Like many, probably all of you, I am a product of the public education system. As a generation, I think we have done OK, but today public education is the target of massive criticism. But is the criticism because of the nature of public education or due to external forces over which education has no control?
When we were in school, if a student messed up either intentionally or accidentally, he got his butt busted by a teacher or a principal. Everybody shook hands and education continued. I used a male in this example because I have multiple personal experiences for background. I know of no girls who were paddled while I was in school. Some of my readers might want to share their experiences to expand the topic.
Somewhere in the 80's a number of factors began to influence public schools. Various national studies raised alarms about the 'effectiveness' of public schools. These were quite alarming and very critical of the public education system. Systematic reform was needed and the floodgates opened. We had open classrooms, open schools, ungraded classes, phonics, whole-language, new math, the list is infinite. In my view, the key factor behind all this was the federal involvement in education. The pattern is familiar, publicize a 'crisis', then the federal government steps in to help. Never mind that education is NOT a federal function, but a state function per the 10th Amendment.
Today, 30 years later, we have No Child Left Behind, a massive federal agency, multiple unfunded mandates and too many kids that aren't learning anything. In Texas alone the amount of money spent to develop, print, distribute, collect, score, and publish the reports associated with the TAAS/ TAKS/STAAR tests is huge.
In spite of all this some students get an education but many don't. Who gets the blame for those who aren't successful? Teachers and local schools, never the federal government or even the state government.
By the way, when I got home, I got spanked again!
I am a 72 year old retired Army officer and retired educational administrator. I am a conservative who usually votes Republican. I am a member of the Tea Party. I am a staunch student of and advocate for the Constitution. I am an active Christian saved by grace.