How Political Process Has Changed American Schools

Politics is the means through which disagreeing people can get good outcome without having to beat each other over the head with sticks. Many political systems are concerned with vital public goods. Pronouncement of an agreeable political course is often a complicated task especially when the number of people involved is large. Most political solution involves bargaining and compromises that head off substantially from each person’s ideal solution. Politics are related very much to policy making process. Policy is simply a rule or sometimes an understood &informal but more often formal, written and official that regulate how polity must conduct itself.the state which is the government and its administrative apparatus allocates values to groups of people by enacting policies. these values are the benefits, responsibilities , opportunities, costs and burdens the states confers on groups within its jurisdiction by virtues of the policies it enacts. Policies are enacted by the politicians who are involved in politics. It’s is therefore this reason that there are intimate connection between the two in organizations.schools being one of the organizations, its comprises different groups of people like the student fraternity, parents , teachers , board of governors and the surrounding community which is affiliated to the other communities within the country (Dorn, 1996).

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The impact of politics is then felt in terms of policy making and enforcement by the politicians. The school policies allocate values to the above mentioned groups.for instance, a state legislation in the constitution that makes a policy to reduce the ratio of the pupils to teachers affects the whole groups. Such a policy has both presumed positive values and negatives. The putative positive values attached to such a policy will include the possibility of the student to benefit from smaller classes and hence receive more attention from the teacher and greater opportunities for a richer and more particulate curriculum. It is hoped that these conditions will translate into higher academic achievement, which translates into credentials and opportunities attainment and better economic growth.it also assumed that the business sector will benefit because the better-educated students make the better employees. This will mean that business men will not have to invest so much on training.another benefit that is attached to such policy is that teachers in the smaller classes will benefit from a lighter workload and more opportunities to work with student on a more personal basis.

Contrary to the above positive, such policy allocates negative values such costs and other burdens.the cost of reducing class is passed to taxpayer if the policymaker does not provide the means of such costs. Also other programs may be affected if the same click happens (Herbst, 1996).

Deindustrialization, white flight, and inner city poverty have spelled trouble for most schools. The reason why the schools’ reform has been difficult to achieve has been revealed that the struggles of civic leaders and the limitations placed on African-American community as the major issue. Each has tried to rescue the failing schools system. Examining the interplay between government and society, it shows presently the first systematic analysis of social capital both within the African-American community (black social capital) and outside it where social capital crosses racial lines. This shows that while black social capital may have created cohesion against white domination in such areas like Baltimore, it hampered African-American leaders’ capacity to enlist the cooperation from white corporate elites and suburban residents needed for schools’ reformation (Dorn, 1996).

Examination of the social capital at the neighborhood level, in elite-level interactions, and in intergovernmental relations leads to argue that black social capital doesn’t necessarily translate into the kind of inter -group coalition needed to bring about schools reform. It also includes an extensive historical survey of the black community, which shows how disbelieve created by past black experiences has hampered the formation of considerable inter-group social capital needed for school transformations.

In case studies, analysis indicates that politics surrounds a few schools and this affects decision making, privation of schools, site –base management and other reform alternatives. Politics has given challenges which are not fundamentally political problems but yielding to pure social problems.

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Most schools in the United States teach the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the writings of the Founding Fathers as the definition of the country’s governing ideology. Among the core doctrines of this ideology are: The government is answerable to citizens, who may change it through election, the government’s power in matters of religion and expression should be limited to prevent abuse of power. The laws attaches no special privilege to any citizen, that is, citizens are equal before the law, Individuals and political parties’ debate on how this ideology applies to particular circumstances, and often they disagree openly with any of it. Politics of urban education has contributed significantly to the growth of literature.

Education in the United States is provided mainly by government, with control and funding coming from three levels: federal, state, and local. School attendance is mandatory and nearly universal at the elementary and high school levels. At these levels, school curricula, funding, teaching, and other policies are set through locally elected school boards with jurisdiction over school districts. School districts are usually separate from other local jurisdictions, with independent officials and budgets. Educational standards and standardized testing decisions are usually made by state governments.

The age for beginning school is mandated by state law and therefore varies slightly from state to state, but in general children are required to commence school with a one-year Kindergarten class during the year in which they turn 4 or 5. They are required to continue attending school until the age of 16 to 18, depending on the state, with a growing number of states now requiring school attendance until the age of 18 (Herbst, 1996).

Students may attend public schools, private schools, or home schools. In most public and private schools, education is divided into three levels: elementary school, junior high school /also often called middle school, and senior high school. In almost all schools at these levels, children are separated by age groups into grades, ranging from Kindergarten and followed by first grade for the youngest children in elementary school, up to twelfth grade, which is the final year of high school. The exact age range of students in these grade levels varies slightly from area to area. This indicates that policy making and politics are well structured although there are flexibilities.

Parents have political liberty to choose to educate their own children at home; 1.7% of children are educated in this manner. Proponents of home education invoke parental responsibility and the classical liberal arguments for personal freedom from government intrusion. Few proponents advocate that home schooling should be the dominant educational policy. Most home schooling advocates are wary of the established educational institutions for various reasons. Some are religious conservatives who see non religious education as contrary to their moral or religious systems. Others feel that they can more effectively tailor a curriculum to suit an individual student’s academic strengths and weaknesses, especially those with singular needs or disabilities. Still others feel that the negative social pressures of schools such as bullying, drugs, crime, and other school-related problems are detrimental to a child’s proper development. Parents often form groups to help each other in the home schooling process, and may even assign classes to different parents, similar to public and private schools. Thus politics do not impact negative so much as compared to other countries.

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References

James D. A. (1988), the Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935 (University of North Carolina Press.

Axtell, J. (1974).The school upon a hill: Education and society in colonial New England. Yale University Press.

Maurice R. B; (1974). American School Reform: Progressive, Equity, and Excellence Movements, 1883-1993. Online version

Brint, S., & Karabel, J. (1989). The Diverted Dream: Community colleges and the promise of educational opportunity in America.

Button, H. W. and Provenzo, E. F., Jr. 1983 “ History of Education and Culture

Cremin, L. A. (1961).The transformation of the school: Progressivism in American education, 1876–1957.

Cremin, L. A (1961). American Education: The Colonial Experience, (American Education: The National Experience, (1980); American Education: The Metropolitan Experience, 1876-1980 (1990); standard 3 vol detailed scholarly History

Curti, M. E. (1959). The social ideas of American educators, with new chapter on the last twenty-five years.

Dorn, S. 1996. Creating the Dropout: An Institutional and Social History Of School Failure

Herbst, J. (1996). The once and future school: Three hundred and fifty years of American secondary education.

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