has permeated the legislative process at the state and national levels. As Education Policy Chairman in my State’s Legislature, I have had to deal with these political pressures, and have seen how the masterful agenda on the part of the education elite and the unions have affected my colleagues, and their ability to resist the enormous pressure brought to bear on them, and their respective school districts. The compromise of our children’s future has permeated the legislative process through lobbying efforts, the recruitment of pro-union candidates, and sheer intimidation. My assessment is that it will continue until it can’t be fixed. Then a collapse of public education, as we know it, will occur, and something will have to take its’ place. Meanwhile, our children have lost their future, and our nation may never regain its position as a superpower, and the leader of the free world.Yes, this is serious business. I firmly believe that if we wait until the alarming collapse that I have cited, America will have lost its’ future. This is a time for a loud call to common sense, our founding values, and the premise that the self-serving educational elite cannot be permitted to compromise our children’s education and their very future anymore. It must stop. As the new “Tea Party” movement has awakened the silent majority from their political and policy indifference of the past, a new movement must rise up out of the ashes of our disastrous math and science test scores, falling graduation rates, and politically-correct social transformational education experience. The basics underpinning our traditional education system including academic excellence, parental involvement and support, discipline, and clear consistent standardized testing and evaluation, must be restored.Public education must clearly adapt to a global environment, and the teaching methodology must adapt to the times and current technologies. However, we must turn out a new type of teacher that can teach to ALL students. The actual pedagogy deployed must be based on the premise that students learn at different rates, have different backgrounds, and actually think differently. However, to be consistent with the goals and objectives that I noted earlier, the sacred mission-to-educate, we must find a way to deliver a quality education to every single student and to discard the premise that some students can learn, and some cannot. We owe it to ourselves, to them, and most importantly, we owe it to future generations of Americans, and to assure that America continues as the leader of the free world.

Sustainable Education for a Healthier Future – Education Future

Education gives knowledge which as Bacon rightly puts, is a “source of power to man”. However, it is crucial we note that this power can function either as one employed to build a better future or as one that destroys.Our masters, the likes of Galileo, after much philosophizing and experimentation, discovered truths and initiated beneficial principles now observed in our educational system. Their great philosophies are perfect for numerous situations, but our system does not show scholars the path to think and understand the proper situations to apply them. This is chiefly because the concentration of teachings nowadays is not to make people think, which ought to be the primary goal, but chiefly to uphold existing laws, reasoning in the confinement of principles, and empowering indirectly an unsustainable world.Acquiring Knowledge of established principles is good. But our educational system is leaving out an essential goal of growing our thinking faculty, by not grounding scholars with the understanding that the established principles are simply discoveries employed to help and should not be taken as final. Such limits our sense of discovery needed to address the diverse problems growing in our world.Time or situation can transform valid principles to invalid; the superseded scientific laws or theories we had and will still have are examples. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” (Ralph Waldo). A good quote it is; however, students are not grounded to understand its context and scope: Sadly, one can now see a sadist employing similar quote to justify actions, causing mayhem.At a tender age, it was like a law according to my parents and remarks from people that rain starts and ends in certain months. I remember asking: “What if it rains in January?” their answer was: “It cannot”. The reply came with some air of finality because the principle had been valid historically and probably because they had never experienced otherwise. The principle was true. To them it was irrevocable. But time has invalidated that principle through climate change. Now the months they had known to bring heavy downpours sometimes turn to be the driest.Life gets more complex every day, luckily we have principles intended to help, not to mold or limit our future. Sadly, our recognized principles cannot fit in every situation, and sticking on them will only bring about chaos. For a sustainable world, we need a kind of education where principles are acknowledged as a stimulus and not a decree. We need Education where people have enough grounds to express themselves beyond established principles, laws or philosophies; one that develops our reasoning and thinking faculty without constraints.Pitiably, the knowledge we now gain from education does not train one in the part of wisdom which grows when one begins to think. It only exposes some people’s wise thoughts or principles. Our system of education now yields educated fanatics: people that have acquired better knowledge on how to present and manage their fanaticism, planting chaos by training advanced erroneous people.Due to life’s growing complexities, education that develops our discerning ability to avoid further knowledge misappropriation is needed. Adoption of fine principles helps, but we should avoid settling in a period where ¬≠scholars are chiefly concerned with following of principles, so we can elude a future of people that reason more with citations than their heads, like robots.For a peaceful and sustainable future, we should stop the degrading practice of following principles thoughtlessly in our educational system, and welcome fresh educational scheme that stimulates our thinking faculty. That will enable all to understand the fact that time or situation can change anything. So, one would not be quick to conclude because of knowledge from recognized scholars or universal principles.I believe in the future of education where people do not just copy principles or laws, but where people also philosophize on situations to know where the principles are usable. This will free our world from the problematic chains of principles. Some of our masters foresaw this ugly future of ‘scholaroids’; Socrates addressed it: “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”