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When It Comes To Education, The Government Doesn’t Know-It-All

Today’s students are falling behind their peers attending schools in other countries in academic performance.  This is a big problem as this country’s ability to compete in a global economy depends on the skills and proficiencies of our workforce.
 
The Debate
With the advent of No Child Left Behind a group largely made up of administrators advocating uniform education programs and evaluation based on rankings and percentiles.  They believe education should be standardized with all children required to learn the same material taught in the same manner.
 
Others oppose a nationalized education system, believing the best approach is to allow schools to develop their own curriculum and evaluation system based on their student body, and to have the ability to make the necessary adjustments to determine the best approach for successful education.
 
 Acknowledging Pieces of the Puzzle
There are a number of strategies and resources that have proven to help teachers better engage students in the classroom and prevent disciplinary problems.  However, there needs to be a change in priorities such that money to fund resources and advanced training opportunities is included in school budgets
 
It’s important to recognize that children are different and this doesn’t stop being true when they enter the school building.  Children learn differently.  Yet teachers aren’t provided with the instructional materials and technology they need to adjust lessons to fit every student.  Additionally, there are no resources available such as expert lesson plans that demonstrate how to alter instruction for different needs and best practices that could be discussed among peers.
 
Budgetary restraints prevent access to mentors, experienced teachers, or dedicated time for peer collaboration.  Research showed that when expert teachers observed classes and mentored teachers regarding strategies to improve their teaching skills, students not only performed better that year, but continued improving in subsequent years.

As class size increases, so do disciplinary problems.  Yet teachers aren’t provided with training opportunities and support from school administration needed to maintain order in the classroom, and keep students focused and engaged.  Often, it becomes necessary to focus more on discipline than teaching, as many teachers don’t have the necessary training to prevent behavioral problems from spiraling out of control.
 
Conclusions
Teachers are the key to improving education programs in meaningful ways.  Unfortunately, the commitment to providing teachers with opportunities to further their education, improve their skills, and increase their ability to handle disciplinary problems is largely lacking. Despite research demonstrating successful methods that improve teaching ability even in poorly performing teachers, budgets don’t include funding for such initiatives.  While our education system is in need of a major overhaul, administrators might discover that a little money aimed at teacher improvement would go a long way.
 
Mercedes Potter is an experienced writer who is concerned about the education in America, along with many others. The question is are our concerns substantial or just subjective? In this post many issues in regards to education are addressed with facts so you can figure out where you stand. Follow her @CedesPotter to read other posts about education in America.


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