When I was in the first grade, I had a Talented And Gifted, or TAG, test done. I was noticeably above the level of my classmates, and the test certified this. My parents knew that it would be best for me to be moved into a class where I could work at my full potential. This would be done by moving me from first grade to second grade. When my parents talked to the school principal about making this decision, she said, “The school is paid extra to teach students that need special help, not students that exceed the system.” Needless to say, I was forced to go to a private school in order to be moved to the grade that would most benefit me. That being said, I was taken from my school and placed into an unfamiliar environment with a religious based curriculum, where I had no friends. However, I was moved up a grade, and was able to return to my original public school system for middle school, where I was behind in certain subjects because of problems with the private school. The entire situation and problem was completly uncalled for, and would have been avoided if my elementary school had made the accommodations and moved me up a grade. I believe, because of this experience, that schools in America shouldn’t be paid to accommodate certain students based on their abilities, that schools should strive to do anything and everything to benefit the students, and no matter what the status of the school is- private, public, charter, religious, or any other kind of school- that all schools should be required to follow and teach the same curriculum to students.
Schools shouldn’t be given money to help any kind of student, no matter what their cognitive level is. When schools are provided a reward by the state government to hold students back and not challenge them, that’s exactly what they’re going to do: not challenge them. This sets the bar for the student, and the student gets convinced that average is enough. Yes, average is enough, but not when you can go further. I believe that every student is capable of succeeding during their school years, but success requires motivation. If schools aren’t motivating students at a young age to go above what is considered average, then many students will remain unchallenged, and sometimes even forced to go below what they are capable of, simply so schools can get government money.
Schools should work to make sure that they are doing everything they can for the students. By holding students back, they not only limit the students, but they limit themselves. When the schools are given a guideline saying ‘you’re paid this certain amount for doing this, but nothing above this,’ that makes the schools limit their performance to fit the guidelines, in pursuit of a reward. This convinces the schools that that’s their limit: they can only preform to the minimum of what they’re asked to do. This is entirely false: if schools had equal motivation to help all students, then schools would help all students. However, this unfair system of helping those who need extra help, and only those who need extra help, is limiting schools, students, and everyone else involved.
All schools should be required to teach the same materials during the same grade. With the current system, private and charter schools are not required to teach the same curriculum as public schools. This means that, for example, while a public high school may teach earth science to freshman and space science to juniors, a private or charter school can teach earth science to juniors and space science to freshman. This results in immense confusion when students try to transfer schools. I have several friends that were sitting in freshman classes as juniors and seniors because a private school taught the curriculum in a different order than the public school. If all schools taught similar, if not identical, criteria during the same grade level, no transfer conflicts would occur.
The fact that schools are government-funded to teach certain students is disgusting to me. If all schools taught all students the same thing, and made accomodations when necessary (and not for money,) then the American education system would be drastically improved. One would think that after over 100 years of education in America, the school system would know how to benefit the students in ever way possible. After all, education is for the students.