How the Education Debate Could be Solved: Theory Post

     The public education debate in North Carolina has been widely discussed, but either side has yet to propose any compromises or solutions for the issue. Both sides are fighting for the same outcome: the ability for North Carolina to equip children with strong educations and foundations for their future lives as productive citizens. However, they have different ways and ideas for accomplishing that goal. The legislature feels that in this economic state, public education cuts are a necessity.     

       These cuts impact teacher pay, teacher assistant positions, and access to instructional material. They also propose a merit pay system for teachers and appropriate money towards awarding low income students with private school vouchers. However, protestors think that the cuts are unfair and show a lack of support for public education from the government.  

      Compromises will have to be made in order for both sides to come to agreement. I feel like the first compromise should concern the merit pay system. The merit pay concept is a good philosophy, the state should reward teachers who are continuously making the most impact on their students. However, the state legislature wants to measure this impact by standardized testing of students. The impact a teacher has on a student is a subjective, unquantifiable variable. If the legislature could figure out a way to track a teacher’s efficiency objectively without using test scores, the merit pay system would be a win-win for both sides of the debate. In order to do this, the legislature could provide standardized evaluation forms for administrators to fill out after observing the teachers in the classroom. Even better, it could hire an objective, outside third party committee to evaluate teachers through in-class observations and evaluations. 

            As for the Opportunity Voucher debate, I feel like in order to make protestors happy, the legislature should not use this money to support private schools. The purpose of Opportunity Vouchers is to provide low income students the opportunity to get the individualized academic attention that they may not be able to receive in public schools. However, the state could still accomplish this goal if they transferred the money they were going to give to private schools and instead funneled it into creating special programs at public schools to help these children. This way, they are giving these students the attention they need without supporting private education institutions.

            When it comes to reinstating teacher assistants and adding instructional materials, the state will have to decide whether they value these entities enough to spend taxpayer money on it; or, if it will just be a casualty of the hard economic times.  Education is an important part of society and people will always debate in order to make sure it is working properly and to the best of its ability. Nevertheless, I feel like the legislature and the protestors could meet in the middle on many topics in order to unite in the support of public education, and help it reach its full potential for the students of North Carolina. 

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2 thoughts on “How the Education Debate Could be Solved: Theory Post

  1. I agree that the concept of a merit system would have a positive impact on the education system in theory, but in reality, it is simply not possible. There are too many subjective issues that are in some schools that would affect standardized test scores. One teacher may have a large concentration of students in poverty or having a bad family life, while another teacher may have studious workers and involved parents. There are just too many outside factors.

    There is also a much broader issue on the education debate: not every student is getting similar education experiences. In a capitalistic society, we are essentially competing against other people, but when there are a select few students that start a leg up on everyone because of their prestigious private education they have received all of their lives, it just seems unfair. The state should absolutely use money to give low income students (the ones most likely to suffer from poor education) individual attention. That would be a step in the right direction to reduce the opportunity gap in America.

  2. I agree with your comment about the subjective factors. In a perfect world, the merit system would work great. The good teachers would be rich and all the not-so-good teachers would either not have a job, or have to change the way they do things. However, I am a little confused about your second argument. Yes, kids who go to prestigious prep schools often do have a leg up on those of us who went to public schools. However, if our government believed in our public schools and supported them accordingly, don’t you think that students who are given a public education could then compete with private school competition? It is dependent on the student, and how much work the government and the schools want to put into leveling the playing field. Since you feel that the states should use money to give low income students individualized attention, does that mean you agree with the opportunity voucher program? Or do you just believe that the government should fund more opportunities and programs for these kids within public schools? While I agree that low income students would benefit from private school education, I have to wonder if having the government fund these privatized, often religious, institutions is morally and constitutionally just.

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