Taking Sides

Should public schooling be redefined? Like Frederick Hess, I, believe that it should be.   Within this new era of learning parents have significantly more options for choosing what they consider to be the best education for their children.   One may ask what is “public” school.   The first step into answering that question is to fully understand what the word public means.
Public, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “relating to, or affecting all the people or the whole are of a nation or state”.   When former President George W. Bush, signed into action the “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB), all students in grades 3-8 are required to take standardized tests in the core subject area and within this year all students are expected to be proficient in both reading and math.   The unfortunate implication of this act is that teachers are teaching for the tests not for what’s pertinent for the grade level overall.   “Teachers are intimidated into teaching toward a single assessment.   Creativity, innovation and content depth are now replaced with a quick-paced and lower-level thinking curriculum” (Scott, 2008, p. 6); this causes schools to be viewed as a place not where students are brought together to make sure that they become productive members of this society, but rather they have become like robots whose sole purpose is prove that the school is meeting the minimum required standards.
Frederick Hess states “that the purpose of public schools should be to provide for productive citizenship development by teaching skills, instilling knowledge and encouraging dispositions that honor, the tenets of constitutional freedoms and responsibilities” (Scott, 2008, p. 6).   In redefining the purpose of public schools standardized tests should not be our first priority.   The focus should be on assessing the needs of the community as a whole.   The federal government should be more willing to allocate funds to develop more innovative ways to deliver instruction.   The money that each state...