Article by William
American EducationThe American Education System, is simply unacceptable. Curiosity and excitement have been entirely drained from the classroom. Einstein once said, “It is a miracle curiosity survives formal education at all.” Civilians News is dedicated to re-examining the obligations public schools have to our children, and the future of America.
Socio-Economic status is inextricably tied to education today. Disparities between quality, access and longevity of public schools can no longer be ignored, or tolerated. The overall dropout rate in American high schools this year is, 8%; 4.4% amongst Asian/Pacific Islanders, 4.8% amongst Whites, 9.9% amongst Blacks and a staggering 18.3 % amongst Hispanics. 1 in 4, Los Angeles students drops out of High School and LESS than 50% of kids from Detroit receive a high school diploma.
We long for the day when the average teenager can tell you more about the real world, than they can about the MTV’s, “The Real World”. We acknowledge that the high school dropout rate has fallen, from 14% to 8%, over the past 30 years; however we strive to see it fall to the only level truly acceptable by Civilians News standards : Zero. However, we are not oblivious to the vital role parents must fulfill in this dream; they must supplement, if not surpass, the effort of the state. America is only as strong as its weakest link.
American schools are downright economically prejudice today. The students who tend to succeed are usually those with the most social capital; good family, friends, coaches, etc. However the American Education System, does not divide these types of social capital evenly. Tax money and School funding today, is divided by county lines drawn long ago and as most of us witness today, often segregate our populations racially. Since racism in the 1960?s and before, American schools have grown more segregated, despite vigilante bussing legislation from the Supreme Court. Most discouraging however is that school districts located in impoverished areas, mostly inner cities and remote rural areas, are receiving inadequate tax revenues, because of yesterdays decisions. Many schools are operating well below acceptable standards for American Education, while schools in wealthier counties have cash to spare, for flat screen computer monitors and Starbucks at lunch! Economic disadvantage is being engrained in our children before they even step into pre-school!
Civilians News believes in a fundamental right to a, “quality,” not a, “minimal,” education, regardless of socioeconomic status. Although not explicitly written, in the Constitution of the United States, we believe education should be amended into the Constitution (as a RIGHT of all Americans). Education is not to be viewed as an entitlement, but a necessity, and part of every American’s duty, to pass on America, a greater country than we found it.
The problem with American Education is systemic. Schools teach kids WHAT to think, instead of HOW to think, as a reliance on standardized testing has increased, since, “No Child Left Behind” (legislation with purer intentions and goals, than ramifications). One easy way to improve schools is to encourage more local leaders, in the private sector with incentives to work, or volunteer their time as mentors and teachers. By paying teachers more, schools would attract greater minds away from other parts of the economy. This is but one avenue Civilians News.com advocates, in fixing our education system to compete smarter globally!
We need to rid ourselves of the archaic structure of the school year, which gives kids an entire summer to rot their brains. While adopting a more year round system, like so many of our global competitors. We want teachers who stress the classics of science (Physics, Biology, Astrology) and philosophy, just as much as they do contemporary literature. The law of the land and our Constitution, should be studied, in relation to all aspects of other cultures. An understanding of our three branches of government should be taught at an early age, as well as (but not limited to); British government, German government, Egyptian Government, Saudi Arabian Government and all other developed nations, which govern it’s people, by way of social systems.
A basic understanding of our financial and legal systems, as well as our tax structure should be stressed in public education. Contract law could easily be taught to people at a young age, what makes a contract binding and what doesn’t? Do you know? American Education should be giving people a more REAL understanding of annual percentage rates and compound interest, BEFORE Americans max out their credit cards in college. Real world lectures, in life skills!
Teach kids the value of investing and saving, as well as the downfalls. We need to reignite a passion for math and science amongst our children, that was somehow extinguished, since the initial boom during the 1960?s space race. Simply put, our education system should prepare us to live in our country, while competing and co-operating with the world. Again let us not forget the essential role that parents must play in promoting learning, both in and outside of the classroom.
Parents need to get involved whether its through a sense of personal responsibility, or by creating the incentives, necessary to encourage growth educationally. Let us bring forth a smarter decade.
Let’s examine a Supreme Court Decision from 1973 (A time when racial tides were quite different in America). A case which Civilians News believes has played a fundamental role towards the impropriety of American Education today.
San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez(March 1973, by a vote of 5 Justices to 4 and Dissented upon by Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall)
In 1968, Demetrio Rodriguez residing in one of Texas’ poor school districts, filed a suit in federal district court contending that the state’s school finance law violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment; a key amendment to our constitution, fashioned after the civil war to help ensure the end of slavery and to protect ALL Americans equally in the eyes of the law. The legal question raised was whether or not unequal quality of schools in different neighborhoods, particularly Mexican neighborhoods, violated equal protection.
Under Texas law, the state appropriated funds to provide each child with a, “minimum education.” Because the value of taxable property, as well as the number of school?age children, differed greatly among the state’s more than one thousand school districts, significant interdistrict disparities existed in available revenues, per pupil expenditures and tax rates. Basically the Rodriguez families public schools, were far inferior to neighboring, “white,” public schools.
In 1971, the district court found that the Texas statute operated for poor school districts, as a spend-less/tax-more system, of school finance. However for rich schools the system was found by Texas judges to be working as a spend-more/tax-less system. Education, the three?judge panel held, unanimously, was a fundamental constitutional right, violated to Mexican Americans under equal protection, and unequal schooling. Texas court agreed with the plaintiffs.
However in 1973- The Supreme Court REVERSED the TEXAS decision. Supreme Court Justice Powell delivered the majority opinion holding that education was NOT a fundamental right in America. Since Education itself was not specifically written into the United States Constitution, it was not marked by the Supreme Court, as a fundamental right. It simply was not written expressly, allowing for the court to interpret education was not a right to the Rodriguez family and a state sponsored minimal education was suffice for the Rodriguez family, regardless if other school districts simply were receiving an, “above minimum,” education. It was decided that Texas schools did not, in any case, deprive any class of people, of an education or constitutional right.
Civilians News feels the Rodriguez case, prohibiting the growth of impoverished areas intellectual capacity and educational opportunity, does nothing short of perpetuate the class system currently in America today. If education truly is the bedrock for social mobility and democracy, how can we deem it fair, free, honest or ethical, to perpetuate the lower class, with lower class educational tools for success? Are we not hindering social mobility as a people, with this Supreme Court decision, from 1973? The vote of 5-4 Supreme Court Justices, illustrates the Court was divided, as one vote the other way may have profoundly changed our countrys desolate inner city outlook, today. Did the 1973 Supreme Court Justices get it wrong, deeming minimal education the only necessity of equality, amongst races and social classes in American Schools today? Is it fair to have bad schools in inner city and rural America, while America builds great schools in the suburbs?
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