There are bloggers that who have posted fascinating pieces that are far more enlightening and reflect more expertise than I with regard to the public attention that we are being overwhelmed with when it comes to government and politics.
I thought that I would take a little time to write about the working parts of government that are not being included in any public discussion.
Today I will share my thoughts on education and the branch of the government tasked with oversight and actions related to such an important topic.
I have always been one who has thought that we have a dropout crisis in this country. As a matter of fact, according to National Center for Education Statistics, the dropout rate for K-12 youth is approximately 8%. This encouraging percentage doesn’t include those who are being homeschooled or those who acquire a General Education Diploma (GED). The steady decline started in the late 60s with an accelerated decline during the Bush and Obama administrations.
Not surprisingly, minorities, including Blacks and Hispanics do make up a disproportionate part of the drop out rate within these statistics. Interestingly, the dropout rate of those within these minority groups is also significantly on the decline.
It should be unacceptable that a high percentage of the American drop out population live at the poverty level and have to depend on Social programs such as welfare to exist. As a country, we need to work on this. Even if you drop out of high school and move into the workforce, it is reported that you will make approximately $11,000 a year less than graduates.
Betsy Devos, Education Secretary, has been under fire because of her lack of knowledge related to how the Public School systems in this country work. It stands to reason that she is not all that effective in representing the needs of our public schools. The amount of time she spends promoting for profit charter and private schools demonstrates her lack of expertise.
Importantly, The Department of Education is still very understaffed and has been since she was sworn in. As a citizen and as a cabinet secretary, she needs to appoint knowledgeable and effective professional staff into her department in order for her and the American public to have experts playing roles to better American education.
As a positive and long before it was a popular topic, philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates have been preaching and putting their money where their mouths are in order to provide material and intellectual resources that enhance our educational ideology. Their involvement will help our country succeed and will help place technology on the top of the list of educational priorities.
Work groups including the construction and the automotive trade vocations are still very important, yet training in the ever-evolving technology fields must continue to grow or we will fall behind globally.
We are also susceptible to not keeping up with this country’s employment demand related to the technology fields. It would not be good for the future of jobs if American technology companies have to import a qualified work force. No matter who represents education in our government, we need to make sure that our students are keeping up.
To me, continuing education is a whole different animal. Private, public and online colleges tend to do a pretty good job of adapting. The unfortunate part is the fact that a large percentage of our youth cannot avail themselves to the benefits of college.
I believe that our Secretary needs to stop spending so much time focusing on private, charter and religious education. These groups will do just fine on their own. We need focus more on the needs of our public schools. As well as public schools as a whole, I think we need to be more aggressive in addressing the needs of our large urban public schools. On the same coin, we need to address the issues that are important to our rural school systems.
I beleive we need to standardize country wide, the core curriculums in our schools.
Personally, I think that prioritizing and promoting the growth of charter and private schools could result in an environment very similar to the days of segregation directly effecting some of our poor and minority populations.
To me, It doesn’t make sense to offer the proposed vouchers and tax credits in order to provide a choice for youth to have an alternative to free public education. Tell me how the lower income American is going to translate a tax credit in to money for a non-public supported education. Current federal funding for the public school system is very important. I think we could improve on how we provide the resources. Even though there is an ongoing debate about local community school improvement being funded by grants of which are typically paid for by homeowners, I don’t see this changing anytime soon.
Since the graduation rate in this country is becoming so high, it makes sense that something is working. Why not focus on the programs that are in place now.
At the very least, government should be doing a lot more than they are currently doing.
I can’t find any current legislation that is significantly improving education in America. There has been some movement on issues such as the repeal of the law that effects how sexual assaults are reported at universities. Even though the topic is a hot potato, I guess they have to start somewhere. As a positive, I think that the ongoing discussions on how best to incorporate both private and public resources to help with school loan debt is good. I just don’t see any meaningful movement.
Next, my thoughts on the EPA, Interior, health and human services and more.