In the news recently, you hear a lot of the downsides of American education. By all accounts, No Child Left Behind has had some pretty negative effects on the American educational system, and the situation looks bleak to a lot of observers. Teachers complain about having to spend all their time teaching the tests and not being able to actually instruct the students in a balanced, well-rounded curriculum.
Nonetheless, there are good sides to American education. The American collegiate system is one of the best in the world. Although we have some faults with the public school educational system, we seem to make up for it in part with our college education. American education includes some of the best high-tech research labs in the world. We also do some really good social sciences, and even our literature and humanities program is not too bad. All in all, we provided our students with a pretty good, well-rounded background by the time they are done with college.
Even so, I had some concerns about American education when my daughter entered the public school system. It seemed like on the surface we were in a pretty good school district, but when she started coming home from school I grew concerned. She was not learning enough about history, and although many of the other areas of her school education were good, I found this lack particularly disturbing. To me, history is one of the most important things you can learn. After all, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.
Fortunately, there are recourses for concerned parents. One of the best things about American education is how much community involvement it allows. There is no standard national curriculum despite the efforts of No Child Left Behind, so as a result parents can really get involved in the decisions their school districts make. When I voiced my concerns about the history program, It took a while for them to hear me, but eventually they got the message. Soon I had other parents involved, and this helped me put pressure on the school district to change the program for the better. It took a while, but in the long run I do feel like my voice was heard. Nowadays, we have one of the best history departments in the entire state, and it is largely as a result of the involvement of parents like myself.