The American education system faces one of the greatest challenges of public criticism of the public schools. Many people have a negative attitude towards the public schools as they think they are incompetent as compared to the private ones. This is something that has led to reduced funding, reduced public support of these schools, increased voucher offer to private schools, and national test are guaranteed to private schools as compared to public schools. The problem of inadequacy in public schools can be attributed to ineffectiveness of teachers, declining student performance, and poor returns. It is clear that teachers of the public schools in America should be ready to face the wrath of the public. When the students fail to perform in public schools, the blame entirely lies on the teachers. For this reason, there is a need for teachers to set up high goals and work hard towards achieving them (Everhart 123).
A research done Hochschild and Nathan (89) has shown a number of factors that have led to the detrimental performance in public school. Negative perception about public school teachers is one of the main reasons for this. Ineffective teachers have also been termed as another reason why public schools are performing dismally. In most public schools, there are poor teaching program as teachers do not prepare adequately for the classes. The training programs being used in such schools are of low standards, something that affect learners directly. Teachers lack the ability to give adequate instruction to students and help them put the same into practice.
Another reason why public schools are performing poorly is poor returns on fiscal expenditures. Research has shown that public school students’ performance does not at all reflect on the money spent on education. Despite being given huge sums of money, public schools are still performing poorly. Poor management is the main cause of this. On the other hand, the private schools are well managed. For this reason, students are meant to perform well.
The performance of students in public schools declines because of the public’s mind set about student failure. Most people see performance of students in public schools as being below average. They see such learners as under-prepared to enter into the workforce of the nation. For this reason, the public concludes that teachers in public schools are not teaching. They also see students as not bright as compared to those in private schools.
Background of the problem
The problem of negative perception of public schools can be traced to a long time ago. There are many reasons that fan it. The past and present influences have seen this problem get out of hand. In the modern days, the negative perception of public education has become a hot debate for discussion in many social platforms. Since this problem was first identified, many public schools have tried to adopt a number of reforms. The scrutiny of this issue comes from professional, parents, educators, students, and the media. All these people have criticized the quality of education learners are getting from public school in America (Hochschild and Nathan 108).
In this age where information spreads very fast, bad news has spread, which makes most people believe that public schools in America have failed in the mission to educate children. From research, these schools are in a critical condition. Criticism about the public schools’ performance dates back to 19th century during the industrial revolution. This is a time when the process of centralization was adopted in schools with the aim eliminating professionalism. In the 19th century, politics were thought to be the main reason why public schools were not performing well. During this time, John Dewey passed a proposal recommending that the school head be left out of the process of curriculum development (Lieberman 45).
The 1920s saw a movement that aimed at decentralizing school and the concept which teachers were teaching students. This movement was meant to empower local education decision makers. In 1950s, public schools were under scrutiny as the Americans were feeling the effects of global competition. During this time, success was measured through the literacy levels, test scores, professionalism in teachers, and graduation rates. American realized that public schools were left behind as compared to private schools. Later, communities came up with a policy in order to reclaim their schools. In the modern days, American are in fear that their children are not adequately prepared to compete in the 21st century (Everhart 178). There is distrust in the public schools. From research, it has been proved that most private schools have adopted the use of technology, something that is not seen in the private schools. The negative perception about the public school education is rooted in the view of American doubting the effectiveness of teachers in community schools.
Forces fueling the negative perception
A number of reasons have facilitated the negative perception Americans have about the public schools. They include:
- Intra-individual factors
- Social factors
- Site-based management
- Standard movement
- Fiscal factors
Prospects of the negative perception concerning public schools
Despite the many reports that the public schools of America are performing so poorly, there are a number of potential solutions to this problem. Many positive statistics counter the negative reports. Polls show that the public is now appreciating the efforts put by the government to improve education standards in public schools. The public is ready to help in talking about the goodness of enrolling in public schools.
Awareness of inequity is one way through which this problem can be handled. People should be made to understand that the gap between the rich and the poor affects the quality of education. The estate value of the community is what will determine the funding school will get. For this reason, wealthier communities have well equipped private schools. Americans now understand the distribution of funds as the main cause of difference in quality of education in public schools.
Positive poll results show that the main reason why public schools are not performing to the standard is due to inadequate funding. Other results have shown that the high salaries in private schools are the reason why teachers are motivated to deliver their best. If teachers of public schools were given good incentives, they would have provided quality education to students. It is not that teachers are relaxing, but due to lack of resources and poor working conditions, they are demoralized (Lieberman 98).
Implications for Public Education
The recent days have seen the public education in America be under attack. Many American are calling for this education to improve. There are both negative and positive implications of this education. Many believe that education needs to be handed over to a new management. This way, the inadequate managers, will be dealt with. One reason why students should be encouraged to enroll in public schools is that the modern days have seen adoption of quality educational programs. The content that has been created will improve the quality of students graduating. Unlike the drilling programs used in private schools, public schools use educative programs that equip students with life skills.
Competition for well trained and highly qualified teachers is another plus for enrolling in public schools. Employment of teachers in public schools is strictly on merit. This makes them have qualified teachers as compared to those in public schools. The wasteful expenditures that used to be experienced in public schools are no more there. This is because the local authorities are monitoring on how and when the funds allocated are being used. With the modern programs, parents and the community have right to influence the way schools are run. People are allowed to set targets for educators and learners. This way, new visions for public education have been created. On the negative implications, there are a number of issues which have been raised like consistency of the public education in different parts of the nation, the influence of politics on education at local and state levels, inequality funding, issue of quality, and problem of equity (Hanus and Peter 154).
In order to deal with this issue effectively, it is good that people shift from blaming the teachers and concentrate on digging the cause of the problem. It is also good to put changes in order to improve the situation. The teachers in public schools need to promote themselves at the same time educate the public about the true situation in public schools. It is also good that teachers are political savvy. They should learn on how to share the information with politicians. Another recommendation is to allow publicity that is more positive from people who are not in the field of education. This will allow the Americans gain trust in public schools.
Everhart, Robert B.. The Public school monopoly: a critical analysis of education and the state in American society. San Francisco, Calif.: Pacific Institute for Public Policy Research ;, 1982. Print. 123-178
Hanus, Jerome J., and Peter W. Cookson. Choosing schools: vouchers and American education. Washington, D.C.: American University Press, 1996. Print. 154
Hochschild, Jennifer L., and Nathan B. Scovronick. The American dream and the public schools. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print. 89-108
Lieberman, Myron. Public education: an autopsy. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993. Print. 45-98