America’s education system has a complexed history and analyzing the history of it, will lead us to learn from the past and create a better tomorrow for America’s youth. Several historical events stick out to be me as turning points for America’s educational system. In this paper, I will analyze four historical events and the impact of these events on my school, my classroom, and my personal philosophy of education. No Child Left Behind was a political act that was passed to ensure every student had the right to an education and ensure schools were teaching their students to proficient standards. Plessy vs. Ferguson was a legal case. In Plessy vs. Ferguson, the Supreme Court ruled that schools and public places could be segregated by race as long as the facilities were equal. Brown vs. the Board of Education overrode the ruling in Plessy vs. Ferguson. Schools could not be segregated based on race and ability. Lastly, Title IX broke barriers for females to participate in after school activities, sports, and courses unlike ever before.
Keywords: educational system, No Child Left Behind, Plessy vs. Ferguson, Brown vs. the Board of Education, Title IX
America’s history in education is complex, evolving, and fascinating. There are many educational theorists trying to come up with the best strategies to teach youth, countless legal suits filed regarding education, and amendments to the constitution. I have chosen four key events and analyzed their impact on my school, my classroom, and my educational philosophy. One thing that I have seen that these four events all have in common, is the overarching idea of fairness.
America is a changing society. As a country, our workforce looks very different than it did one hundred years ago. Jobs now require skills, an education, and an ability to learn. There are far fewer unskilled labor jobs in America and because of this the need to educate all students has increased substantially. The first historical political event that I researched was the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). NCLB’s was passed in an attempt to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity for an education that helped make them into proficient students in math, reading, and science. NCLB had a huge impact on schools across the nation. Schools now have requirements that students need to reach proficiently levels otherwise they will not receive all of their federal funding for education. Schools began to really feel the pressure to ramp up their focus on core subjects. One impact NCLB has on every classroom in America, is the focus on every student. Teachers now have to make sure that all students are learning and understanding the materials in each of the core subjects. “In 2000, the job market is still 20 percent professional, but now it’s 65 percent skilled, leaving only 15 percent unskilled. In a nation with a steady stream of immigrants who are willing to accept very low wages, there is intense competition for a small number of unskilled jobs that don’t even pay well (Sclafani 2002).” The workforce was very different than it was one hundred years ago. The percentage of jobs that people can get without an education past high school is very minimal and that is a huge part of the push for educating all students. NCLB go hand in hand with my personal philopshy of education. I believe that there are too many students that fall through the cracks in America. We must strive to educate all, just like NCLB intended to.
Title IX stated, “ No person in the United States shall, on the bases of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance (Ramirez 2010).” Although many are under the assumption that Title IX only applies to females in sports, it goes far beyond that. Females now were required by law to have equal opportunity in all aspects of education including; course options, sports, higher education opportunities, better job opportunities post-graduation, and after school activities. Title IX changed the way that America looked at females. Schools now put an emphasis on equal opportunity for all no matter student’s gender or race. Schools must ensure that they are providing equal opportunity for both females and males. In my current classroom where I teach Physical Education, I see a resurgence of confidence in young females. Professional women athletes are empowering the younger generations to strive for greatness and never settle for less than they desire. As educators, we must ensure that we are echoing this message. My educational philosophy of equity for all goes hand in hand with Title IX. I am a strong believer in the impact Title IX has had on our school and our country as a whole.
The two legal cases that I researched were Plessy vs Ferguson and Brown vs the Board of Education. These cases had a very similar premise, but very different outcomes. In 1896, Homer Plessy was arrested and fined for sitting on a section of the bus that was for white people only. Homer filed a lawsuit as he felt that his 13th and 14th Amendment rights were violated. The Supreme Court ruled that it was constitutional for schools, public facilities, and restaurants could be segregated by race. The term “separate but equal” was coined to describe Plessy v Ferguson as the Supreme Court said that racially segregated facilities had to be equal. As Thurgood Marshall, a Supreme Court justice said, “Separate but equal is legal fiction.” These facilities were not equal, and students of color had nowhere near the educational opportunities of white students I’m am very happy to say that the impact of this court case does not have too big of a lasting impact on schools today due to it being overturned with the Brown vs the Board of Education ruling. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that schools could no longer be segregated based on race. This opened up educational opportunities for so many people. Students now had more options on schools to attend, had access to more resources in schools,