Now, I must apologize because my bias is really showing in this article, but let’s be serious. This can’t seem like the way to get a quality education to anybody, right? It pays no mind to the individual needs of students: it throws any dissenting view of quantifiable data about its approach out the window, runs the line of party dogma, and drops teachers in the gut as if they are taking advantage of students and parents simply for existing. While the Obama administrations push for National Standardization of the Common Core is also, in my opinion, a steaming pile of something, at least it leaves room for teachers to assess their children individually and pace their lessons according to the need of their classrooms. While Obama hasn’t really done anything to make education in this country measurably better, Romney’s agenda seems to want to push all of the malefactors of it to become incredibly worse.
In truth, neither of the candidates has done much or plans on much in the area of education reform because most Americans don’t care to make the changes necessary for our system to work. Too costly, too radical, too effective…too much work. The reason we don’t hear more than bumper sticker, sound bite style discussion of the topic is because these candidates aren’t too far apart from each other for this issue to matter…and the last thing you want in an election year, in a country this polarized, is to seem similar to your opponent. Unfortunately, they are all too similar…and their similarities are all rooted in the wrong approach. So while I spent the majority of this article railing against Governor Romney’s plans (or lack thereof) and statements, I have nothing truly better or inspiring to show from President Obama either.
The Obama Administration’s stance on education has been fairly bland. In many ways it is not so dissimilar from that of Governor Romney. The President has done little to stop the proliferation of charter schools and the privatization of the public school system in this country. He hasn’t done much in negating No Child Left Behind, with the exception of a few waivers here and there, let along repealing it and replacing it with far more effective legislation. What he has done, somewhat, is help maintain teacher job security via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and te Education Jobs Fund. But even his Race for the Top money over the Common Core Standards is really just a band-aid on an amputation. NCLB? Mr. Obama, you didn’t build that…but you haven’t done anything to tear it down either. The federal government, in my opinion, actually has little authority to get involved in the public school system…but if they are going to start issuing mandates they should at least be approaching it from the right perspective. The system in this country needs a serious overhaul, for sure, but the business minded route we’re headed in is not the way to go—especially if our current economic situation is any barometer of the way the Federal Government handles business.
The more we treat education as a business the more we are going to get cogs instead of inventors and innovators. A system that is set up to make teachers and students perform like automatons is going yield exactly that: automatons. They will never have dynamic learning or teaching experiences, and they will always be held back by the overall structure of the test. The people who buy into this system are the ones who are really working against the children of this country. I hope the electorate wakes up to see it, because honestly, neither of these candidates plans on doing very much for the next generation of our country.