Education Reform Public Education Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Film Type: Essay Paper: #27323170 Related Topics: Education System, Special Education, College Education, Education
Excerpt from Essay :

Education: Education Reform

Education Reform: Public Education

Education reformers have proposed a number of strategies to help increase teacher effectiveness and overall student performance in public schools. Proposals include, among other things, reducing the level of teacher autonomy, use of testing and standards to evaluate performance, and introduction of charter schools as a way of encouraging public schools to improve their performance. This text examines the arguments put forth by the proponents and critics in each of these three areas.

School Reform

School reform is the name given to the various efforts geared at changing public education in the country to focus on outputs (student achievement) as opposed to input. School reformers acknowledge public education as the primary source of K-12 education for the country's young generation. As such, they desire to transform public education to be able o work like a market, that is, an input-output system where accountability creates high stakes for performance standards. A lot of debate still surrounds this issue, particularly in regard to the issues of teacher autonomy, use of tests and standards, and school choice. This text reviews the conflicting arguments put forth by both sides of the debate in these three issues, and presents the author's expectations on the same as they enter the profession.

Teacher Autonomy

The concept of teacher autonomy refers to the independence of teachers in the school setting, particularly in regard to choosing what to teach to particular groups of students and how to teach it. The conflicting groups differ as to whether or not teachers should be allowed to make such decisions autonomously using their professional skills. Critics of such autonomy argue that the low graduation rates inherent in public schools, and the wide achievement gap between students in public schools and their counterparts in private institutions indicate that there is a need to improve the effectiveness...

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Moreover, it would stifle innovation and creativity among teachers, which would eventually result in high job dissatisfaction, low student performance, and high attrition rates within the teaching fraternity. Providing teachers with a standard way to follow when teaching their students undermines the perception that teachers are skilled professionals, with the requisite training to make decisions that maximize their learners' academic outcomes.

I agree that there is need to reform public education in the country and to increase the efficiency of teachers in such schools; however, I do not believe that infringing on teachers; autonomy in the classroom is the way to go. P. Freire (2000) points out in his book that without freedom, people are unable to exist authentically and to be fully themselves. Similarly, teachers, if denied the autonomy they need to make their own decisions in the classroom, are likely not to give their all towards the learning outcomes of their students. Better outcomes, Freire (2010) posits, would be realized through the reflective participation of teachers in the process of developing measures for improved efficiency. I hope that schools will take the initiative to engage their teachers in developing strategies that would help increase overall efficiency without impeding on teacher autonomy. Teachers can be equated to the 'oppressed group' in Frere's analysis -- they are likely to be more committed if they feel like a part of the reform process, and not if they believe that reforms are just being imposed upon them.

Testing and Standards

Education reformers argue that tests and standards could actually help to increase the efficiency of teachers in…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Goldstein, D. (2014). The Teacher Wars: A History of America's Most Embattled Profession. New York, NY: Knopf Publishing.

Ravitch, D. (2013). Reign of Terror: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger of America's Public Schools. New York, NY: Knopf Publishing.


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