Tag Archive | "education"

Thought Talk: What is the focus of American education and does it need alteration?

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2011 and other adjustments marked an era of standardized tests becoming more of a focus in American education. There is also the SAT, ACT, OGT, and AP tests which require teachers to structure their curriculum because they will profit from students excelling at these tests. Has this created a system that is kept to low-denominational standards for learning, where students cannot learn ahead of the pack? What is the subject matters our schools focus on, and should that be changed?

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Resolved, that the Ohio state government provide increase funding for music programs.

As the recession hits hard on the educational system of America, administrators have no choice but to make cuts. Nationwide, they have considered dropping the school bus program, increase class size, or cutting elective programs, which are usually music-related. As soon as the news stations broke this information, a wave of resisting this particular cut swelled. Bloggers, journalists, and parents have shown the strongest dissent, saying that it is best for the children to learn music at a young age. This bill would allow for music programs to continue, at the expense of other cuts. Is music worth the costs? What is in the government’s best long-term and short-term interests?

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Resolved, that public schools be required to have a general religious education course.

Even though 92% of Americans profess a belief in God, studies have shown that the general population lack a basic knowledge of major religions. Some say that without this education “…a shallow view of world events and a weakened capacity to critique the claims of those preaching religious intolerance and hate” will emerge. Some schools already offered religious education as an elective course. Is high school the right time to learn this? Should all schools make it a require force, or do the costs outweigh the benefit?

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Resolved, that affirmative action be based on socioeconomic factors instead of racial factors.

Affirmative action is a college admissions policy that favors minorities. For colleges, it is a method
to keep race portions somewhat balanced and also keeps the college from looking biased, unfair,
or even racist. However, affirmative action was never meant to last forever, only until race-
based economic inequality was no longer a problem. Today, some speculate that many students
are getting rejected from colleges, not because they do not meet the requirements, but because
another applicant is a minority. Some feel that racially-based policies are now obsolete. Instead,
they suggest that students have preference based on their economic status. Proponents say that
some potential students might not even apply for college of financial concerns, but affirmative
action based on socioeconomic factors would allow people to attend any college they wish. Isn’t the
American Dream the concept that through hard work, anyone can reach success?

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Resolved, that high school students be allowed to vote in school board elections.

The school board is an integral part of the school district which determines educational policy,
from school lunches to the length of summer vacation for the district. The results of a school board
election directly affect arguably the most important aspect of young peoples’ lives: their education.
This, combined with students’ daily interaction with all educational policies, from safety regulations
to buying books to extracurricular activities, presents a strong case for allowing students 16 and
older to vote in school board elections. However, most students aren’t familiar with local politicians
and their policies, and even if they could be convinced to vote, many would make ignorant
decisions. School board elections mimic the other elections students would participate in two years
later, and so participation in school board elections could foster enthusiasm for the democratic
process. It would also, unfortunately, give a great deal of power to teachers who could influence
their students to vote for a certain candidate. School board elections undoubtedly affect students,
so should students be given greater power and responsibility over their own education?

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Resolved, that federal emphasis on education should not be on test scores.

America is the world’s sole superpower, yet American children score consistently lower in science
and math compared to other developed countries, according to a recent study released by Public
Agenda. As a response to America’s lagging education, the No Child Left Behind Act has put an
emphasis on test scores and requires all students in the U.S. to be at a proficient level in reading,
math, and science by the year 2014. Many disagree with putting an emphasis on test scores, arguing
that standardized testing is biased since the material tested is taught at different times of the year,
depending on the teacher. Furthermore, many have argued against an emphasis on standardized
testing because of its correlation to increased emotional stress and pressure. Even if a student has
an outstanding grade in the class, they may do terrible on the test due to nervousness. However,
many agree that the No Child Left Behind Act has improved test scores and the general state of
public education. Some experts have agreed with the state mandated standardized testing, citing
the fact that many students have improved due to the emphasis on test scores. Before 2001 when
the NCLB Act was proposed, only 32% of 4th graders could read at grade level reported on Wright’s
Law. Still, most proponents believe that the federal government has no constitutional authority in
the educational arena. Is testing the right way to better our education?

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Resolved, that history is too subjective to be taught in school.

Historical events, especially those of a controversial nature, always have multiple sides to the same story. Occasionally, these viewpoints conflict with others, or appear utterly ridiculous to those of a different opinion. Some experts believe that much of human history – in particular the Holocaust, Black Power movements, and many religiously-tied events (including the life of Jesus Christ and the separation of the Protestant churches from the Roman Catholic church) – are far too subjective and/or sensitive to be taught to public school students.
• The history of religiously tied historical events, and others like it (the Crusades, the Catholic Reformation) may create an in-class conflict between teacher and student, or student and student. The removal of this material from curriculums would prevent such distractions from happening.
• Genocide, or similar subject matters (the Holocaust, Rwanda, Stalin’s Great Purge, etc.) may be emotionally painful for some students to discuss- a situation that public schools should avoid.
• Students have the right to choose what they do and do not believe, and if a student chooses to believe that certain historical events did or did not occur the way the curriculum describes them (if at all), it could hinder their own learning process and that of his or her classmates.
• “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana
• The foundational history of the United States of America is crucial to understanding the way our country and government functions now. One cannot truly be educated without knowing where today’s world came from.
• Experts argue that it is only in observing our past behavior that we can learn to achieve our fullest human potential in the future.

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Resolved, that the public school system be privatized.

Background: Public education has been a great part of American society, contributing to the belief that all have a chance to participate in the American Dream. The ability for every citizen to go to school and get an education has made American one of the greatest states in the world. However, in recent years, many have found the American public education system to be failing. Some have proposed that in order to alleviate these problems, the public school system should be privatized.


  • Private schools offer a wider variety of educational opportunities.
  • Privatizing schools creates competition between the schools, and competition drives the schools to teach better, create  more innovative and effective teaching methods, and create more educational environments.


  • Private Schools can choose whom they let in, this might lead to racist, sexist, or any other forms of discrimination.
  • Private schools are not on a regulated curriculum so there is no way to tell how effectively a subject was taught and or covered.
  • Private schools will cost money, ensuring unfair socio-economic discrimination.

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