Schools should choose curriculum

Laren Reesman, Staff Writer

Anything the federal government expands power over becomes less efficient over time, bogged down by bureaucracy and political manipulation.For years, politics have led to a deterioration of educational standards, especially in public schools. There are many recent incidents suggesting a school district’s roles in education are being overrun by federal statute and standardization with little regard for teachers, parents or students.

Public education, therefore, has been smothered under a federal umbrella. And as a crucial institution to ensuring progress and the economic longevity of a nation, centralization may not be the best approach to education.For starters, education has made no statistical progress based on test scores in decades. Despite being one of the biggest spenders on education, national literacy rates have not improved since the 1970s, and math scores have stagnated since the 1990s, according to the Brookings Institute. In addition, standardized testing is a federally mandated multi-billion-dollar industry, while the average schoolteacher makes a little over $60,000 per year. Moreover, teachers’ unions and school boards are incentivized by those in office—meaning their priorities are mostly lobbying and political pandering. Parents, students and even teachers take a backseat in these negotiations. In effect, federal oversight has created a power vacuum that leaves public schooling ripe for exploitation.

The recent debate, however, concerns a more cultural and societal battle that often pits families against the public-school institution because it starkly opposes many parents’ methods and teachings at home. Public schools appear more focused on indoctrination than on education, teaching children from a young age an increasingly progressive agenda that many households are not fond of. The issue is that some national standards are necessary to achieve baseline literacy, numeracy, writing and social skills. Homeschooling is not the answer—accountability by the public-school institution is. Individual school districts should be able to adhere to a set of base standards while appealing to their community and location apolitically.

Teachers should be able to portray fact and history without fear of being, for lack of a better word, “cancelled” by their own administration. Our current cultural reinterpretation of history has no place in the education system which should allow students to form their own conclusions about hot-button issues based on facts and a wide range of viewpoints. Yet, teachers who show a PragerU video in the classroom or include Fox News as one of the various sources they choose to explore an issue could be considered “inappropriate” and even merit punishment just because it does not fit a narrative crafted by the federal bureaucracy.

A successful future for Americans rests on education, especially in today’s highly competitive global environment. If the federal government continues to relax standards and children are only being taught what the federal government pushes, this society will be no better than communist China where an elite few can pursue high-level education while the others work in poverty, believing they are being cared for by the government. Here’s a thought: maybe that’s just what our elites and politicians want. School districts should be leading a movement to reinstate more individualized curriculum that will be the most benefit to its specific students. Instead, the reliance on federal funding leaves districts vulnerable to the whims of a corrupted system which has consequences for teachers, parents, and students most of all