EDUCATION IS NOT A RACE: A NEW APPROACH TO HELPING MORE STUDENTS SUCCEED IN OUR PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS
Taylor, Mary Margaret
EDUCATION IS NOT A RACE:A NEW APPROACH TO HELPING MORE STUDENTS SUCCEED IN OUR PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLSMary Margaret Taylor, B.S.Dr. Arnold Bradford, Thesis MentorABSTRACTThe policy of public education in the early North American Colonies was predicated on the need for a uniform process of teaching the basic essentials to develop a common social, religious, and economic society. As the nation developed, however, including immigrants from around the globe, society became larger, more complex, and less homogenous with sometimes competing and conflicting demands on its peoples. As early as the end of the 18th century it was clear that a "one-size-fits-all" approach to education was untenable. Ironically, recent programs like the No Child Left Behind Law, emphasize a return to "standardized" results, ignoring the diversity and creativity in the American community. This approach has drawn us back to the educational standards of the Colonial Period, with ever-widening gaps in academic and socio-economic success. The modern reliance on drugs such as Ritalin to focus student attention should be eschewed. Rather, much more emphasis should be placed on reaching students in ways that engage and motivate them to stay in high school, learn, graduate, and go on to experience success in higher education, careers or both. The place where this connection takes place is in the classroom, between students and their well-trained, experienced and caring teachers. How teachers engage students is not what is important - whether they use the approaches described herein, or rely on their professional abilities to connect with their students - what is important is that this becomes the primary objective in our schools. The failure to refine individualized approaches to education has led to the over-medication of students whose learning styles do not mesh with the classrooms in which they are placed, and has caused a massive loss of enrollment in public schools nationwide, especially among minority students. The result has been a concomitant decline in the standard of living in some segments of society due to the inability to obtain employment -- contributing mightily to the national crime rate. The country must take what has been termed an "excellent risk" and look to the innovative curricula and assessment approaches in modern progressive schools, some of which are described herein, which have graduation rates that are conspicuously higher than the national average. Clearly the "standardized" approach to education "reform" has not only failed critically, it has caused a great deal of harm. If we are to avoid a national educational catastrophe that will have far-reaching social and economic ramifications as the 21st century advances, the current "standards" approach should be abandoned immediately. Maintaining the same level of education investment as is currently in place in 2013, the funds should be redirected to where they will make the most difference: more teachers; smaller schools; and more innovative programs designed to engage, educate, and launch our high school students into successful higher education or careers, or both.
educational evaluation; Expeditionary Learning; Performance-Based Assessment; progressive education; Project-based Learning; public education reform; Education and state; School management and organization; Educational evaluation; Education policy; Educational administration; Educational evaluation;
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