Economics Week 10 Public Education

Prompt: “Does he who pays the piper call the tune in education?”

We would hope that parents are sovereign when it comes to the education of their children. We would hope that parents have the power to choose what their children are learning, how they are learning it, and how their child’s growth is measured. We would hope that parents and teachers are on the same page, and that the teachers are teaching according to parents specifications.

Despite these hopes most schools aren’t able to change the way a child is being taught, regardless of the parents requests. Most public school students are taught in similar ways, through a method named Common Core. Common Core is based on nationwide tests, standardization of what is being taught, and graded scores which aim to measure how well a student is absorbing whats being taught. There are independent school districts which have varied teaching methods, but Common Core is the standard. This method was first experimented with in New York, implementing it nearly overnight. Students who had previously been doing fine now began falling behind, and pressure to excel within this system began rising.

I always wondered who was in charge of the way students got taught, and in my younger years I believed it varied from school to school. But the Common Core system has more influence than the people working at individual schools, and the staff of those schools have little power to change what they teach. This is because the Common Core was thought up by and implemented by university level bureaucrats, these were the people that convinced political leaders to enforce this teaching method nationwide. Their reason for doing this differs depending on who you ask, but in most fields nationwide implementation comes down to revenue. In education it also comes down to sculpting the next generation. Whoever wants to shape the next generation, regardless of how they want to shape them, need to pay a pretty penny to convince local politicians. Whoever pays the piper calls the tune.

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