All posts by Alicia Sigee

All up in the Business: Federal Role in State Public Schools

By Dr. Alicia Sigee

Dr. Alicia Sigee

At first thought and for several reasons, I was not on board with the Federal Government taking their hands off of public schools: First, funding of course and secondly monitoring the equality of education for all students.  After reading some comments from my first post on JD Pendry’s American Journal, I decided I needed to investigate other standpoints instead of disregarding them as the enemy or too far to the left or right.  So, equipped with a laptop, google, and a desire to find the answer to; What function does the federal government have in state public schools? I embarked on a new journey.

So, let’s examine the facts:  

The federal government has the responsibility to ensure the right to a free and high quality education for all K-12 students by protecting their rights and providing resources for the most in need, using public data and high quality research, and providing support and infrastructure for schools, districts, and states to help them continuously improve their work (U. S. Department of Education).  

The different roles the Department Education plays in public education (Carnegie Foundation):

  • 1785-1958 Congress donated federal lands to create public schools when US territories petitioned to become a state.
  • Post Civil War – Southern states refused to educate former slaves, Congress provided federal schools to do so.
  • Early 20th century – Congress funded vocational training for an increasing immigrant population.
  • 1950s-1960s – After the Soviet Union launched a satellite into space, Congress funded major efforts to teach math and science to develop advanced technology.
  • The 1960s and 1970s – Congress created programs to target the underserved students with disabilities, low income, and African-Americans when they found that these populations were receiving inadequate education.
  • Currently – US Department of education mandates statewide accountability and reporting, provides funding for underserviced students, and dictates how schools should be managed. (Brown Center on Education Policy)
    • States required to adopt challenging academic standards
    • Test standards annually
    • Report the test results by subgroups
    • Set state targets for improving achievement
    • Hold schools and teachers accountable for test results

As a result, schools are so bogged down with assessments and accountability there’s no education occurring in the classrooms.  States have a shortage of teachers due to the pressures of students performing on a single assessment.  The federal government has not adjusted its policies to address that over 50% of students in America are on free and reduced lunch (Phi Delta Kappan), more than 1.3 million drop out from high school each year (Doing What Matters), and the achievement gap has not narrowed as Congress planned it would. 

With the facts stated, I have to agree with my fellow Americans that the Federal Government should remove itself from the classroom while continuing to provide the necessary funding to support our neediest students and give the power to educate back to the states. 

Note: Yes, to federal funding – States will go bankrupt to provide the specialized education. 

Note 2: The whole shift in federal government mandating the state school system started with states accepting Title 1 funding coupled with its strict requirements.

© 2019 Alicia Sigee, All Rights Reserved.  Email: aliciadsigee@gmail.com

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The Future of America Thrown away Like Trash: The Fall of Public Education

By Dr. Alicia Sigee

If we are going to discuss the US Education System, we must know the history to understand with the current trajectory why we are missing the mark.  The first American public school was founded in Boston, MA in 1635 and made education compulsory in 1642.  While the schools were publicly supplied the families were charged tuition for the majority of white males to attend school.

During the Reconstruction era, the south created the first public school system supported by general taxes.

By 1870, all state’s elementary schools were state funded.  As time progressed the US established schools for the blacks, religions, and Native Americans all with thoughts of keeping whites separate.  The rural areas where still the most undereducated populations.  In 1880, high schools were established for college-bound students.

The American Public-School System was plagued with inequalities for people of color, the poor and special needs.  The system created public laws, policies and funding to provide education for all, with programs such as special education, early childhood education, child nutrition, English as a Second Language, summer schools, and target literacy programs to name a few. 

Now, let’s talk about the current situation with public education.

The current administration’s Sec. of Education DeVos (parents paid for her education), who heads an intuition that she nor anyone in her family has ever participated in, pushes the Republican agenda to dissolve public education labeling the massacre “School of Freedom.”  Although the agenda has been in play for several Republican terms with the title School of Choice or voucher system,” DeVos stays on the path to wreck one of the great intuitions created by America – Public Education. 

Last week the hot topic was defunding Special Olympics, which was a smoke screen while the administration passed other cuts to 29 other public education programs: 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Alaska Native Education, American History and Civics Education, Arts in Education, Comprehensive Centers, Innovative Approaches to Literacy, Ready to Learn Programs, Supporting Effective Education Development and Promise Neighborhoods (to name a few) totaling $6,688 million. In addition, the de-regulation of disproportionality safeguards, which data from the Department of Education supports that minorities are suspended five times more than others and minorities are placed in special education with an emotional disability three times more than whites.  Oh my, that’s the same information DeVos is citing but with a different twist.  Her lens is shaded with the Republican agenda. 

One more nugget, the agenda to create schools of choice has cost the government over $1 Billion in funds for failed unregulated charter schools, while they fight to cut funding for public schools.  Yet the current proposed budget asks for more funding for charter and private schools to provide freedom of schools which lack regulation.

As a nation we have made a 360-degree circle in our quest for being an educated people, the rich get educated and the rest get thrown out like trash. 

The question that is posed:  How are we going to prosper as a country when we do not value God and free public education?

© 2019 Alicia Sigee, All Rights Reserved

EMAIL Dr. Sigee: aliciadsigee@gmail.com

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