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, its doors could be closed. If the school does not meet the standards over a certain period of time, parents could choose to move their child to a charter school until the failing school finally meets those standards, costing taxpayers even more. 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. Instead of allowing teachers to teach a broader range of subjects or explore subjects in more depth, they are restricted to teach our children to pass the test. Because of this irresponsible legislation children have been taught at a level much lower than 30 years ago. It’s important to understand the implications that the United States no longer ranks in the top 20 in math, reading, and science, when compared to other nations. The Common Core standards are also causing our children to be under educated as it is missing the mark by a large margin when it compares to global standards. As our education continues to drop in quality, our ability to compete on a global scale decreases as well.
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 that we have, we must make changes immediately. The evaluation process of our teachers is not effective and is based on standards that many teachers feel are not relevant and are ineffective. Our teachers have a passion to teach children, but the government has effectively killed that passion by placing barriers around their creativity that would benefit our children much more than the federally mandated standards do. 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. Since its start, federal funding for schools have skyrocketed only to see the quality and standard of education diminish. For those who understand the Federal government's role knows that this is 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 while returning the curriculum to their control will have our children competing in the top 10 of the world in short order.
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. For higher education, the financial threshold to qualify for a Pell grant must be increased so more of our students can get the education that they desire. For career fields that need highly educated workers, the threshold should be increased even more. For those who do not qualify for federal aid, private student loans should be capped at 2%. Many of our college graduates must pay for enormous college loans over the course of 20 years in some cases. What is the point of going to college if you cannot enjoy the fruits of your labor in this lifetime because you are weighed down in debt from the moment you 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. If there is a reasonable solution to help the people of El Paso and the nation become more educated, we should move to make it a reality. Americans have had enough of the greed by the banks and government.
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