Research Paper on Education as a Political Issue

Published: 2021-07-16
1878 words
7 pages
16 min to read
University of California, Santa Barbara
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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Education is embedded in the political environment of the nation state. It is impossible to talk about education without mentioning the policies and reforms which ought to be critically examined. The social, political and economic factors that affect education contribute towards the formation of educational systems. Proponents postulate that education is political. The curriculum and the standards are all political. However, opponents posit that there is no relationship between the political environment and education. According to (Brookfield and Stephen, 240), you do not need the education to be a politician. The only thing that you require is to be vocal, tactical and critical. Some of the policies affecting education include national standards, technological advancements, school policies, reforms, child development as well as health. The widespread interests in politics arise out of the need to be popular, amass wealth, and have power as well as autonomy. Ideally, this has been the main reason why mismanagement of resources, failed economy as well as the increase in the social gap between the poor and the rich has continued expanding. However, I firmly believe that education is a political issue given the strong relationship between education and governance.

Educated persons find the value of moderation when airing political views without extremism (Easterly, 440). Holding a couple of university degrees is not a guarantee that one will avoid political extremism. Often, people tend to underestimate the importance of education in politics. The wide range of skills, expertise, knowledge, and wisdom necessary to run a political seat is influenced by the level of education one has. Politics and culture are interrelated and interdependent. However, the debate between politics versus education has been destructive rather than constructive, and it has led to a great misunderstanding between the two divides (Hess and Diana, 260). Political issues and debates shape and influence contemporary higher education policies. More importantly is the fact that relevant problems in the education field and which relate to broader public policies and which seek to discuss their implications of the experiences of students as they study.

Past studies show that politics and education correlated. Politicians presented their visions and views to the society based on their policies and agendas and through education, they achieved their mission. Through education, wealth redistribution was made possible and social structures were affected. However, the biggest problem was that children of the rich and wealthy were the only ones who were able to access formal education (Dreze, Jean, and Sen, 14). Delivering the vision of the society required more highly educated people, and through the school system, it was achievable. The inauguration of formal education revolutionalised the curriculum to become more inclusive by promoting girl child education (Apple and Michael, 68). One of the biggest challenges in the education system, especially after the Second World War, was the need to build industries, societies, and schools to match up with the technology. For the first time in history, the economy saw a significant increase in the number of well-educated population. The vast opportunities which were sprouting were effectively utilized by people who were educated back then. The 1944 Education Act and the tripartite system which instituted sought to deliver that! Today, there is even greater need for education. Mahatma Gandhi postulated that education was the all-round drawing out of the best in people. The fact that industries and organization need more highly knowledgeable and skilled individuals who can compete globally has opened doors for people with advanced education.

The modern Age has seen the media and the social, political and economic forums hugely debated on the training issue. Presently, much of the talk in the political world is all about education. Ideally, the main aim of holding this discussion is to establish the underlying, long-term causes of the most common trending discussions, especially on topics such educational funding, curriculum as well as practice. The results of most of these debates have been the widespread confusion and interminable especially because no political party has carefully considered the nature, role, and aim of education (Derek, 149). Mostly, the modern age has not paid much attention to this kind of partisan political squabbling. However, it goes without saying that education is indeed a political issue perhaps the most vital political of our time! Education is and has been the principal tool and means of acquitting the young generation with skills, expertise, and knowledge to assume the roles and duties in the society (Angelo, 730). Education is a political issue, and this is why; politics is the leeway to a broader and better understanding of human nature, society as well as the whole wide globe. As a result, education is premised out of the integration of contemporary political issues that sweep the economy in time. We cannot evade politics. It is always with us.

The greatest challenge in the education sector is the political interference especially in the curriculum and the careers of teachers (Stuart, 20). It has been said time now and then that one of the long term chronic disasters in education that has resulted to widespread dissatisfaction is the current school system. School has turned out to be every persons political matter and with the endless tinkering of the scheme which has been aimed to win the interest of a few individuals in the government (John and Dillard, 17). The state is in a position to influence the policies and reforms instituted in education, but it has failed to do so. Educational institutions have come out strongly to lobby for the inclusion of some vital issues in the curriculum but have nevertheless faced myriad problems when it comes to implementing the agreed upon agendas. Schools are not independent because if they were, they would be in a position to raise funds to finance their curriculum plus help other organization to run their operations. If they were independent, they would also not face challenges implementing the proposed policies. But since educational institutions are not independent, they have to depend on the government and involve them when seeking to reform. Most of the funding that educational institutes receive comes from the government. The majority of the laws and regulations governing the curriculum is implemented and passed into law by the government. Thus, the government plays a significant role in education.

No matter how well intentioned the government is in instituting the policies, politics has affected the education sector. Ideally, politics has always stood in the way when it comes to implementing reforms on education. On the other hand, those in charge of schools have become good managers instead of being good leaders. Instead of supporting teachers right from the grassroots, they have used their power and authority within the corporate hierarchy in enriching themselves. It seems that education is becoming the heartbeat of every policy maker especially because many policy makers have come up claiming of how education as a social investment though the poor are not able to reap the benefits of education as many low-income families sacrifice they're all to pursue education. Just because the poor are not able to access education out of lack of funds has led to the school being discriminatory! The fact that the poor are not able to access education due to hefty university fees charged is a factor that many people cannot grasp despite the existence of many another kind of barriers that poor kids face. As a result of the many discouragements and challenges they face while trying to pursue education, many of them lose interest, lack motivation and in the end give up (Nelson, Thomas, and Kinder, 997). Ideally, this has turned out to be dangerous when it comes to policy making. Social capital trickles down by class. However, it is hard to figure it out and trace it since it is not reflected in tax returns. New York times documents that apart from the low-income kids not being able to finance their education, they require doing jobs which can sustain them even when their guardians sacrifice to pay for the children the school fees. More often than not, the Congress has been involved in reauthorization of the nations top education law. Ideally, this is after the state governments have regularly weighed policies on testing, standards, and curriculum.

Literacy is an essential tool of self-defense in a society where social interactions include the written media. More likely than not, a person who is not educated is not in a position to defend himself in court for lack of justifying facts and is also not in a position to obtain a bank loan or enforce inheritance rights. Illiterate people are not able to take advantage of new technologies, compete favorably for a job post or even participate in a political forum or activity (Jandhyala and Tilak, n.p). In short, an illiterate person cannot successfully compete in the modern economy and society with few exceptions. The same is the case of numeracy and other skills acquired in the process of primary education. Primary school is ideally the catalyst of social change. Education empowers people to participate in social and political forums. The value of education as a tool of social affirmation appears to be well seized by the masses. As political as education is, teachers who are the implementers of the policies shy away from perceiving themselves as the state (Galston, 220). During the presidential race in 2016, Bernie Sanders who was one of the Democrat's presidential candidate actively advocated for the scrapping of the expensive costs charged in colleges and universities and was the idea that it was indispensable to make higher education affordable.

Education is the driving force behind social change as it gives people the sense of direction. Educated people are in a position to better understand the social consequences across all divides. In the political spectrum, the view is that education is indispensable for the government to continually be in a position to render universal high standards services to the public. Despite the political disparities which might exist, political parties have always utilized four key levers to different degrees in bringing the much-wanted changes (Coleman and Smoot, 45). The challenge, however, is that each lever may point to success while each can also has demerits to education.

Structural change. Education is versatile as it not only focuses on the content learned and taught in classrooms but also the application of the theories in real practice. In this case, education acts as a level for a change. There is a temptation by politicians not to change structural institutions for the better and for progress in a given time frame, and thus, many of them opt to amend the regulations of the existing structures.

Choice and the market. The great need to make critical decisions in the market with competition in mind requires personalities with the voice within the system in the market since the market mechanism is driven by forces of demand and supply.

Accountability mechanisms. There is a tendency by politicians to place their benefit before the interests of the society. The majority of the politicians value things which are not beneficial to the community and instead of being creative, inspirational and democratic, they loot public funds to suit the interest of a few individuals (De Vreese, Claes, 39). Education teaches us to manage resources effectively and efficiently, and by politicians failing to tak...

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