The government control over education has failed our children once again. With the latest attempt at “educational reform” in New York, we saw a massive plummet in students test scores. The adoption of common core standards by teachers could have been a positive move, but once again we let the bureaucrats create another “teach this test” program. The Dept. of Education is a huge waste of taxpayer money, and they have produced zero positive results. Now some may say that it is not the failure of the education system, but it is the failure of parents hurting student success. The reach of the Dept. of education has actually hurt parent’s ability to control the education of their children. This problem is more prominent in lower income communities. However, it is not because lower income parents are dumb as some suggest. It is because lower income communities have less access to good education, and less choice. Middle to upper income communities have smaller teacher to student ratios, and children whose parents can afford tutoring.
In a report at Cato.org, they list many reasons the Dept. of Ed is a failure. Our education system worked fine for 200 years, prior to the Dept. of Education, and since it's adoptions we have ranked progressively lower than other countries in education. The states and parents must take back control of the educational system. The rise in homeschooling is a good start, but unfortunately lower income families are forbidden in most states from homeschooling. Aside from income there are several more barriers to homeschooling instituted by the federal government. The financial burdens and the bureaucratic mazes many have to navigate, make homeschooling impossible for many families. A good place to find a solution is within the many homeschooling organizations, and within the private school organizations. If the homeschooling proponents were to start their own private school systems organized by parents, they could create private schools that are both affordable and reflect the needs of their communities. I personally would rather send my child to an institution ran by parents than an institution ran by the political circus act we have in the White House.
Getting back to common core, I believe the idea is sound. We should teach students more than scanning a word problem for information and then mindlessly plugging that information into some memorized formulas. The ability to use reasoning and real problem solving skills is much more important. If you can look at a problem and figure out what is needed to solve that problem the memorized formulas become arbitrary. This idea is prevalent because we live in a world of information, and finding a formula is just a click away. However, the ability to use that formula depends on our understanding of the problem. Understanding problems and analyzing the proper path to a solution is very marketable skill set. Employers need people with analytical and problem solving skills, along with the ability or willingness to learn something new. The workplace is constantly evolving, new technologies and procedures present the workers with new challenges that require a flexible mind. Learning is adaption, and with the constant of a changing world we must also adapt our learning and teaching.