The public education system is facing a crisis unlike any other in recent history. Political battles over curriculum, racial equity policies, and even the contents of the school library have become the centerpiece of education reform. Many Republicans see education as a way to increase parental control. The school choice movement has capitalized on this pandemic by advocating alternatives to traditional public schools. While many parents may be happy to see an alternative to their child’s education, there are many other reasons to be skeptical of a school choice option.
For one, students who should be held back are being passed on to the next grade. They are not completing grade-level work and are lagging behind their classmates. In fact, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), fewer than 40 percent of graduating seniors have mastered reading and math. This leaves them badly equipped to succeed in college and other fields. Not only do they suffer from an inferior education, but their chances of dropping out of college are even greater.
Unfortunately, the public education system is not addressing these problems head on. While the United States’ population is aging, our education system continues to struggle to keep up with these changes. We must not fall behind other developed nations. In the 21st century, our society is increasingly interconnected and is changing quickly. Unless our education system is in the midst of a radical overhaul, we won’t be competitive.