Steps to fix the broken system
1. One District
The education system has failed our children for almost two decades. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) of 2001 is arguably the single most destructive piece of educational legislation to ever come out of Congress. This bill tied school funding to a school’s performance as measured by a series of standardized tests. Should the school fail to meet the established standards then its doors could be closed. When the school does not meet the standards over a certain period of time, parents will move their child to a charter school. The NCLBA has also been responsible for a massive increase in testing beginning as early as 1st grade (6-year old). Weekly practice tests are conducted to ensure the school can maximize students’ scores on the government-mandated assessments. Most school curriculum is now designed to teach to these tests specifically. The irresponsible legislation children have been taught at a level much lower than 30 years ago. It’s important to understand the implications that come with the United States no longer being ranked in the top 20 nations in math, reading, and science. The Common Core standards are also causing our children to be under educated by a large margin when it compares to global standards. Our education continues to drop in quality compared to our ability to compete on a global scale.
A solution to this situation is not beyond reach. The concept of mandated testing must be eliminated. If we desire to see our children accomplish greater things in life, we must make changes immediately. The evaluation process of our teachers is not effective based on standards that many teachers feel are not relevant and ineffective. The government has effectively killed our teachers passion by placing barriers around their creativity that would benefit our children. It’s these teachers who know what is best for our children not a bureaucracy that is disconnected from our best interests.
Many do not realize that the Department of Education was established in 1979 and has not been part of our education system very long. It’s no coincidence that once the federal government became involved with our school system, the quality began to decrease rapidly. Federal funding for schools have skyrocketed only to see the quality and standard of education diminish. Federal government’s role is becoming beyond its constitutional authority. We should abolish this department and return the power to the States and to the local administrators where our educated and qualified teachers can do a much better job. Paying teachers a better salary and returning the curriculum to their control will have our children competing in the top 10 of the world.
The price of higher education has increased dramatically over the past 20 years. We believe this has been a major area of neglect by congress for decades. The financial threshold to qualify for a Pell Grant must be increased so more of our students can get the education that they desire. The financial threshold should be increased even more for career fields that need highly educated workers. Applicants that do not qualify for federal aid or private student loans should be capped at 2%. College graduates are paying for large college loans over the course of 20 years in some cases. The point of going to college is to enjoy the fruits of your labor in this lifetime. Students shouldn’t be pulled down in debt from the moment they graduate. We must bring relief to those who are determined to make a better life for their families. We must not allow the banks to continue to hold our talented graduate’s hostage any longer. We should also consider providing tax incentives to companies who provide funding for higher education to their employees. Americans have had enough of the greed by the banks and government. This is more than a reasonable solution to help the people of El Paso simultaneously our great nation becoming more educated. El Paso can count on me Sam Williams, I will work to make debt relief a reality!