"America's Public Schools: Set Up to Fail"

I went to public school all my life and thought I had received a great education. But once I graduated from public school and went to private college, I began to have different thoughts about public school. I was behind in most of my college courses because what was supposed to be review for the course was new to me. Soon after, I was behind in all my classes. I found myself struggling to keeps up with school, which caused me to think of dropping out. Sometimes, I found myself asking: why? Why didn’t I get the same kind of education as those who were in the same college classes as me? Was it because I am poor? Or is it the public school keeping its students in a low state? I started realizing that my public educators had failed to teach me what they were supposed to teach me. Public education is a great way that America helps the families who are not able to pay for school. But the way that America’s public school functions causes students from some schools to be behind.

The different economic statuses of different schools contributes greatly to the way the public schools functions. Steve Almond, in his foreword to I Wish They Would Have Asked Me, states that America offers public educational opportunity to all, and a path to their own ideas and passions, so that everyone can increase the possibility of what they can be. But that idea has changed over that past thirty years (I-II). America offers a special opportunity to the haves, but not to the have nots. According to Almond, “The promise of a good education has been betrayed”(II). Public schools do not have the same requirements and standards across America’s cities. Public schools in wealthy neighborhoods have higher standards for the students and teachers in general, but those in the less wealthy neighborhoods tend to have lower standards for their students and teachers. I went to West Roxbury High School, which is part of Boston Public; some of the teachers do not expect all the students to students to really keep up with the work, so as the class moved from chapters to chapters a lot of student get loss and nobody even care to help them catch up. Before you know it, they fail the class, no one expect them any questions. I know because that happens to my friends. Most likely this doesn’t happen to the wealthy high school because the teacher cares. I witnessed both situations.

The public school systems have failed to educate their students who are mostly from a poor background for a life beyond grade school. But the public school system is not the only group to blame. The government should also be blamed because it has the power to change the situation but so far they have chosen not to. The Former president, George Bush, signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, but underfunded it, so it has failed. In the Heritage Foundation website, Dan Lips and Evan Feinberg, states “The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 dramatically increased federal spending and authority over public education in America. But with these funding increases has come an increased administrative burden on state and local authorities. No Child Left Behind created new rules and regulations for schools and significantly increased compliance costs for state and local governments. According to the office of the Management and Budget, No Child Left Behind increased state and local governments’ annual paperwork burden by 6,680,334 hours, at an estimated cost of $141 million dollars.”(1-2). The group that has suffered the failure of this Act is the minority group because the minority public schools did not have money in the first place. After the Act was passed, those schools still were not appropriately funded. No Child Left Behind also causes the students to fail. According to the Marianne and David McGrath, who are both public teachers, states in Daily Southtown newspaper that “Standardized test questions, with a choice of a,b,c,d or none of these, for answers, may be useful for screening contestants for a round of TV “jeopardy.” But they do not offer proof or even illumination on how students think critically, solve problems, communicate orally and in writing, or learn.”(2) The government wanted their school to close, leaving the student hopeless and uninspired. The government should help the students, not destroy them.

This public school failure is a big problem in our community because its outcomes are low self-esteem, which builds to gangs’ violence, murder, and drugs. We should stop pretending that this problem does not exist, and take action. We must demand that the government change its mindset of failure toward public schools. That way it will not only be “we the people” on a piece of Constitution paper; but we’ll be able to experience together the effect of what WE THE PEOPLE.

Works Cited Almond, Steve. “Foreword” to I Wish They Would Asked Me: Anthropology 2007-2008. Boston: 826 Boston, 2008.

Lips, Dan and Feinberg, Evans. “The Administrative Burden of No Child Left Behind” The Heritage Foundation. www.heritage.org/research/education/wm1406.cfm

McGrath, Marianne and David. “Why George Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act is a Failure” Daily Southtown News. 27 January 2004.