Educational Models – Part III

Many argue that the educational model in the United States no longer works for the majority of students.  Experts in the educational field often refer to it as a factory-like model, claiming that it’s designed to churn out students who are better prepared to work on an assembly line.  That model worked during the industrial revolution but we are far more sophisticated and innovative.  Our educational system/model should be focused on creativity, creating critical thinkers, problem solvers and encouraging innovation.

Some claim that the US educational model is not factory-like at all. They explain that students don’t actually make anything, they simply repeat back what has already been told to them. 

No matter what side of the debate people fall on, a good majority of those working in the educational sector agree that change is long overdue.

Who is responsible for ensuring that the US educational model is updated so today’s students become competitive in the job market and are qualified to successfully enter the workforce? The federal Department of Education (DOE) and the individual state Departments of Education (DOEs).

The role of the Federal Department of Education is to:

  • Establish educational policy in coordination with the President of the United States and Congress
  • Coordinate federal education programs so that federal funds are managed and spent efficiently
  • Ensure access to equal educational opportunities for all students
  • Serve all stakeholders to improve the overall quality of education being provided
  • Support research and evaluation efforts so that the right improvements can be made
  • Hold school districts accountable for meeting federal standards

The role of the State Departments of Education is to:

  • Be the intermediary between the Federal Department of Education and the school districts in that state
  • Enforce policy mandated at the federal level
  • Complete strategic planning for current and future school years
  • Create and approve the educational budget for that state and monitor district spending each year
  • Develop a curriculum framework and state standards
  • Provide professional development opportunities for administrators, teachers, and staff
  • Evaluate administrators, teachers, and staff
  • Hold school districts accountable for meeting state standards

In essence, the Federal DOE creates change on a nationwide level and holds the states accountable for ensuring those changes are being implemented. The State DOEs create change on a state level and hold the local school districts accountable for ensuring those changes are being implemented.

This means that to our educational model would require a concerted effort between the federal government, namely the President, Congress, and the DOE, and all of the state DOEs. This is a daunting task at best and some say a near impossibility.