Bureaucracy in Schools
Current essay seeks to find ways to improve educational standards with regards to bureaucracy in schools. It will explore various tenets and phenomena that exist in the sphere of education and the ways of how their improvement could translate to the cumulative improvement of learning standards.
There is a societal force, exerting pressure on the educational system. There is a rallying call to improve or tailor the educational sector due to a rampant phenomenal change in modern dynamic world. School administrators and supervisors find themselves yoked with the pressure to mould the educational system, achieve goals and meet the demands of a rapidly changing society. All efforts are aimed at helping society to exist and propel it to its zenith. In valiant efforts to ease this pressure, many educational leaders stumble to the reality that a bureaucratic structure cannot accommodate the aforementioned rapid change.
These visionary leaders believe that bureaucratically structured education systems lack the prerequisite impetus demanded by a dynamic society. They are devoid of the ability to expand and venture into the unknown or change to meet the up-coming needs. A bureaucratic educational system is stagnant, comfortable, and therefore, cannot rise to new heights. An education system that could be the proverbial rolling stone is necessary for improving the educational standards.
One of the prongs in the revolution of the learning system is the comparison of learning communities and learning organization. Learning organizations are professional learning communities in the scope of education. The difference in the two concepts lies in the insinuation prescribed by the terms ‘organization’ and ‘community’. Organization insinuates structure and efficiency, whereas community consists of individuals united by similar interests in terms of learning.
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The term learning community is thrust into the vocabulary of education. Many educational leaders and administrators view it as involving the community in the classroom activities by employing inanimate and animate community assets. For others, it proposes conveying a community educational workforce in the school in an effort to enhance the curriculum and students’ educational responsibilities. Moreover, it translates to having students, teachers, and administrators mutually betrothed in the process of learning.
On the other hand, learning organizations deliver a platform for individuals to synchronize their efforts in order to increase the knowledge base and skill levels of all the relevant knowledge stakeholders. They are especially useful during zeitgeists of proliferate change and in dynamic environments. Learning organizations tap into the competence of all relevant members and provide individuals with a suitable environment for the maximization of their potential under minimal supervision. Individual learning and development form the foundation of a learning organization. Learning organizations are reproductive. It explicitly recognizes the ability of people to subsidize the knowledge base of all learning affiliates of a community.
The prominence in academic organizations depends on collective knowledge. Less focus falls on individual knowledge, which is a component that plays a vital role in the sustenance of a learning organization. However, knowledge can only be fashioned by people. Therefore, the task of the learning organization is to provide an environment for learners to instigate knowledge and learning. The learning organization and learning community are concepts that only have a semantic difference. They both exalt the idea that interchange of information and the knowledge base of all learners in a community or organization grows.
Irrespective of the choice of words used to describe learning organizations or learning communities, all perspectives bare a degree of converting individual knowledge into communal knowledge. This concept creates a scenario where knowledge is collectively determined, pooled, construed and utilized throughout the community or organization. In case it is easier to instigate change in the environment, the answer lies on the individual level. As outlined above, there has to be an environment suitable for fostering discussions and exchanging knowledge. Learning cannot exist in a vacuum. A new standard must be set where the learners are actively engaged in the process. The traditional passiveness of a learner vesting all the responsibilities with the teacher or the educational leader needs to be annihilated. The individual in the community or organization provides the most efficient avenue for the acquisition of educational or societal change.
Education is an empowering process meant to develop a learner’s ability to create, solve problems and think critically. However, traditional education has an often-ignored impact on modern learning environments and standards. This impact is crystallized in the notion of commodification of learning. The commodification of learning paints a grim picture, depicting the attachment of the economic value to the education system. Learners are discouraged. The incentive to learn finds itself eroded in the face of high performance to secure employment.
Unfortunately, getting high grades does not necessarily translate to learning. It most situations instigated by the aforementioned traditional mode of education, being better graded means that the student has an acute ability to memorize and a heightened acuity for regurgitating information from the textbook. Albert Einstein said that education is what remains after teaching wanes. Sadly, there is not much education taking place in many of the learning institutions. Technology is simply a modification or an alleviation of previously performed practices. It eases past processes making them more efficient and ironing out all drawbacks. Technology seeps into every part of life including education. Obsolete are the chalkboards and memos are the new parchments. Globalization makes technology even more necessary, and a learner finds himself or herself thrust into the information whirlpool that is the Internet. Fundamentally, however, in terms of learning, nothing has changed. If anything, the monetary incentive incessantly increases. The quest for a learner’s empowerment remains shrouded by the dollar.
Acquisition of knowledge is a footnote in a brutal rat race. The traditional view of education exalts and rewards the commodification of learning. The education standards and environment is tailored to support optimized memorization, which then leads to being rewarded in the form of high grades and employment. A scenario arises where the populace appears conditioned to remain in the box and not pursue other learning ventures such as reading books for the sake of reading or reading books unrelated to the course undertaken. Consequently, the corporate world suffers from robotized employees, some of whom have half-baked knowledge. The academies bereft of scholars who can create and propagate knowledge to the future generations.
Learning standards are essentially a reform strategy employed by the educational leaders in an effort to improve the quality of knowledge acquired, the academic achievements of students and the teaching process. Moreover, learning standards are designed to promote consistency of quality in terms of knowledge on a national level. Learning standards culminate in the standardization of public education. This used to be a remedy for the educational discrepancy. A discrepancy arose based on the individual standards set by individual teachers and schools. Consequently, there exists educational consistency in the society. In addition, mandating of the use of learning standards especially in the public schools fosters teacher accountability because they have a federal threshold to abide to.
Subsequently, student learning benefits increase the probability of a student acquiring certain skills beneficial to himself, their community and the nation. In regard to the accountability, the state can to a great extent assess whether schools impart the requisite knowledge. The state can achieve this by appraising standardized tests. Further, appropriate steps are tailored to target ‘weak’ students and schools and thus improve the learning process. In addition, knowledge is a vast process that does not or should not cease. In relation to learning standards, a school or the state can prioritize the information that it would want its citizenry to learn and the skills it accrues as a result. For instance, the economic landscape of the United States or its political history could be prioritized in terms of entertainment and fashion.
The federal and state governments are stakeholders of the education sector. The quality of knowledge and the degree of acuity in the skill set of its citizenry are paramount to guarantee sustenance and longevity of its economic, social and political landscapes. Therefore, involvement in the formulation of learning standards is expected. However, such involvement should not transcend the individual process of decision-making. It means that an individual should have a negotiating power in choosing what they want to learn. Prioritizing knowledge acquisition is instrumental and necessary for nationalistic reasons, but it should impede the individual’s ability to pursue their heart’s desire. Intelligence is a varied measure that is an art and resonates in the context of adaptability and problem solving. Further, the human rights of any individual are paramount and enshrined in the constitution. The constitution holds jurisdiction over every facet of America.
However, to avoid any possible legal battles, there is a necessity for a medium ground. As articulated, the government would have rights to get involved in the formulation of learning standards. However, the standards must optimally benefit the individual and transform the learner into a holistic person. The standards should empower the individual from a physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual perspective. The government can also formulate policies and programs that would propel the education system away from the blatant commodification that plagues it. Finally, the community including family, churches and other social institutions should form part of the learning process because they are vital in terms of the socialization mechanisms.
Proficient learning encompasses an engaging, demanding and collaborative process of learning. Improvement of the learning process is instrumental for improving the educational system and learning process in the district. Therefore, teachers should incorporate the use of images, videos and personal stories to increase the engagement level of the student and motivate them to learn more. In addition, the teacher should break the mould of monotony by stepping away from the textbook and teaching more about the real world. For instance, teachers can conduct regular expeditions. Effective learning rests on the premise of knowledge construction, rather than the reception of knowledge, which is an underlying characteristic of superficial knowledge. Efforts towards the application of knowledge obtained in the classroom are a paramount and effective solution.
In the event of content-related disparities that may exist in various disciplines, the use of a standard is instrumental to prevent educational discrepancies. This is especially useful for such disciplines as history that may contain ideologically or politically contentious issues. The district must agree on the degree of contention it wishes to expose its students to. An educational workshop to discuss such matters will be of much use. Performance standards traditionally designed to assess ‘excellence’ levels should feature all aspects of intelligence and not just memory. For instance, this includes problem solving abilities, reasoning and speed.
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