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There are certain major components of the debate surrounding the place in public education for schools. These issues are pertinent because they influence general performance in schools. The components of the debate elicit the talk because of their importance in public education for schools. The discussion of these issues is important because it determines the importance of the debate in public education for schools. It also determines how the issues should be settled.
This paper explores major components of the debate surrounding the place in public education for schools. It also explains the importance of those issues in terms of public education. The paper makes an analysis of contemporary issues in the context of education professionalism and a synthesis of personal and professional response to the contemporary issues.
The first issue under discussion is the matter concerning class sizes. Some people have argued that increasing school class sizes will help schools cope with their tight budgets. Some people claim this could be the best way for schools to balance their class sizes. For instance, former D.C schools chancellor, Michelle Rhee, argues that putting additional students in classrooms that have effective teachers could be the best option for schools that face budgetary constraints (Abramson, 2011).
Other people, including parents and teachers consider this inappropriate. They state that this measure lessens the possibility of students to obtain a one on one attention with their teachers in class. In addition, they argue that the proposition thwarts the ability of teachers to vary instructions and attention to meet the individual needs of every student. The arguments from the two opposing sides are valid but each has its own consequence. Schools around the country have found themselves in challenging positions because of budget pressures. Many of them have resulted to increasing the size of their classes to accommodate more students to cut costs. Creating more classes means that the schools will cut costs that would be used to pay more teachers, buying resource materials and building more classrooms. The measure has an advantage of ensuring cost cuts although it is not an effective measure on the part of student performance. The measure means that teachers will get more students to teach in one classroom. This decreases the time which a teacher can spend with individual students. This means that however much a teacher is effective, he or she will struggle to ensure that each student gets the same attention that the other students get (Abramson, 2011).
From a professional view, this measure is not the best. This is because students' performance will decline. Teachers usually deal with student's with different aptitudes. Therefore, individual attention is required for each and every student so as to enable the teacher to help them according to their different aptitudes. However, with the increase in class sizes, teachers will shift their attention from individual student attention to the whole class attention as a result of the number of students in the class and time limit. Proponents suggest that teacher effectiveness be used as a guiding principle to help class size increase. However, this is not apposite. The issue here is not about teacher effectiveness but how many students to cater to. Overloaded classrooms undermine teacher effectiveness. Teacher effectiveness depends on the work load available. The lesser the work load, the more the teacher effectiveness.
Therefore, schools should look for long-term measures that will not affect student performance, but at the same time, address budgetary constraints. An alternative way to deal with the situation would be to increase fees to cater for shortages in the school budget. This may help address student performance. The problem with this measure comes in because parents may refuse to cooperate.
Another issue of concern that has come under debate has to do with teaching of history in schools. History teachers face a challenge on selection of the content that they should deliver to students. The students are less versed with cultural literacy and most of them do not care about it. Many educators say that the amount of time that history should be taught in class has reduced considerably. They overlap history into language arts teaching which as a subject, is prioritized and no child lags behind (Holland, 2011).
History is a growing subject. This is because important events happen politically, socially, economically and culturally. All these changes occur each and every day. Students must be taught all the important events that have occurred in the world even in the far past. Therefore, it becomes challenging for teachers to choose what to teach students with the limited time available.
Most students do not take history as an important subject. Sometimes most of them recall the time when major events happened in history but do not see the importance of those events. In most districts, social studies have been removed in favor of mathematics and language arts. Perhaps this is important for innovation, but it underscores the relevance of history.
A main problem that should be addressed is the fact that history grows over time but class time does not. In fact, in some instances time allocated to teaching history is cut. Therefore, it becomes hard to teach history (Holland, 2011).
In a professional way, this issue should be resolved in a given way. There should be constant review to the content that should be taught in schools. Because history cannot be taught in its full, most captivating and vital topics in history, it must be taught. The others must be left for students to study them at their own free time.
Another component of the debate surrounding the place in public education for schools is measuring college readiness. There is a California program which started in 2004 that acts as a model that considers completion of high school education to be college preparedness. This issue is true as well as controversial. High school completion is automatically a qualification for entrance to college but it does not equal college readiness (Gewertz, 2011).
High school completion can never be taken to be readiness to enter in to college. There are certain reasons why high school completion cannot be used as a gauge for college readiness. There have been cases where people complete high school education because of the restrictions that their parents and aspirations avail on them. Some people complete high school because parents put pressure on them.
Most people complete high school when they are still under age. This means that throughout the entire high school they learn under the protection of their parents. They did not have a right to make their own decisions as individuals. Therefore, for such a person completing high school does not mean he is ready for college. He may complete high school and quit education because it is not his priority.
There are other people who complete high school not because they want to go to college but for other reasons. Some complete high school so as to be able to read and write comprehensively and communicate well with other people. After this, they may decide to get into the music industry, art industry or even sort industry that does not require a college education. Therefore, high school completion as a gauge for college readiness becomes irrelevant.
Besides, the above reasons, for one to get in to college, there are certain considerations that must be observed. Knowledge and skills that constitute college level mastery must be considered. This is because there are certain selection criteria that are used to determine students who qualify to take some courses. This implies that it does not mean that as long as one has completed high school, he can get into college. If high school completion was the criterion, then how do people rate student who could not finish high school's final examination because of sickness or other pertinent issues? It does not mean that they are not ready for college education. They may even be brighter than those who completed exams.
High school completion is used as a pre-requisite requirement for qualification to college education. This is far from using it as a means of determining whether one is ready to join college or not. Therefore, practitioners and professionals who use high school completion as a measure for readiness to get in to college are not realistic.
High school can only be taken as readiness to get in to college when an individual has qualified to get into college through merit. This is why there are certain tests for instance, Early Assessment Program (EAP), which are used to determine the students who can make it into college. Therefore, if high school completion meant readiness to get into college, then there could be no tests such as the EAP to determine who can get into college (Gewertz, 2011).
From a professional point of view, this criterion of measuring college readiness is very wrong and should not be used. This is because it may take unqualified students to colleges.
The issues discussed in this paper must be observed with a lot of consideration and attention. They are pertinent issues that require serious deliberation before any decision can be made. This is because all of them are controversial in nature. There are other better ways of dealing with them that have been discussed in the paper.