Systemic Changes to Fix Our Schools


How can America’s schools be fixed? It will take three systematic changes to get American’s schools back on track.

One: Re-brand the Role of  Education

For many decades, lawmakers, parents and academics have marketed education as a self- empowerment movement. Popular idioms such as “Knowledge is Power” or “Knowledge is Never Wasted” were used to market this concept among the public. School-aged children were taught that the more they learn, the more they will be able to grow as an individual.

This is true to some degree. Three decades ago when information was not as easily accessible, individuals needed their education system to provide them with as much knowledge as possible. Youth that could retain information were most likely to be successful in landing a job.

But in the 21st-century, retaining knowledge is not enough to guarantee success after high school. It’s now about “skills power.” By having employability skills, students are more likely to acquire a job and earn a higher living wage. Thus, education in the United States must now be marketed as gateway to landing a job and/or a career.

Two: Redesign High Schools to Focus on Careers

Currently, high schools are designed to be extensions of elementary/middle schools. Students are required to take part in general courses such as Language Arts, History, Science, and Mathematics, which are meant to in-part knowledge not to develop skills in specific industry clusters.

To change this, high schools should be converted into career academies or industry cluster programs. This would allow high schools to focus on core academics, while simultaneously training students how to develop employable competencies or skills expertise. In this high school design, a student can use this knowledge to enter the workforce after high school or further their educational training at a four-year institution.

Either way, young people will graduate with some type of specialized training. This change would presumably help students prepare for economically viable career choices.

Three: Provide Equitable Resources Across School Districts

Public school funding in the United States comes from federal, state, and local sources, but because nearly half of those funds come from local property taxes, the system generates large funding differences between communities.

Unfortunately, this funding difference in the United States generates huge disparities in how education is implemented in various communities. Wealthy districts can spend more on education, while low-income communities can only spend for the bare necessities.

If better-funded schools do generate higher levels of achievement, then the public has to provide equitable resources across all school districts. By providing equitable resources, the public can be ensured that all American students would be universally trained in a career related field.

American schools have struggled for decades to do their work well. Real change in education calls for major systemic changes. These three educational recommendations could help the United States move American schools in the right direction.

 



Categories: Education Reform

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