Sahar C. Virginia

Education in the U.S.

To improve the United States, we need a strong education system.

Dear Future President of the United States:

I am a student in the eighth grade at Harper Park Middle School.  As the oldest child in my family, I will most likely be the first among my siblings to attend college and then enter the workforce.  I am concerned not only with the future of my education, but the education of America's youth as a whole.

As you are aware, the issue of Common Core is becoming increasingly important as the nation realizes how greatly it will impact the lives of our students. After all, the type of schooling one receives is a factor in many things, including one's occupation, lifestyle, and how involved one is as a citizen. As the United States seeks to compete with rapidly growing countries like China and India, the U.S. education system is a starting point in building up a skilled workforce. More Americans in higher positions in the workforce will also have an effect on other issues, such as the economy and the decisions we make as a country.

Although the majority of Americans do not support national standards- 64 percent are against it- there are many valid arguments both for and against Common Core standards. It is true that getting rid of national standards and turning the power over to the states would allow for more freedom and flexibility to teach to the student and not to the test in a way that federal intervention cannot provide. However, there are also benefits in keeping national standards, since they ensure that every child is receiving an effective education and no one is falling through the cracks.

In my opinion, we should retain the best of both worlds by keeping a Common Core-type base of structure, so we don't leave people behind and stretching our talented students .  Common Standards is a good concept that we have worked hard to establish and should not be thrown completely away. Even so, more power should be shifted away from the federal government and directed to the states. There should still be national benchmarks given to test a student's progress and see how that individual is performing relative to his peers. That is one benefit of a national benchmark; it makes comparison easier, so we can then take that information and give it to the states to improve and customize their systems. However, national benchmarks should not be the primary assessment of a student's abilities. Not everyone has a gift that can be measured by a one-size-fits-all test. After all, the very reason we teach is so students can find their niches, their unique talents, and become knowledgeable citizens who contribute to our world. Because of this, we need more power transferred to the states so that students are not tied down or kept away from what interests them. States can add more programs to their local schools, so that students have more options to choose from and specialize in from earlier on in their life. Basically, I support some form of Common Core standards, but not the current implementation.

President, I know that the issue of education may not seem as threatening or urgent as things such as foreign policy, or terrorism and ISIS. As a Muslim American, I know how large of an effect security is having on the United States. But in my opinion, before we can deal with the world outside, we need to eliminate the ignorance that is so widespread in our own country. When ignorance is left unchecked, it evolves into something much worse. For our future, we need citizens and people in our government who will consider all of the facts before forming an opinion or taking a stance on an issue. We need people who have mastered their talents for the common good and know what they are doing. After all, Common Core influences the education of the very people who will be making those decisions about foreign policy and terrorism. Knowledge is our greatest power, and it is the first step to a better future. This is your call to action from a concerned citizen and a future voter who wants to make a change. If you can truly take this letter to heart, please consider it and give it importance, and make the ideas in it a reality. Do this, and I know that together we will be on our way to the enlightenment of America as a whole.


Sahar C.