"I believe that education is the civil rights issue of our generation." – U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, October 9, 2009

“I’ve Got No Strings To Hold Me Down”: Shifting Education In America

Schools in America have been controlled, to some extent, by the strings of a puppet master. President Obama proposes we cut some of these strings loose on teaching in the article, Obama in State of the Union: “America is Back”. He made an astute statement in his speech, one that I had been longing to hear from our nation’s leader: “teachers matter.”

Teachers are the key to education in America; they were in the past, they are now, and they will be in the future. This is why I agree with President Obama’s proposal that we turn around the teaching profession into one that is appealing, highly valued, and well rewarded. Why is this important? If we want the best teachers teaching our children, then we need to give teachers the best. If we believe teachers matter, the way that we treat them must reflect that attitude.

President Obama made another proposition. He suggested that we cut some strings loose on schools in America and allow teachers to teach more creatively and passionately. I couldn’t agree more. I think teachers should be encouraged to step away from the curriculum, using it more as a guideline. By doing so, we can shift the focus of teaching off of standardized tests.

With the heavy emphasis on meeting standards on standardized tests and limited time in the school day, teachers are forced to teach concepts and lessons geared towards achievement on these tests rather than ones that would be most enjoyable, memorable, and most beneficial to children’s education. This, I believe, limits children’s education, where they are only gaining a small amount of what is truly available to them.

If every teacher made their own twist on the curriculum, think of the diversity of minds that we could create through education. No two students from different classes, different schools, or different states would emerge the same

This could have substantial benefits for America; the greater the diversity of minds, the more we allow our society will advance. Is this not one outcome we want from improving education in America? What effect do you think greater freedom in teaching will have on education in America?


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