Alexander W. Indiana

A New Chapter in Education

The thoughts of a current highschool junior about the status of education in this country.

Dear Mr./Mrs. President,

The United State’s education system is failing to provide the quality that its citizens deserve. Countries across the world are making leaps and bounds in terms of public education, while the United States has been struggling for decades to find a stable education platform to stand on. The most recent chapter in this gripping narrative is titled Common Core Standards, and so far it conclusion is somewhat troubling. Between the disaster of No Child Left Behind and it's slightly improved successor of Common Core Standards, there have been two steps backward for every one step forward. In order to restore the education system into it’s former glory, major reforms that revitalize, modernize, and revolutionize our public education must be enacted with zealous determination.

At first glance, it might appear that Common Core Standards can be an effective system for education. However, there are some major issues that cannot be overlooked any longer. One overarching set of goals might sound like a perfect solution, but because, “we are not a homogenous nation and we never will be” there is never going to be a one size fits all answer (Brown). One of this country's greatest strengths is its overwhelming diversity, yet Common Core Standards biggest issue is that it, “lacks cultural sensitivity on far too many fronts” (Brown). During a test of new standards in 2014, “only 15 percent of African American students in New York passed”(Murphy). What excels for one region might prove to be a disaster in another, and in many cases there have been disasters.

Although many of the goals set by Common Core Standards are optimistic, schools are punished unnecessarily severely for failing to meet those goals. One of the main reasons its predecessor, No Child Left Behind, failed is because, “each state’s tests and standards were different” (Murphy). However, each state was still compared to each other as if they were all on equal footing. Common Core Standards tried to fix the problem with common standards, but funding underperforming schools less will in no way help them to improve. Schools will not be able to create, “mathematically literate students” if they cannot afford the tools necessary to do so (Chandler and others). Abandoning schools at the first sight of an inadequate performance does nothing but sabotage the education of the students who the standards were trying to protect.

In addition, the federal government was never granted the power to influence education by the constitution, yet federal funding of schools is directly tied to states performing in the correct fashion. This entire practice feels like a loophole workaround to concentrate more power in the hands of Washington. Perhaps states could formulate their own improved system if, “American legal discourse” no longer spent so much time on, “the idea of a right to education” when,”education is never mentioned in the constitution” (Kempson). There are a multitude of other issues for the federal government to wrestle with that are legally theirs to control, so the states should not be blackmailed into giving up their power over education.

Just like No Child Left Behind failed and witnessed, “Common Core Standards emerge from the ashes”, another overhaul is needed before the United States can hope to achieve a sufficient level of academic literacy (Murphy). This country needs a new system that does not make bad schools worse. This country needs a new system that respects the guidelines set forth by the constitution. This country needs a new system that does not expect all students to learn the same way. A 2014 poll found that,” less than 40 percent of New York voters support Common Core”(Murphy). The people have made it clear that Common Core standards are not working. When Common Core Standards were born in 2008 out of, “an ambitious plan for overhauling education” there was hope for the future of education (Murphy). If Common Core Standards are allowed to die, a new plan will arise from its ashes to bring this country to the level of education that it has always deserved.

The Bush Administration enacted No Child Left Behind. Common Core standards will be a part of President Obama’s legacy, although even he has criticised certain aspects of Common Core standards. The torch has now been passed on. A new system that returns the freedom of choice to teachers is needed. In far too many classrooms there is no room for deviation from the guidelines because of the rush to cover every last scrap of material. There is more to life than preparing for a massive end-of-year test, so schools should alter curriculums to reflect that. Teaching students practical skills like doing taxes and buying a house are mentioned in passing, while knowing how to graph a parabola is universally required. Schools should prepare their students for success in the work world instead of success in the school world. Education reforms are needed if America is to remain a world power in this highly competitive day and age.


Alexander W.

Works Cited

Brown, Diallo Telli. “Here’s the Biggest Flaw with Common Core.” Education Digest, vol. 82 Issue 3, Nov 2016, pp. 55-57. INSPIRE,

Chandler, Kayla, Nicholas Fortune, Jennifer N. Lovett, and Kimmy Scherrer. “What should Common Core Assessments Measure?” Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 97 Issue 5, Feb 2016, pp. 60-63. INSPIRE,

Illingsworth, Amy. “Taking a comprehensive approach to Common Core rollout.” Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 97 Issue 6, Mar 2016, pp. 57-59. INSPIRE,

Kempson, Judson N. “STAR-CROSSED LOVERS: THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND THE COMMON CORE.” Administrative Law Review, vol. 67 Issue 3, 2015, pp. 595-628. INSPIRE,

Murphy, Tim. “TRAGEDY OF THE COMMON CORE.” Mother Jones, vol. 39 Issue 5, Sep 2014, pp. 36-68. INSPIRE,

Franklin Community High School

English 11 Honors

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