I thought that every child in the United States was guaranteed a free, quality education. I believed it lay at the core of who we are as a nation. The United States offers the promise that anyone can be whatever they want to be if they are willing to work hard and apply themselves. However, a rosy future, no matter how hard you work, won’t happen if you aren’t educated. Without education our children will fall behind; the nation will fall behind.
So you can imagine how shocked I was to hear on NPR about the dismal condition of Georgia’s education system. Two thirds of the schools in Georgia are in session less than 180 days a year because “they can’t afford to keep the doors open and pay their teachers.” How is it that we can permit one state to fall behind financially? The children who live in those districts where schools aren’t open the full school year are being cheated out of an education. Parents shouldn’t have to move out of state to get an equal education for their sons and daughters. Education is a civil right. People were up in arms when black children were given an unequal education. What about the children of Georgia? Regardless of the color of their skin, their civil rights are being violated.
Sadly, the broadcast on NPR was not about the abysmal condition of schools in Georgia or the inequity of educational offerings, it was about PARCC. “This week, Georgia announced it is withdrawing from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness in College and Career (PARCC), one of two consortia developing standardized tests for the Common Core. The Core is the set of national K-12 education standards in math and English language arts that has been adopted by 46 states. Georgia officials say the cost of the tests is too high and many schools don’t have the computer technology the tests would require.”
Perhaps instead of PARCC the new education program should be “No State Left Behind” because it seems like Georgia and all those who are getting their education in that state are being left behind. Standards are necessary and so are tests but before the government spends money to implement yet another program, how about they take a good hard look at the state of our states.