Bringing ‘We the People’ to Education

We the people.

It is we the people who make up our great nation. It is we the people who elect our local officials, our state officials, and our president. It is we the people who impact the laws and our society.

But, if we the people are not informed about the history of people or even the history of our own nation, an ill-informed vote could be a vote for a worse society. One of the greatest threats to the freedoms of our nation is an ill-informed society.

In order to have an informed society, we must teach our society how to gather information for themselves. The problem of the lack of application reaches back to the government-run education system. The government preaches standards – who doesn’t love every child reaching the same level? But while it sounds dandy, it isn’t the most feasible idea.

As an education student, I have had the privilege to witness some of the most amazing teachers in existence. Their students are their life. They focus everything they do on how it will benefit the students.

They also sometimes have classes where a third of the students have special needs, a third are average, and a third are gifted. In order to teach one standard, some teachers have to teach three different lessons so that everyone understands.

While standards are definitely a good thing, the government mandating standards via the passing of standardized tests means that teachers are forced to teach to the test. This also teaches society that if a student fails a test, it is the teacher’s fault.

But it is not necessarily a teacher’s fault. It is, however, the government’s fault to take an aim at education via the perspective that every student should meet a certain baseline of standards despite starting at a different baseline of achievement.

Spoiler Alert: not every student is made the same. Not every student can be or needs to be a physicist or a mathematician. Every student can accomplish so much in their life, but the things they accomplish will be different. If we focus on each student being successful–as in using their own talents to succeed–then how do we expect a government to successfully attempt to directly impact the role of a teacher in a student’s life?

The government is distant from each individual student. Besides the president reading a book to a group of third graders every now and again, the government can’t understand the struggles and stresses that they are putting on teachers, because they are not the teachers. I barely can grasp an ounce of the intense work and pressure that the teachers are under, as I am merely an education student.

If we get the government out, we can let teachers do the jobs that they are there to do. Every teacher that I have met cares so greatly for each student and wants each student to exceed their potential. Each grade is a building block for students to tap into their strengths and grow in their weaknesses. These teachers strive to do that, but with so much cookie-cutter legislation, it seems to be daunting. We need to listen to the teachers who hold the keys to a solid education, not a government who pretends to know what is going on.

If currently we have a federal government monitoring every movement of teachers and students, imagine what it would be like if education was left up to the state and local officials and teachers. If we want the generations ahead to be informed about the culture they live in – to be informed voters and integral parts of society, we must teach beyond the test.

We must allow teachers to teach with the amazing abilities and creativity that they have already established with their students in their classroom. And we must do so without the force of the government’s pressure to teach to the test.

Teachers have the ability to teach beyond the test. Why not let them?

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