Perhaps the American education system can be alleged to be one of the most controversial education systems in the world. With diverse standards of education spreading across the American states, the education system has become a common challenge for the government. Some educators allege that this problem has been cultivated by the government’s lack of proper commitment and control over education policies. Consequently, the objectivity of the American education system has been blurred and as a result, many of the students and American population feel that the education system has failed them.
Education should be a national agenda, and this had previously been demonstrated by the commitment of the federal government in subsiding education in the country. However, the federal government has no control over the education once the states government takes over education funds. While the failure of the education system in the United States is continually blamed on the cost, drop-out rates, declining tests, health problems and social problems, there remains the issue of government inattention. The American government has remained inattentive towards education in various ways as can be demonstrated below.
First, the government practices a monopoly over the education system. From this aspect, the government is the sole financer of education in the country. As a result, the government can only provide funds for education through taxes.
The lack of other pertinent stakeholders like the private sector in financing education has lowered the standards of education in the country. Only a fewer private schools that are expensive do exist. This complicates the procedure and the establishment of good education policies from relevant government agencies.
The American government allows the monopoly of teachers through their union. Major unions such as the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association have been an obstacle towards changes in the education system. Like any other unions in other industries, unions’ main objective is to protect the interest of the members. In this aspect, teachers have always wanted to maintain a status quo and oppose major changes in the education sector. The unionization of the teachers has made it difficult for the government agencies responsible for education to implement important changes.
For example, the unions do not allow dismissal of teachers on the basis of their behavior. Moreover, unions always seek better payment for their members, thus jeopardizing the government effort in using more funds to employ teacher and expand education.
The American government has demonstrated its inattentiveness in education, by continuing to subscribe to outdated technology.
This can be evidenced in the government inability to improve the use of technology-based learning techniques in public schools. This is outrageous considering that education renders a nation to be competitive in an industrialized economy that requires advanced skills and expertise. This could be the reason why the America economy is constantly importing human resource for its industries. This can also be evidenced by the growing economic competition from European and Asian counties, which have invested heavily on education.
Misuse of funds
The general American government has had problems with governance and management of public funds.
The lack of proper allocation of funds on the basis of priority has always been a hindrance to effective education system in the country. An example of such was exhibited during the America occupation of Iraq. The American government used billions of dollars on security and war on terror and neglected other important sectors such as education. In such instances, the government agencies responsible for education cannot be exempted from misuse of funds. This also indicates that governmental agencies lack proper planning, and this can be justified from their lack of flexibility in the education budget.
The standardization policies by the government in the education sector sometimes exhibits lack of understanding.
For example, the enacting of the recent No Child left Behind Act is an example of how standards can ruin education. Although, the act is directed to ensure education is accessible to all children. The act does not consider the fact that education provision requires the quality aspect. In the recent years, there has been declining performance among the students, since teachers are not allowed by the new act to provide personalized lessons and teaching techniques. The United States Department of Education does not oversee the use of a national curriculum among public and private school across the states. In this aspect, education is diversely structured among the states.
This becomes a challenge for the government to instill regulations on how education budget among the states are used in relation to provision of education. As a matter of fact, it becomes a problem for students who may want to transfer schools from one state to another. This sometimes exhibits unfair competition among states, especially when the students graduate and want to seek employment in any of the states.
Lack of proper accreditation by the United States Department of Education is one major reason as to why education is failing in America. Some of the education institutions in the country lack proper amenities to offer credible education. Their approval by the department of education is as a result of corruption. Once such institutions are enlisted for education funds, their allocation is sometimes unorthodox and may not achieve its purpose.
The government has remained bureaucratic as can be evidenced by its expenditure on education.
The government has constantly been spending 14% of its total expenses on education for several years. This renders the government to spend merely $600 billion on education in a single year. Nonetheless, the number of students in public schools cannot be sustained by such an amount considering there is wastage of funds through corruption in the department of education. The problem of bureaucracy is a universal phenomenon that affects all governments across the world.
In this aspect, any change required in the education sector undergoes thorough lobbying, debating and procedures before its implementation. Although such may be perceived as the legal procedure of conducting government activities, such drags behind important sectors in terms of growth and development.
School district boards
School district boards have been another failure in the America education system. The board is always comprised of members, who sometimes do not look at the interest of the students. In any case, such school district boards prefer to save on education budget, by streamlining education through employing incompetent teachers at lower cost.
Thus eventually affects the quality of education in the entire state. The same school districts are also given the mandate to control education funds. In most scenarios, such board members embezzle funds, since they lack managerial skills in finance management.