It seems to me that any human would appreciate the opportunity to ‘be the best he or she can be’. Of course, in this world conditions to afford this opportunity are somewhat limited to say the least. Where education is provided it is predominately controlled by government. In the United States we find supposedly well-meaning bureaucrats imposing their idea as to what constitutes a good education. This is invariably based on teaching to a common denominator of achievement utilizing various testing methods in attempting to prove the merits of their one size fits all mentality. Thus, the basis of their approach is using the indoctrination of conformity that in its application limits the ability for the respective individual to be the best they can be by not allowing those that have the ability to gain the necessary education to do so. An example relating to the advantages of educational competition is offered by way of my own experience as a k-12 student.
At the age of 8 years I was attending a public grammar school located one block from where my family lived. The school’s third grade had been split into two groups, one with faster learners than the other. I was in the faster learning group and the teacher was Mrs. Walker who was noted for her temper. My Mother was prompted to remove me from that school when Mrs. Walker slapped me over an incident where I inadvertently spilled a desk inkwell. I was enrolled into a parochial school about a mile away from home and my brother, who attended a different junior high school, was also enrolled because my parents wanted him to accompany me on my walk to and from school.
At this school there were students that were not able to qualify for graduation to their next class level until they mastered the necessary material to do so. Those who had qualified were able to move into to the class level that their innate abilities allowed, unhampered by the slower learners. The curriculum was much farther advanced than in the public school and I evidently had the ability to rapidly acquire what was needed to keep up with those higher achievers. The time came when my parents decided to move me back to the public school nearer our home so that my brother could move on to the public high school. Back in the public school administrators realized that I no longer fit the curriculum level for the class I would normally have returned to, so they had to move me up to the next grade.
This is a clear simple example that demonstrates the failings of our public school system in their inability to provide the opportunity for every student to ‘be the best they can be’. Having the federal ‘power of the purse’, the latest Department of Education nightmare called “Common Core” has been foisted on State and local education in a blatant attempt to go one step further in indoctrinating ‘collectivism’ into the student’s mind. Collectivism by its very nature decries individualism and promotes an egalitarian view of how society should function. Over these past many years, all the programs that the Federal Department of Education has implemented have failed because they are all based on the premise that “one size fits all”. This then is leading to that which contradicts ‘being the best one can be’, by promoting a common denominator dumbing down approach in the teaching of our children.
For those who truly believe that students should have the opportunity to ‘be the best they can be’, what means could be utilized to effect this? The most apparent would be to move control of the curriculum from government edict to the private sector where competition would prevail. Funding could be provided by vouchers provided by local governments, as is occurring in some communities presently. There should be no need for federal government funding or control. Parents would have the choice of what schools to attend. Favorable data exists that shows wherever choice has been allowed the performance level of students has exceeded that of traditional public schools.
Not yet brought to the fore is the fact that public schools are entrapped by the alliance of the leaders of teachers unions and legislators. The effect is that the parents of students are left out of the loop and decisions made by this political element are invariably made for their benefit and not that of the students. Getting education out of the political arena would be of immeasurable benefit to the parents and students who desire the educational opportunity to ’be the best they can be’.
Finally, why is a program like ‘common core’ being implemented nationwide and why is it necessary? Its very name indicates its premise and that is to indoctrinate to effect a common level of education. Infringing on individual freedom it collects individual student performance results and distributes them nationwide. It is obviously only necessary to provide the Federal Government with the power to control.
America cannot be the best it can be if its future generations are not given the opportunity to be the best they can be. For this to be achieved the matter of education should be left to the individual States and local communities. There should no longer be any need for the federal department of education. Then in the local communities it would be up to concerned citizens to begin the process of making their educational system the best it can be.