2017-04-21 / Letters
Teachers should not have to teach to the test
Very few things are as important to living a productive and enjoyable life as education. How individuals receive and value their education makes all the difference. As it was stated in a recent editorial, I disagree with everything that Henry Stern proposed in SB 807, except that the education system is in need of reform.
I argue that there are two primary forces holding back a better education system for the Californian population: a reduction in competition and an increasingly centralized curriculum.
In 1942, school districts in the United States numbered 108,579. According to the 2002 Census of Governments, the number of school districts has declined to 13,506, a reduction of 87.6 percent.
This geographic consolidation reduces the school choice available to new parents or parents moving into a new area which in turn reduces the incentive for school districts to improve.
Not only is school choice diminishing, curriculum is increasingly being centralized. Programs like No Child Left Behind and Every Student Succeeds, while well intended, are counterproductive in their effort to progress the quality of education throughout the country.
The United States is composed of a plethora of local subcultures that cannot all be treated the same. In order to create effective curriculum, the educator must understand the students and that need can’t be met by a distant, detached government agency.
While giving public school teachers a raise may be a show of respect for what they do, it doesn’t necessarily increase their effectiveness.
The lack of a competitive salary is far from the problem for public schools. In fact, across the United States, private school teachers are paid less but produce better educational results, according to National Assessment of Educational Progress testing.
What public school teachers need is more autonomy and the ability to teach kids about their corresponding subjects instead of being forced to “teach to the test” to receive funding.