The Problem with Standardized Miseducation

The great Greek historian Plutarch once said, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” However the United States education system is...

The great Greek historian Plutarch once said, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” However the United States education system is contradicting these words with it’s standardized approach to teaching. Recently, many parents of students in the public school system, as well as the students themselves, have voiced their opinions on their opposition to the common core standards that teachers are required to use. An outspoken father recently wrote a letter to his daughter’s school describing that while he regrets that she was absent due to illness, he does not feel badly about her missing school. He goes on to explain that he finds it ridiculous that she takes so many standardized tests at a public school, but all of these tests are coming from private companies. This one individual problem is part of a much bigger problem throughout all education in the United States: the problem of Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

There are numerous problems with using CCSS. First off, it is the United States’ moral obligation to make sure that the youth of America are well educated so that they can go on to become successful and make contributions to our country. By expecting all students to learn the same information the same way, they are setting themselves up for failure. Kids grow up in many different settings from one another. Some are born with mental disabilities and others are born with intellectual gifts. It is not logical to think that they will all be able to learn on the same level. But by creating these standards with one standardized test to assess all students the same way, teachers are not given much of an option but to teach all of their students uniformly.

Another major problem with these standards is that they assume everything that students need to know is taught in one of these traditional core subjects. It limits teachers to only being able to teach the information covered under the traditional subjects of math, reading, writing, social studies, and science. However this prevents teachers from being able to teach numerous topics outside of these subjects. School is the place where students should be learning important life skills such as how to communicate, and how to get a job, or do taxes.

CCSS also prevent innovation. By forcing teachers to teach the same subjects in a uniform way, it does not allow them to be creative with their teaching methods. They now spend all of their time trying to cram in all of the information that they are required to teach, and they can no longer teach in the most effective ways. For example, sometimes while teaching a lesson, the teacher realizes that the students do not understand the information as well as they should. But instead of changing the approach they use to teach the lesson, teachers have to keep trying to explain it the same way because they have only prepared the lesson in one fashion.

The largest issue with these standards though, is a political one. CCSS was created by a private consulting firm that was provided with over $160 million in funding in order to create the standards and implement them in schools across the country. More than half of the states in America have adopted the standards. With the adoption of them, these states have made multiple budget cuts to other costs for education, for things such as fine arts, and more than 300,000 teaching positions have been eliminated in order to afford them. So not only has CCSS completely discouraged the way that teachers are allowed help their students learn, but it has also cost millions of dollars and thousands of jobs for the United States.

In conclusion, this story raises awareness about the problem that as American citizens, the youth’s rights to education are being abridged by a system that prevents teachers from helping their students learn in a manner that will help them reach their full potential as students and as persons. It has hurt the United States, intellectually and financially, without giving any benefits in return. This can only be solved by changing the standards of education so that they incorporate more than basic subjects, and they fit the needs of all students regardless of their individual needs.

Ethics Alerts (Op-Ed)
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