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Op-Ed: Issues Of Power, Authority And Control In Democratic Education

By Thom W. Conroy     Aug 6, 2009 in World
There is a constant fight in public education over money, power and authority - does anyone remember to educate the children?
f an individual attends any local school board meeting, they are likely to leave afterward scratching their head wondering what they just witnessed, and odds are they will not be alone in their confusion. The subtle struggle for control of education pivots on diverse points of power, authority and control, and those who endeavor to shape the educational system and manipulate the democratic processes in place to attain personal goals. There are seemingly an endless number of clannish groups in every locale that endeavor to promote their own agenda to gain control of the educational process, ranging from parents to local politicians to school administrators, each with their unique concerns as applied to their circumstance. Rarely is the consideration of what is best for students at the forefront, the struggle is almost always over power, and authority - which translates into the control of funding.
The role of federal and state government take a more than equitable position in controlling the direction in which local endeavors of education change. Because they are the two most lucrative sources of revenue for any public educational institution, there are a plethora of rules and statutes that must be followed, regardless of the feelings of local administrators. Failure to meet the criteria for government funding can result in a less productive educational system, with less employees such as educators, lower standardized test scores, and the reduction of future funding. The education that students receive can quickly become inadequate to prepare them for life in general, and the percentage of students accepted to accredited universities declines in accordance.
The task of curriculum mapping is usually left to professional educators hired by the local school district, and with good reason in most instances. The topics taught and at which point they are presented in a student's education have an incredibly important impact upon standardized testing scores, which in turn dictates to a large extent the amount of funding a school system receives from government. While educators attempt to appease the wishes of local community members and parents, there is an underlying desire to retain the financial support that enables the local school system to continue programs and jobs that are felt to be imperative to remaining viable in basic education.
Local parents may view the entire process as "passing the buck", but until they recognize that each individual group in the process has it's own agenda, their understanding of the system is limited at best.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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