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Politics driving education

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Charles Hogan.jpg

School reform is in the news — again. One would think each time this happens that this is the first group to realize that education has to change to keep up with the times. Since the 1940s when the goal for public education was to produce an educated work force, every administration has made education a “priority.” With each administration change, “priority” took on a new meaning. Reform has routinely been spurred on by surveys that show the ranking of the international countries against the American educational system.
Local reform gets a jumpstart from state rankings. The truth of these surveys is that America has never been ranked at the top in world education, and Louisiana has always ranked at the bottom of state rankings. As Americans, we do not like to be anything less than first and certainly not near the bottom. This fact makes education good for politics. The problem is politics does not make for good education. If the political reforms pointed at the teaching profession and at school were going to bring us to the No. 1 ranking, our educational system should have been there years ago.
Despite the lofty talk of “doing it for the children,” political reforms are driven by agendas. Often the driving force has been social engineering. Parents should be aware of the target their children are for different political and social causes. Whether it was the Americanism vs. communism of the ’60s, the feminist and environmental movements of the ’70s or the obesity and bullying issues of today, both liberal and conservative groups push to have their causes in the schools.

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