- Kevin Portillo
Public Policy: Deficiencies with the Education in Ameri
Liberty has been a cornerstone of the United States’ ideology since its inception in 1776. The very creation of our country was inspired by a thirst for liberty from a foreign oppressor. The Declaration of Independence makes clear that the Founding Fathers valued liberty and believed that the government exists to ensure the protection of the people’s freedoms. Though the U.S was one of the first countries to have this mindset and to structure their government around it, the path to equality has been fraught with challenges from the very government created to defend our freedom. These challenges were fought by a group of activists striving to make the United States great and free for all of its citizens. Though all of these activists fought for freedom, their definition of liberty and their opinion of who deserves that liberty differs from person to person.
Although the Declaration of Independence is a revolutionary document that laid the groundwork for the representative liberal democracy we enjoy today, it contains key flaws that allowed the Founding Fathers to prevent their ideas from influencing too much of their way of life. Slaveholding, repression of women, and even disenfranchisement of poor men was commonplace during the colonial era. These systems, which the Founders saw as integral to the economy and society of the fledgling U.S, could not quickly be replaced and were therefore necessary in order to achieve liberty for the “ruling” wealthy class. At the very beginning of the Declaration, the founders write about rights “endowed by their Creator”. These rights would be fought for by oppressed groups for hundreds of years. Even though the liberties promised to all men are enshrined in the very document which created the United States, different systems of oppression have sought to reduce those rights in order to benefit the rich and powerful. These four authors realized the flaws in this system of oppression, and though they fought it in different ways, they all had a common desire to make the United States a place of liberty and freedom for everyone.
The push to end slavery was one of the first major liberation movements in the United States. The abolitionist movement, which started long before the Declaration of Independence had even been written, became a far-reaching and influential group that used a variety of methods to free individuals, help escaped slaves, and push for the abolition of slavery. For instance, John Brown’s violent uprising, though largely ineffective, demonstrated that violence was becoming more common in the abolitionist movement. Violence had been a method of the Anti-Slavery movement since long before John Brown raided the Federal Armory in Virginia. Nat Turner’s rebellion, which started and was put down in August of 1831, was the first recorded slave rebellion in the United States. Though Turner’s rebellion was just as unsuccessful as Brown’s, it demonstrated the lengths abolitionists were willing to go in order to free slaves and to spread fear among slave owners.
Turner’s rebellion was an exception to the mostly peaceful abolitionist movement. However, the fruitless results of the movement especially right before the Civil War led more and more abolitionists to resort to more drastic measures in order to achieve their goals. John Brown’s document, which outlines his beliefs, ideas, and motives, includes multiple allusions to the Declaration of Independence, including his belief in the rights granted to all people by the creator. He uses theology and enlightenment ideas to prove that all men are equal under God and that they should be equal and free under the law. Unlike the Declaration, Brown comments on the hypocrisy of the judicial system. He says that, had he led a rebellion for the rich and powerful, he would not have faced the death penalty for his actions. Brown realized the systems that oppressed slaves also worked to oppress anyone who worked against the system itself.
Other abolitionists used peaceful methods to achieve their goals. For instance, William Garrison used journalism to change minds and affect change across the country. His document, The Liberator, contrasts iconic monuments that represent liberty and the existence of slavery. Garrison actually directly references the Declaration of Independence directly- saying that the rights which the Founding Fathers sought should apply to the African American population as well. He does something very unique that many abolitionists would never have done, even in a radical newspaper. At the end of the excerpt, Garrison becomes harsher and blames even those apathetic to the abolitionist cause for enabling slavery. Even Brown and Walker, fervent abolitionists who fought for abolition their entire lives, never blamed the people for sustaining slavery. While Walker criticizes the American people for being hypocritical and not realizing that African Americans deserve rights, he does not go as far as to blame the ordinary American for being apathetic to the cause.
All of these abolitionists had very similar goals; they all fought for the abolition of slavery and for equal rights for African Americans. Despite this common goal, all three men had different ways of writing about and working to end slavery. Although Brown used violence and Walker/Garrison used journalism, all three used the founding principles of the United States enshrined in the Declaration of Independence to support their views and to justify the abolition of slavery. The three men all invoked the very beginning of the preamble and focused specifically on the phrase “That all men are created equal”.
Sarah Grimke also used the Declaration of Independence and enlightenment ideas to support her calls for women’s rights. She says that the laws and societal standards that applied to women at the time created an environment that destroyed their individuality and stripped them of their liberties. She also made references to the enlightenment specifically; even comparing the state of women in America to slavery. Grimke’s comparison is accurate; women were not allowed to own property, vote, or hold public office. Women had few legal rights, especially after getting married. Grimke’s observations show that she saw liberty similarly to her abolitionist compatriots- she just wanted those liberties to apply to herself and women across the country as well.
All four activists had very similar ideas about liberty and freedom. They all believed in the right to live without discrimination, to vote, and to be free. However, their differences stem in their beliefs on who deserves these rights. In the suffragettes’ case, women deserved these rights. From the point of view of the abolitionists, African Americans deserved these rights. This conversation on who deserves what rights continues to this day and will be a national discussion for decades to come.
David Walker was born on September 28, 1785, to a free woman. His father, who had been enslaved, had died before Walker’s birth. Although Walker was never enslaved because of his mother’s free status, he lived in North Carolina (a slave state) and witnessed some of the atrocities committed against slaves in his early childhood. This had a profound effect on young David Walker, leading him to leave North Carolina as a young adult and move to Massachusetts. After leaving the South, Walker became deeply involved in activism, helping both poor Bostonians and escaped slaves who had made their way north. Walker eventually became involved in an influential abolitionist newspaper called the Freedom’s Journal. Print was an effective means of communicating his vehement anti-slavery views to a wider audience than ever before.
In the fall of 1829, Walker published one of the first abolitionist texts in the United States, Walker’s Appeal, in Four Articles. This document sought to show Americans the true evils of slavery and to encourage action in fighting an oppressive system. This was also one of the first abolitionist texts that pressed the ordinary white American to oppose slavery based on morals rather than based on economic factors.
David Walker was an activist ahead of his time. Anti-slavery sentiment, though prevalent in isolated groups such as Quakers and some Methodists, had not yet become common among the majority of Americans. Even Northerners, pleased with cotton imports that formed the backbone of their textile-based economies, felt that slavery was a necessary evil to keep their economy strong.
WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON-
William Lloyd Garrison was born on December 10, 1805, in Massachusetts to a pair of immigrants from British Canada. When Garrison was only a few years old, his father abandoned Garrison and his mother, a devout Christian. Garrison received a basic education from a Baptist deacon before starting an apprenticeship with a local newspaper, the Newburyport Herald. He proved to be a gifted writer, later buying his own newspaper with money borrowed from his employers at the Herald. This paper, called the Newburyport Free Press, folded after just a few years. The experience of owning his own paper would help Garrison as he worked on his most influential texts and speeches.
Garrison joined the abolitionist movement at 25, quickly joining, then denouncing, the American Colonization Society. This group advocated the mass migration of slaves from the United States to the coast of Africa. While Garrison supported the emancipation of slaves, he eventually came to realize that the goal of the Society was to reduce the number of freed slaves and to use the migration as a means of retaining slavery. He eventually realized this and renounced the society, quickly issuing a public apology and criticizing all involved in the organization.
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After leaving the American Colonization Society, Garrison started his own abolitionist paper, aptly named The Liberator. This paper made him a prominent abolitionist and gave him a large enough platform to effectively communicate his abolitionist message and making him a reputable name in the abolitionist movement. As he became a more and more prominent abolitionist, Garrison recognized the need for better organization in the abolitionist movement. He created two different organizations, the American Anti-Slavery Society and The New England Anti-Slavery Society. Despite his best efforts, his emphasis on writing rather than political action led to divisions within both societies.
Before and during the Civil War, Garrison took a surprising stance on the Confederacy and Union. He felt that the Union should dissolve and that the Free and Slave states should separate because of the extreme cultural differences between the two groups of states. After the war and the Emancipation Proclamation, Garrison began to fade from public life. He left his various abolitionist groups and discontinued The Liberator. William Garrison’s health began to fail, and he passed away on May 24, 1879.
William Lloyd Garrison lived in an interesting time for the abolitionist movement. He was one of the few activists of his time to see his hard work come to fruition. Though true equality for African-Americans would not be realized for another century, Garrison was integral in ending slavery and freeing millions of people from unjust imprisonment.
SARAH M GRIMKE-
Sarah M Grimke was born on November 26, 1792. Her parents were rich landowners in South Carolina, which had one of the highest populations of slaves in the US at the time. As Grimke grew up, she began to realize the subtle differences between the subpar education she was getting versus the education her brothers were getting. Her “education” mainly consisted of painting, music, and sewing while her brothers learned about typical subjects like math and Latin. Grimke managed to get a basic education from her older brother, who saw her intelligence and recognized her gifts. He taught her about the fundamentals of the Enlightenment and Theology, as well as some law. As the family was wealthy and traditional, they owned a large number of slaves to maintain their plantation. Grimke’s education eventually led her to begin to realize the differences between her family’s status and the way they treated their slaves. She even went so far as to teach them how to read until her father found out and put a stop to it.
In the early 1820s, Grimke visited Philadelphia, a predominantly Quaker city. Quakers were vehement abolitionists, as slavery was against their religion. They believed that slavery was evil and that they had a moral imperative to help enslaved peoples across the country. Grimke was instantly enamored with this new religion, especially as it allowed women to become ministers and leaders within the church hierarchy. Despite this, many prominent men still dismissed Grimke, going so far as to publicly denounce Sarah and her sister Angelina.
Despite this, both sisters continued writing; pumping out works that addressed a variety of topics from abolition to women’s suffrage. During the Civil War, Sarah came out in favor of the Union and its increasingly pro-abolitionist stance. After the war, she continued to fight for civil rights for both women and African Americans; she was vice president of a suffrage group in Massachusetts, wrote more on the subject, and led a protest in Boston in 1870 to fight for the right to vote. Grimke was active in her old age but eventually passed away on December 23, 1873.
Grimke was a very unique historical figure. She fought for women’s rights in a time before the idea had become as mainstream as the early 20th century, while actively working in the abolitionist movement as well. During her time in activism, she managed to write dozens of works read by people across the country- one of the first American women to accomplish such a feat. Sarah Grimke was a pioneer in the feminist movement.
John Brown was born on May 18, 1800, in Torrington, Connecticut. His parents worked in the tannery business and were fervent abolitionists. Brown’s family would eventually move to Ohio, opening a small tannery business there. While in Hudson, Brown’s father Owen would operate a safe house on the Underground Railroad. Owen also instilled very anti-slavery views in his sons, sending John to study under the famous abolitionist Elizur Wright. Owen also supported multiple educational and anti-slavery ventures, including the Western Reserve College and Preparatory School and the Oberlin Institute.
After he turned 16, John left Ohio and went to study in Massachusetts and Connecticut to become a minister. However, medical problems and money issues prevented him from finishing his studies. After leaving school, Brown returned to Ohio and worked at his father’s tannery for a while; he would later open his own with his adopted brother.
Brown married a woman named Dianthe Lusk in 1820. The couple moved to Pennsylvania in order to find a safe place to operate a stop Underground Railroad. He operated this stop from 1825 to 1835, saving thousands of escaped slaves. Brown would later move to Springfield, Massachusetts and Lake Placid, New York. He was politically active in both places and worked to further the abolitionist movement wherever he went. In 1855, Brown decided to move to Kansas in order to help bring it into the Union as a free state. He frequently used violence to fight pro-slavery groups and condemned the anti-slavery movement for being too weak and pacifistic. After moving to Virginia in 1859, he began preparing a large and violent uprising and eventually attacked a Federal Arsenal on October 16, 1859. Although he planned for slaves and other abolitionists to join his movement after seeing their initial success, his revolt was put down by the local militia and U.S Marines before it could gain any traction.
John Brown was an outlier in the abolitionist movement. Although his intentions were just, his methods left room for criticism from both the Pro and Anti-Slavery movements. He revolted right before the Civil War, making his actions particularly consequential. His revolt happened just months before South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union.
- Powell, William S. “David Walker.” David Walker, 1785-1830, docsouth.unc.edu/nc/walker/bio.html.
- “William Lloyd Garrison.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p1561.html.
- “William L. Garrison.” William L. Garrison – Ohio History Central, http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/William_L._Garrison.
- Alexander, Kerri Lee. “Sarah Moore Grimké.” National Women’s History Museum, https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/sarah-moore-grimke.
- “Sarah Grimke.” History of American Women, 2 Apr. 2017, http://www.womenhistoryblog.com/2013/03/sarah-grimke.html.
- “John Brown.” American Battlefield Trust, 25 Mar. 2019, https://www.battlefields.org/learn/biographies/john-brown.
- Bordewich, Fergus M. “John Brown’s Day of Reckoning.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 1 Oct. 2009, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/john-browns-day-of-reckoning-139165084/.
- PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p1550.html.
With new accommodations, such as the internet, smart pho
WORST CASE SCENARIO RESEARCH AND REFLECTION PAPER
Like many other Americans, the election of Donald Trump was one of the worst things I could imagine happening. Even now, I am puzzled as to why Donald Trump was elected because a majority of voters view him unfavorably (Pew, 2017). So just how did he get elected? The point of a democratic election is to represent the will of voters in choosing an executive. With so many dissatisfied with the results of the election, one must wonder if our current electoral system is fulfilling its stated purpose. Might there be something wrong with the way elections are held now? [G1][G2]
I did some research and have come to several conclusions: namely, that our current system of First Past the Post consistently leads to elections for candidates that are generally unfavored by the majority of the population (Pew, 2016). I believe that the United States should, as an incremental reform, generally adopt ranked choice voting: in order to reduce vote splitting, voter disenfranchisement, and to reduce the negativity of campaigning.
Right now, most elections in the United States utilize First Past the Post voting, which is a system of elections in which an individual voter has only one vote and is allowed to vote for only one candidate (Aceproject, 2017). This system has a big flaw. People may vote for a candidate that they may not necessarily prefer in order that they do not “split the vote” in favor of an opponent. In the 2000 Presidential election, Republican George W. Bush beat Democrat Al Gore by less than 600 votes in the decisive Florida election. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader received over 100,00 votes in Florida. [G3]While he may not have spoiled the election, surveys indicate that people who voted for Nader probably would have voted for Gore had they known how tight the race would be (Jones, 2004). This event has had serious consequences for the American people. For example, a Gore administration might not have invaded Iraq in 2003, which destabilized the region and cost US taxpayers over $2 Trillion dollars (Trotta, 2013). Modern voters are cognizant of the results of that election and have adjusted their votes accordingly. As a result, voters now do not necessarily vote for their first choice. There has to be a better way.
As I looked for an alternative voting method to First Past the Post, I discovered a system called Ranked Choice voting (RCV). RCV is a system of elections in which electors rank the candidates in the order of their choice, by marking a ‘1’ for their favorite, ‘2’ for their second choice, ‘3’ for their third choice and so on (FairVote “Instant Runoff”). Although there are other ways (perhaps even better!) of doing RCV, for the purposes of this paper, I will be specifically discussing the form known as Instant-Runoff voting as it appears to be the most feasible to implement in our current political situation. [G4][G5]
In this system, if no candidate has a clear majority of first votes, the trailing candidate may be dropped and the first votes for the dropped candidate are eliminated. Then, the second choices of the voters who voted first for the dropped candidate are distributed to the remaining candidates. This process is repeated until a candidate has a clear majority of the vote.[G6]
The main advantage of Ranked Choice Voting is that the eventual candidate chosen better represents the consensus of voters. As candidates are unlikely to earn the majority of votes in the first round of counting, candidates may moderate their rhetoric in an attempt to earn “second place votes” (Aceproject, 2017); The candidates may tamp down on their own campaign’s negative ads in order to not alienate potential voters, and they would want to appeal to the greatest possible base. Since voting for a third party candidate in this system is less “risky”, a wider variety of interests would likely be represented.
As an example, in the recent election, a person could safely cast their first vote for Jill Stein and their second for Sanders and so on without “spoiling” their vote and splitting the ticket for a more popular candidate that they might agree less with, such as Clinton. As voters would not be forced to vote for the lesser of two evils, one might expect to see a proliferation of more diverse third parties that better represent [G7]the constituent’s desires. I believe that if Ranked Choice Voting is adopted broadly across the United States, voters will feel more satisfied with the results of the election
At first, I though that RCV was just an academic exercise, thought up by some Poli-Sci grad student working on their thesis[G9], but I was surprised to learn that Ranked Choice Voting has already been put to effective use worldwide and has proven to be a reliable system for several decades now. For example, it is used in such diverse races as parliamentary elections in Australia (Paul, Owen, 2013), presidential elections in Ireland (Citizens Information, 2016), and in municipal elections in Minneapolis and Saint Paul (City of Minneapolis). [G11]
Recently, the State of Maine voted to adopt an Instant Runoff system for congressional, senatorial, and gubernatorial elections (Grabar, 2016). According to a study funded by Fairvote, an electoral reform advocacy group, citizens in cities that have adopted RCV report that campaigns are less negative, that the system is easily understandable, and that they believe that it should be adopted more widely (Tolbert, et al). As people realize that the current form of voting isn’t the only choice available, I believe that voters will increasingly demand RCV from election committees.[G12]
However, there are several legitimate issues with Ranked Choice Voting that need to be addressed; Jason McDaniels of San Francisco State University believes that increasing the complexity of voting “is much more cognitively demanding than merely choosing a preference… For some, this may seem like a small change, but for others, it could make the already daunting task of being an informed voter even more challenging. Decades of research show us that when voting is made more complex, it tends to lead to lower participation and more unequal outcomes.” (McDaniels, 2016). However, studies taking place in Californian cities that have adopted RCV paint a different picture. Nearly 90% of those polled reported that they had an easy time understanding how their ballots worked (Tolbert, et al). Perhaps, pre-election day, a city or state could wage a concentrated, multimedia campaign to educate voters on the new system. A multifaceted approach utilizing TV news spots, radio jingles, and mailed reminder cards could be particularly effective. Another possible issue with RCV is that confused voters may simply list their preference by order in which the candidates appear on the ballot, as has been the case in Australia. This problem could perhaps be solved by holding a random drawing each election to determine in which order the candidates are listed on the ballot (AEC, 2016).
In conclusion, I believe that seriously examining the institutions of our society and critically deconstructing their use and origin will help to build “a more perfect union”. It is important to recognize that structural systems have a large impact on our daily life and to realize that they are not unchangeable. Due to the effects of the recent election, I am very cognizant of how our electoral system alienates the very people that it was created to represent. Rather than giving into resignation, I have researched the issue and have come up with at least a very general course of action that could be taken to avoid another divisive election. I hope that I have interested you in the topic of electoral reform and encourage you to research the topic yourself and come to your own conclusions. An informed and active citizenship is the best guarantee for the continuation of the republican ideal.
FairVote (No publication date). “Ranked Choice Voting / Instant Runoff”. FairVote. http://www.fairvote.org/rcv#rcvbenefits. Accessed 19 February. 2017
Minneapolis Elections and Voter services (No publication date). “Frequently Asked Questions about Ranked-Choice Voting”. The city of Minneapolis.[G14] http://vote.minneapolismn.gov/rcv/what-is-rcv. Accessed 19 February. 2017 [G15]
Paul, Owen (2013). “How does Australia’s voting system work?”. The Guardian.
Accessed 19 February 2017
McDaniels, Jason. (2016). “What I’ve found researching ranked-choice voting: It makes voting harder, lowers participation”. Bangor Daily News. http://bangordailynews.com/2016/08/20/opinion/contributors/what-ive-found-researching-ranked-choice-voting-it-makes-voting-harder-lowers-participation/. Accessed 19 February. 2017
Aceproject. (No publication date) “Advantages and disadvantages of first past the post”. ACE Electoral Knowledge Network. http://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/es/esd/esd01/esd01a/esd01a01. Accessed 20 February. 2017
Pew Research Center. (2017). “Early public attitudes about Donald Trump”. People-Press.org. http://www.people-press.org/2017/02/16/1-early-public-attitudes-about-donald-trump/
Accessed 22 February 2017.
Pew Research Center. (2016). “Voter’s evaluation of the campaigns”. People-Press.org.
http://www.people-press.org/2016/11/21/voters-evaluations-of-the-campaign/ Accessed 22 February 2017.
Citizen’s information. (2016). “Proportional Representation”. The [G16]Republic of Ireland.
http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/government_in_ireland/elections_and_referenda/voting/proportional_representation.html. Accessed 22 February 2017.
Grabar, Henry. (2016). “Maine Just Voted for a Better Way to Vote”. Slate.com.
http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2016/11/maine_just_passed_ranked_choice_voting_bravo.html. Accessed 22 February 2017.
Tolbert, Caroline, et al. (No publication date). “Ranked Choice Voting in Practice”. Fairvote
https://fairvote.app.box.com/v/APSA-Civility-Brief-2015. Accessed 22 February 2017
Trotta, Daniel. (2013). “Iraq War cost US more than $2 trillion: study”. Reuters.com
Accessed 22 February 2017.
AEC. (2016). “Positions on the ballot paper, draw for the Senate and draw for the House of Representatives”. Australian Elections Commission[G17]. http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/ballot-draw.htm. Accessed 23 February 2017.
Jones, Jeffrey. (2004). “The Nader Factor”. Gallup.com. http://www.gallup.com/poll/10798/nader-factor.aspx. Accessed 22 February 2017
This is a strong point in favor. Think of all the recent turmoil after the election. If everyone was content with the outcome of the election (even if they didn’t get their first pick), that would be a great motivation to change the voting system. You could probably expound more on this point, or why you believe it to be true.
This is another strong point. The best predictor for success is past success. Nice!
Your two most important paragraphs are the first, and the last. In the first, you tell your audience what you’re going to say, and in the last, you tell your audience what you’ve said. The last sentence will likely stay with your reader. After you recap your essay in the last paragraph, leave them with a final “deep” thought or conclusive statement that sums up your argument and/or point. Or maybe something theatrically doomsday-ish. Perhaps, “The election of Trump is a direct consequence of our current voting system; If we don’t take a good, hard look at the way we currently push people into power, the consequences could get even worst.” A bit much perhaps, but it’s your final punch to convince the reader that this is something they need to act on.
[G14]Inserted: The c
nes and other gadgets, education has found its way across various outlets. Since the late twentieth century, public schools have adopted new ways in which a student may learn through the interaction of innovative technology. However, even with these new developments, deficiencies in America’s education still exist. Unequal access to education, poor education management, and recently failed legislation have all contributed to the weak educational system in the United States.
When we learn about the Civil Rights issues America faced early in its infant years as a nation, we learn that black slaves were treated unequally because the simple difference in the color of their skin. White overseers and masters would have their way and do as they pleased over them with no remorse because they were considered property, not humans. After generations of mistreatment, disrespect and brutality, freedom finally came to all former slaves. Soon after, the United States granted their freedom with addition of the 14th amendment in 1868 which gave them the right of due process and equal protection of the law. Now that African American’s were free and protected by the law, they began to make use of their rights by sending their kids to school with the white kids. This caused an uproar in the classrooms. Children are mirror images of the one’s that raised them, and since most of the white kid’s parents were not okay with the new freedoms of African Americans, hatred and disorder were day to day issues at almost every public school in America. The problem, at the time, was not only from the children in these schools; teachers, staff and faculty members were a major obstacle for African American children to receive the same level of education as the neighboring, white children.Though African American children were on the spotlight of this educational gridlock, they were not the only race to encounter road blocks in their children’s education; any minority race or ethnicity were also thrown into the mix as races that did not belong. It took up until near the end of the century, for the issue to be tried at the Supreme Court in the case of Plessy v Ferguson. The court ruled that all establishments must be “separate but equal” to all private businesses. As a result of the ruling, minority races were forced to attend establishments that were specifically for them. For example, black children were not permitted to attend the “white’s only” schools, drink from “white’s only” water fountains, eat at the “white’s only” cafe’s nor use the “white’s only” facilities and commodities. Instead they had their own places where minority groups may do the things the supreme white men, women, and children did. These separate accommodations and facilities were always found in poor condition and lacked basic maintenance. You could easily distinguish which facilities were for the white’s and which were not.
The end of segregation, especially in schools, was when the Supreme Court overruled its precedent in 1886 with decision in the case of Brown v Board of Education. The integration of all races in schools and private businesses was in full effect. Though retaliation was expected, President Eisenhower was prepared with an executive order for all public schools to open their doors to all races. This ultimately marked the end of hostile tension between minority groups but did not cease the tension within the classroom. It took time for society to over overcome its ego but the day of unity in schools across America from minority and majority groups came towards the end of the century.
Education is about fostering the intellectual and curious ones. Mandatory schooling ends at age 17 in Texas. When we graduate from High School, it’s up to us to decide whether we pursue greater knowledge or develop skills. However, unless our preceding educational background is positive, our interest in learning will weaken. TheOECD report notes that facilitating lifelong learning is “paramount”. Yet, instead of embracing the facts, schools across America are hampered by an excessive bureaucracy that seems to diffuse learning. Take the SAT. With its distinct multiple-choice question and its defining influence in college admissions, the SAT is both intellectually omnipotent in its shaping impact. Teachers are forced to “teach the SAT” rather than sparking interest in knowledge and ultimately diminishes the learning environment. In doing so, it fails to encourage exceptional students and it fails to support struggling students. It defers developmental curiosity to college. In the end, the costs are clear. Those students who don’t go to college, are left behind. Those who do go to college, have to learn how to learn.
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Within the last decade, legislation such as the No Child Left Behind Act (President Bush, 2001), was a mandate for accountability on educational standards and emphasis on test results. In theory, it will improve the quality of public education for all students. Supporters believe that the act’s initiatives will further democratize U.S. education, by setting standards and providing resources to schools, regardless of wealth, ethnicity, disabilities or language spoken. Those that oppose it allege that the act hasn’t been effective in improving education in public education, especially high schools, as evidenced by mixed results in standardized tests. They also claim that standardized testing is deeply flawed and biased for many reasons, and that stricter teacher qualifications have exacerbated the nationwide teacher shortage, not provided a stronger teaching force. Some critics believe that the federal government has no constitutional authority in the educational arena, and that federal involvement erodes state and local control over education of their children.
In addition to these problems, the No Child Left Behind Act hindered those students who are one level above their peers. The act made schools focus on those who are at risk of fallen behind and leave the students who stride in the shadows. Also, since their is no general definition for the “gifted” nor a standard way of implementing “gifted education, then leads those students walking into a dark room and expecting them to come out with everything they need for the rest of their lives. The No Child Left Behind Act shifted the attention of the higher level students and turned it to facilitating at risk students who only need the bare minimum to pass. At a college level, students combat themselves with a new learning environment and are forced to dropout because they can’t afford to go to college just to sit in a class and be bewildered and fail the class.
In conclusion, America has been seen as one of the worldwide leaders in industry. However, it is mostly because people from other countries come to do their business here. It is time for America to confront its mediocre education mentality and begin focussing on legislation that benefits the student body of the generations to come. Teachers need to stop worrying so much about teaching how to take a test and focus more on how to answer the problems given instead. They should focus on teaching and ensuring that lessons they’ve taught will stick to them for more than the time until a test but for a lifetime instead. The U.S should ensure the future of its education by urging more legislation that will benefit the youth and anyone seeking higher education. In the long run, America will benefit from having “home-grown” entrepreneurs, engineers, doctors, lawyers, law officials and teachers. Inspiring education today will guarantee America’s stability tomorrow.